My First Attempt at Shooting BW Film with My New (But Old) Canon AE-1

STEP ONE: pull up the rewind knob to open the back of the camera.

STEP TWO: load the film

STEP THREE: turn the rewind knob until film is locked into place.

STEP FOUR: close the back door of the camera.

STEP FIVE: set the aperture.

STEP SIX: press the shutter button half-way down, read the light meter and set the shutter speed.

STEP SEVEN: Manually focus the lens until it’s at its desired point.

STEP EIGHT: Press the shutter.


Dew Drops and a Fallen Fall Leaf. Polly Nance. 2012.

For my 30th birthday, my husband gave me a black Canon AE-1 camera with a 1.8 50mm lens!! Greatest birthday present ever! I have been dying to try my hand at film photography. I told him I wanted some kind of SLR from the 1970s/80s and this is what he came up with. Along with the beautiful camera, were a variety of film rolls to choose from. These photographs were my very first roll of film I ever shot with my AE-1 and they were shot with a 3200 Black and White roll of film. My experience? I LOVED it! I love the nostalgic clicks and clacks that accompany this camera. It felt great in my hand and, although these shots didn’t turn out perfectly, it was fun to experiment. There is no turning back!! There is no looking back to check and see if the exposure was set correctly. It’s all inside waiting to be developed. And I thoroughly enjoyed passing my film off to be developed and waiting in anticipation to see my prints. Anyways, I signed up to take a darkroom class at a local camera store. It doesn’t start until January. And I can’t wait because there are things I wish I could do differently to the prints if I could develop them myself. It’s going to be an exciting adventure for me. I am also looking forward to being a part of a community of photographers. And I also look forward to sharing my film process with my readers as I delve deeper into this new world! Let me know what you think of my first roll…

Clovers and Weeds in a Clay Pot. Polly Nance. 2012.

Fall Drying Up the Living. Polly Nance. 2012.

Fall on a Street. Polly Nance. 2012.

Three Blooms That Breathe. Polly Nance. 2012.

Gracie. Polly Nance. 2012.

Dying Plant. Polly Nance. 2012.

Weeds in the Light. Polly Nance. 2012.

Diagonal Thirst. Polly Nance. 2012.

A Pot in My Backyard. Polly Nance. 2012.

A Nature and Woman-Made Composition. Polly Nance. 2012.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and view my blog!

As always, please feel free to leave any and all feedback.

PEACE, LOVE until my next bloggy-blog post, dear fellow blog-readin’ friends. 🙂

9 thoughts on “My First Attempt at Shooting BW Film with My New (But Old) Canon AE-1

  1. I Love B/W!! I experimented with a “Red” filter and I shot a pic of a corn field which, come to find out, was my best B/W shot I ever took!! The “Red” filter contrasted the “Light” and “Dark” areas of the field and everything else in the pic as well!! I have since then purchased a “Blue” Filter, but I haven’t experimented with B/W yet!? Enjoy Your B/W!!

  2. Dear Polly,
    I still shoot with my Canon F-1’s from time to time…film cannot be replaced by digital, know matter how many nifty filters they come up with in Photoshop – as a Master Photog, I was told along time ago…to really understand how light works we need to also understand film…since all digital is based on the idea of film…you’re step “Back to the Future” will give you not only the tools for making great work on film but better work on digital. As a master we understand that light is the basis – it becomes photography when the science of chemistry, lenses, and the darkroom are combined with the light…it took many years for photography to be considered art. It took an even greater understanding of film developing to understand what would ultimately print on the paper…digital is the culmination of all those pioneers that spent countless hours in the lab , the darkroom and behind the camera.

    The situation is this and I was told this by an aspiring amateur…the question below was asked to me by an amateur…I knew I had been all three but did not know the answer…it is enlightening…and makes me realize I arrived …. because I mostly talk about light.

    What is the difference between amateur, professional and master photographers?
    Amateurs talk about the equipment, Professionals talk about making money with the equipment and Masters talk about Light.

    The Latin description of photograph – Photo=light, graph = line
    Photography is drawing with light….
    We wish you well in your adventures in the darkroom…the learning has just begun…the chemicals will remind you that there is more to photography than a mouse and a pixel.
    Brian Kaplan, M. Photog, Cr., AFP

  3. I’m a fan! and even more curious about what will come next. You did really good for a first roll! but yes, I’m sure you’ll do even better when you can actually develop the film yourself. I love the grain these pictures have.

Let me know what you are thinking :)

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