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Film Friday: On shooting my first roll of film back in 2009

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First Roll of Film 3
(Expired) Kodak Gold 100 shot with a Mamiya Sekor 50mm F1.4 lens on Yashica TL. Photo by Gannon Burgett.

This week, we’re changing things up a bit. As time goes on, we’re hoping to bring our Film Friday articles more in-house with original content captured and written by myself and other DPReview contributors. To kick things off, I figured it’d be appropriate to share with you the first ever roll of film I photographed.

As is to be expected, the images from the roll are nothing special. In fact, they’re downright terrible, technically speaking. This roll, which was a very expired 24-exposure canister of Kodak Gold 100, was shot with a Yashica TL through a Mamiya Sekor 50mm F1.4 lens.

Film Friday First Roll of Film 3
(Expired) Kodak Gold 100 shot with a Mamiya Sekor 50mm F1.4 lens on Yashica TL. Photo by Gannon Burgett.

At the time of capture, which would’ve been in year 11 (circa 2009), I had been photographing with an inherited Canon Rebel xT DSLR with a kit lens attached for roughly a year, sneaking off whenever I found the time between school and extra curriculars. It was all for fun and in no way professional at that time in my life, but I had the photo bug, and I couldn’t help but to want to shoot whatever and whenever I could. So, when my grandfather had brought out his old Yashica on a family visit, I knew I had to take it for a spin, to see what the world of analog was all about.

Despite knowing almost nothing about film photography at the time, I went to the nearest flea market I frequented and picked up a lonely roll of Kodak Gold 100 I remembered seeing on a prior visit. After purchasing it, for around $.50, I clumsily opened up the back of the Yashica, pulled the leader from the film canister, attached it to the winding mechanism, closed the back and crossed my fingers in hopes the film had actually caught. Locked and loaded, I took the camera on a little road trip I was taking with my then-girlfriend and gave it my best to make the most of my first roll of film.

Film Friday First Roll of Film 5
(Expired) Kodak Gold 100 shot with a Mamiya Sekor 50mm F1.4 lens on Yashica TL. Photo by Gannon Burgett.

As you can tell from the fact only eight of the 24 photographs turned out, I managed to advance the film too many times out of caution and also failed to properly expose about half of the frames (I’ll blame the broken internal light meter for this one). Once I hit the end of the roll, I rewound it and kept it inside the camera until I dropped it off at the local drug store to have them develop the film (when that was still a thing). After returning a day later to pick up my negatives, I went back home to scan the keepers on a cheap 35mm film scanner I had picked up from the local electronics store.

Film Friday First Roll of Film 4
(Expired) Kodak Gold 100 shot with a Mamiya Sekor 50mm F1.4 lens on Yashica TL. Photo by Gannon Burgett.

Are the photographs impressive? No, not at all, neither artistically nor technically speaking. But the tactile experience of film photography and the anticipation of waiting to see what the images looked like kickstarted in me a passion I didn’t ever think I’d have as someone who first started taking photos on a digital camera.

Since then, my film shooting days have been inconsistent to put it mildly, but I’ve been getting back into it recently and hope to share many rolls of film with you over the coming weeks, months and years. I have a dozen functioning film cameras and hundreds of rolls of film – both expired and new – so my goal is to set out on adventures every once and a while to shoot and share my experience with you as the images are captured and developed.

Film Friday First Roll of Film 2
(Expired) Kodak Gold 100 shot with a Mamiya Sekor 50mm F1.4 lens on Yashica TL. Photo by Gannon Burgett.

In the spirit of sharing firsts and kicking off what I hope will be a fun series here on Film Friday, what do you remember experiencing when you shot your first roll of film? Better yet, do you have any of the images to share? Post your answers (and images) in the comments below.



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