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|Why did my 35mm pictures turn out so crumby?|
I just got a hold of an older, steel-frame SLR camera. It came with a 205, 135, and 55mm lens. I went and bought a roll of Kodak 400 Ultra. I tried on most of the shots to make some outstanding photos. I believed they would have turned out great.
I made the awful beginners mistake of taking my film to a 1-hour hut at Wally World. I will never do that again. Kodak film got developed on Fuji Dry Paper. They didn't develop all of my shots. They did about 22 of about 26 shots. I am NOT happy. They had stripes down them. They felt rough. They looked overdeveloped (or maybe I overexposed them).
My question relates to this. I know that I will never again make that mistake. No more photo huts for me. Ever. (Has anyone had luck with their film being sent off for the 2 days at Wal*Mart?)
I want to know what I have to do to make my pictures look perfect, not like some amateur. I do almost all outdoor pictures. Mostly of nature. I like animals and plants. The bare beauty that nature holds is amazing and I want to capture that. How do I make my pictures have such saturated colours? Should I ever use a flash outside in the daylight?
Just to add, my signature in photography is focusing. I blur out what I don't want people to see and focus on what I want them to see. I know that it is very common, but my pictures and style reflects mainly this.
I want vibrant, brighter-than-life colours. I don't want dull, muted, gray colours when I am taking a picture of a green, glowing field.
Can someone help me with this?
|Hard to say where the problem was, camera malfunction, operator error, processing error, unrealistic expectations for a first time out with a roll of film....|
Can you scan a print and post a couple on Flickr or somewhere?
In an old unknown camera, there is the real possibility your light meter, shutter or aperture diaphragm was not working correctly. So even using it on manual does not guarantee the settings are what they say they are.
I suggest shooting a roll of slides. They are what they are. Assuming the chemistry is good, what you (or the camera) do is what you get with no lab tech intervention.
You say the prints have "stripes"? What color are these markings, and are they on all frames? Are they on the negatives as well as the prints? Irregular shapes or lines? Again, an example would help diagnose the problem, but it sounds like you might have a light leak.
You might want to have the camera sent in for a CLA, where they will check it out and fix minor issues. If they find major things wrong, you might want an estimate before having it fixed. Many old camera bodies can be bought used much cheaper than repair.
Using a flash in daylight is helpful for portraits. Not so much in landscapes, although you might find uses for it from time to time, depending on subject, lighting and composition. The flash is only good for a few feet, of course, and is mainly used outdoors to lift shadows on faces and even exposure between subject and background.
Fuji Velvia is noted for saturated color and is a staple for film landscape photographers. For negative film, over exposing by a half stop or so will give more saturation.
Hope you get the problem solved and get to enjoy your "new" camera.
BTW, some mini labs are pretty good, even in WallyWorld, some are horrid. A lot depends on who the tech is and how skilled, and how the equipment and chemistry is maintained. I have read where Kodak film is best on Kodak paper and Fuji on Fuji. I have run both, and Konica, and I prefer Noritsu and Kodak, Endura if they have it, especially for portraits, and glossy for landscape. If you can find a Noritsu (or even Greytag) system running Kodak paper you *might* see a difference. If the exposure is bad, nothing is going to help, especially if a negative has been underexposed.