Monday, March 25, 2013

Last Frame

It's an odd skill to boast of, but I'm fairly good at loading film into a camera. I can load film quickly and efficiently, while standing in a crowded train, or in the middle of other distractions. But most importantly, by pulling very little film ‒ the bare minimum ‒ out of the cassette, I can get the film leader to engage in the take-up spool.

This may not sound like much, but if you pull less film out of the cassette, you can often get 38 or even 39 exposures out of a 36-exposure roll. I like this, because it feels like getting more than my money's worth, like squeezing the last smidgen of toothpaste out of a tube.

After the 36th shot, I expect the film to run out. When it doesn't, it's always a pleasant surprise, and though I'm generally quite economical when shooting film, for the last frame I feel like I can fire off a shot without worrying too much about the end result, because it's free.

Often, the last frame is the best.


This photo was taken in Greenwich Park in London. I like the patterns made by the snow and the branches, and the woman playing with her dog on the hillside. It was the last exposure on the roll, and the last of the dying light. I thought it was the last snow of the season too, but it snowed again this weekend, proving that my spring post was premature.

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