Challenge Yourself

May 7, 2019

This weekend marks the beginning of ‘Car Show Season’ for me.  One of my favourite things to do on warm weekends is attend local car shows (local being within about an hour’s drive).  The variety of people who attend is quite astounding, almost as varied as the cars in the show.  Some come out in costume; some are almost trying to be incognito.  They are a visual feast!

Now... you might be thinking ‘How does a car show tie into the title of this post?’  Here’s the thing:  this weekend I’m taking my film camera ONLY (well other than my smartphone).  My goal is to shoot a bunch of photos on film and leave the digital camera at home.  Film presents a really different type of challenge for me.  I’m forced to slow down, think more about the shot I want, be more intentional.  Not that I don’t do a lot of those things when I shoot digital too; but with film I’m limited to 12 photos per roll, and it takes about 2 minutes to change the film.  I don’t get any preview and I can’t delete the shots I don’t like or did wrong.  What I shoot is what I shoot, so each shot takes on a more precious value.

So there lies the challenge:  to take as many decent photos as I can without being able to see result until the film comes back from developing.  And with this challenge comes the practice of being patient, being intentional, using the grey matter (brains, not hair) to really foresee the shot.  Digital photography has made so much of a photographer’s job better, but all too often we take huge amounts of images to get the one we want simply because we can.  Film changes the rules of the game.

What about you, faithful reader?  Is there some part of your career or hobbies that could benefit from a challenge like this, to revert to bygone technology and make something happen from an old-school method?  How much sharper would your mind be if you did some simple math in your head instead of with a calculator?  Would your artistic work be changed by using an older type of paint or brushes?  Would that morning coffee taste better if it were brewed with a coffee press instead of the coffee maker?  Never mind the physical benefits; think about the possibility of the peacefulness that may arise from taking more time to do these things, to just slow down and enjoy the process.  Maybe, like me (I hope) this change of pace, this challenge, will translate into new ideas or a more pleasing method of doing things with the new tech that’s normally used.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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