New Year’s Resolutions

A year ago, I really made only one New Year’s resolution—namely, to shoot a roll of film a month. I’d “rediscovered” film in 2009 after having transitioned to digital in mid-2007. While I ended up shooting 14 rolls of film that year, about six of them were test rolls caused by my acquisition of four cameras and lenses* which I needed to test due to their uncertain origin and nature.

*A Nikon FG, a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 E lens to be paired with the FG, two Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flashes, and a Kodak Duaflex II.

I enjoyed shooting film again and I really enjoyed the digital darkroom. But I became a father in September, I felt uncertain how much I would be able to continue shooting film the following year. Hence the resolution to shoot a roll per month.

The good news is that I shot 24 rolls this year. The bad news is that there were still some months which I didn’t shoot any rolls. And I acquired an additional 4 cameras* which meant that I shot another half-dozen or so test rolls.

*A Yashicamat 124G, two Kodak Retinas (a I and a IIa), and a Kodak Pony 135 C—I’d curse the Keeble $5 box if I weren’t enjoying it so much.

As a result, my rolls-per-camera average (only for those cameras I used) this year is really ~3.4 since I needed seven cameras to go through the two dozen rolls I used. While this is better than my 2.8 average from 2009, it still means that I’m spending too much time flitting between gear and not enough time getting to know it (I’ve also used eleven different kinds of film*).

*Kodak Tri-X 400, Kodak T-Max 400, Kodak T-Max 100, Kodak Ultramax 400, Kodak Max 800 (don’t ask), Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 160VC, Kodak Portra 400NC, Fuji Pro 160S, Fuji Pro 400H, and Ilford XP2 Pro—I’d curse the Keeble expired film shelf if I weren’t enjoying it so much.

So my resolution for 2011: simplify things down, shoot more of the same film/cameras more often, and maintain the two rolls per month pace. Combinations I know I should continue to shoot a lot of:

Tri-X 400 in the Nikomat FTn

Stan's Donuts
T-Max 400 in the Yashicamat 124G

Mission Santa Clara
T-Max 100 in the Brownie Hawkeye Flash

I still need to figure out how I’ll be using the Retina IIa. And I still need to see how the test roll from the Pony 135C turns out. But I should be down to five cameras this year. And I should have a better idea how to use all of them…

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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