I am currently shooting 35mm film and large format 4x5 film. The lenses I use for the 35mm range from a 5x macro to 400mm. On my 4x5 I have 4 lenses, 72mm, 150mm, 210mm, and 400mm. These lens selections accomodate the fact that I look at the world around me in all sorts of perspectives. From the tiny details to the wide panoramic. Beauty is everywhere.
Yes, I am shooting film. I enjoy Kodak E100VS color slide film. UPDATE: Kodak is discontinuing my favorite film. I will be shooting more with Fuji Velvia 100 and their Provia 100. I also like using Ilford's 100 Delta and 400 Delta Black & White films. A professional processor takes care of my slide film and I process my B&W. I use Kodak D-76 to develope.
When am I going digital? I don't see it happening in the near future. I don't shoot enough film to make it an economic decision. And I am enjoying what I am getting out of my film. I have no issue with waiting for my results. I will admit there is an allure to digital. I do have a DSLR for snapshots and family events. The Canon 5D MkIII has just been announced and it looks good (I have Canon lenses). With the loss of my favorite color film I may jump to digital for my color work. But, I am in no rush. I am already 70% digital since I scan my film, work it in Photoshop, and print it on an inkjet printer. Speaking of Photoshop, I don't do a bunch of tricky stuff like putting something in a picture, I just tweak the colors and contrast some to fit the scene as I saw it, then crop and size as desired. I have more fun getting the shot as it is rather than trying to put something together in the computer.
Even if I do go digital I will still use B&W film. I know, I know, I can make good color to B&W conversions in Photoshop or other software. I am not too fond of that. I find that when I put B&W film in the camera, my whole thought process changes and I look for photographs that will fit that format. I enjoy thinking about what a particular filter might do for a particular environment. I look at compositions and contrasts. Converting color to B&W for me feels like an afterthought. I have done it and produced decent results, I just prefer the real thing.
I almost always use a tripod. Since I hike I have one of those graphite tripods. This is definitely a must for any landscape photographer. That rock, tree or waterfall is not going anywhere, take your time. Set up the composition and think about it for a bit, reexamine it, move a little here or there. For me, the tripod helps set the proper pace. I can also set my composition and then wait for the light to be right then, snap. The tripod is also the best tool to take a sharp picture.
The general rules of trying to capture a good shot are well known and I will reiterate them. Of course every rule has an exception...
1. I arrive at my area of interest before dawn, yawn, for the sunrise light or late afternoon for the sunset light. Hiking and working in the dark to capture the light is a curious irony.
2. If I am shooting midday, architectural, or at night I generally am using B&W to better capture the contrasts and dynamic range.
3. I try to practice some form of asymmetry in my compositions. (rule of thirds, golden mean, odd number of subjects)
4. I pay attention to my f-stop to give me the depth of field I desire.
5. Again, I use a tripod as much as possible.
Once again, every rule has an exception, or two.
The one thing that is almost impossible to teach is finding an interesting subject. Sometimes it is easy and obvious, thus the traditional shots of famous edifices. Usually it is quite subtle and serendipity can be a factor. Don't get me wrong I cannot look down my nose at people shooting Delicate Arch or the Lincoln Memorial or Zion Valley, because I am standing right next to them doing the same thing. How can I teach someone to look beyond the obvious? I don't know. I don't know if I myself have done it successfully. I just know that more often than I ever imagined, I have come away from a place with an unexpected picture, when I was there for something else entirely different. I have driven an hour to a place before dawn with absolutely no idea of what I am going to take a picture, thus the "Tree Silhouette", in the Texas gallery, with the glorious morning colors behind it. Maybe the best piece of advice is to wander around the scene of interest for awhile without even unpacking the camera. Sit still and take it all in. Pretend you don't even have a camera and explore the scene like a child would, looking for the hidden treasures (big and little) that Mother Nature set aside for those willing to put in the time and effort to find.
Too many times the lighting is flat or the sky cloudless or shadows unexpectedly fall across the scene of interest or the wind is too strong or it is raining or...or...or...or..you get the idea. So what!? Chances are you are in a beautiful place so enjoy it and explore and come back another day and time and try again. You are blessed to be someplace beautiful to begin with, a great photo is just icing on the cake.
Photography for me is a great way to get out of the house or hotel room and just look around. Hmmm…so is golf, but you wouldn't want my golf scores.