One... frame?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by apostolos_tournas, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. OK, it sounds ridiculous, but is it? You know the "one camera, one lens" movement, but taking it to the extreme, would you go out with your film camera (preferably an MF), one lens and one frame left on film?

    Think about it for a moment. It would require a lot of patience, an acute photographic eye, accurate exposure and very careful composition. A lot of luck, as well!

  2. If you read Ansel Adams' accounts of his picture taking, he often ended up at places with just one (glass or film) plate left to shoot.

    Wet plate photographers in the 19th c. often had to do nearly miraculous treks to get that one picture.

    A full memory card nowadays, on rare occasions, plays the same "editing" function :rolleyes:
    movingfinger and mikemorrell like this.
  3. I took up photography as a hobby some 15 years ago with the advent of digital cameras. It's been more than 30 years since I took 'snaps' with a film camera and had them developed. But I do understand - and value - the 'less is more' principle. I believe that it's very worthwhile being selective in learning to decide what's really worth photographing and what's not. And moving your feet (with one focal length) instead of zooming in or out.

    I have a good friend who still prefers to use her film camera (8-12 photos per roll?). So in principle, yes. I think the challenge of just being able to take one photo each day is very worthwhile. Film photographers like my friend have similar challenges (unless they carry around a stock of rolls). Even if they have only 2 or 3 shots left on their rolls, they still need to be much more selective than digital photographers who can shoot hundreds of photos each day and choose the best ones at home.

    In this sense, film photography (with 1 photo as the ultimate choice) does focus the mind much more than digital photography. IMHO digital photographers can apply the same principle as a 'learning exercise' by using one lens set at a fixed focal length and taking no more than 1 (or 3 or 5) photos.
  4. Yes!
    I can do this, I did this I have this approach !
    My dream combo was Contax S2 + 50/1.4 or FM-3a + 50/1.2 Ai-s..... were too expensive.
  5. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I can recall going out with my old 5x7 view camera - If I recall correctly I had 5 film holders - 10 shots. I rarely used more than 2 holders. I think what you use to some extent creates a method and exposure frequency - I rarely need to reload or even use 36 when I take one of the film cameras out. One? No, there would undoubtedly be some stellar photo opportunity I would miss. Seems to happen often enough If I fail to take a camera when I leave the property.
    sjmurray likes this.
  6. I've gone out with my ditial slr quite a few times to photograph something and set myself a completely artificial and self-imposed goal of only taking one picture to see what I come up with and how it affects my seeing the subject and shooting it. It's a fun exercise. I tend to shoot less rather than more in a lot of situations and also often enough find that my first shots of a scene, person, or thing are the best ones, though that's not always the case. There was one time when I went out for a day and my battery died after my very first shot. I was hoping it would be very special ... and it was not! But the day was great, anyway, and my camera stayed in its bag, which happens quite often as well.
  7. The backup CF card for my Nikon is 256mb, good for 22 jpegs. That will be a fun day when I need to use it.
  8. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    on another photo site i was on, they passed around a camera. each person that got it was to take one picture n mail it on to the next person on the list.

    when the roll was done, it got mailed back to the starter n a new roll was started.

    the results were amazing.
  9. Paul, can you share this site? Sounds fascinating! I find my patience is inversely proportional to my need to pee, multiplied by the number of potential witnesses. I've discovered that 36MP raw images out of my D810 demand either a monstrous investment in digital memory, or careful selection and self-editing in the field. The latter is far cheaper and results in better outcomes.
  10. Those of us once engaged in large format photography would not find one trip to the field, returning with one shot, all that unusual.
    sjmurray, paul ron, AJG and 2 others like this.
  11. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    the site was nelson photo but its gone. the site was famous for camera repair n restoration, a retirement home for old camera repairmen gathering around the camp fire.

    they called it hagar the traveling viking. put your name on the list n you got a turn to take your best shot n send m on his way to another part of the world.
  12. My first memory card, in 1999, held 32 MB and cost about $100. Now I'm using 64 or 128 GB cards, the latter for not much more than that. A 64 GB card holds over 700 images from a 42 MP Sony (@84 MB). On a good day, I have to pee twice before changing a card ;)
    movingfinger, mikemorrell and Sanford like this.
  13. I have a decent pile of 4x5 holders, but it's it's common that I'll only take two holders out into the field with me(I can fit one in each back pocket of my pants). Of course, each holder holds two sheets, but it's also common that I'll only find one scene that I WANT to photograph, and thus end up only shooting one frame.

    When I've dabbled in plates, the situation is even worse. I only have one 4x5 plate holder, and even though it will hold two plates I generally only load one. Of course, the problem with that is remembering which side actually has the plate :)
  14. Blimey! Going out to take one photo! By the time I have prepared myself, selected camera and lens from a fairly large collection, pondered on which camera bag to use, hunted for my light meter which moves by itself, located funds, phone, keys( various), made another trip to the loo to be safe( quite a leitmotif in this thread), locked up, staggered to the car, spent a moment wondering if I have locked up, I need to shoot at least two rolls of film to make the effort worthwhile. Whatever happened to that carefree youth who would grab an OM1 and 50, put a Vivitar 28 in a pocket and be out the door. All the best, Charles.
  15. :rolleyes: Seems most of us are males over 50 YO, so not an unreasonable issue.
  16. The idea of relying on very few frames (OK, not just one, I admit it!) occurred to me as I noticed how many times I came back home with 2-3 frames unused. In the past I would even develop the unfinished film, for I didn't trust myself I could go out shooting with so little film available. One day, I realised that it might be beneficial! Now, I go photographing with at least 3 frames on the film (never tried with 2---yet!).

    I think the concept is rooted in what is known as the Haas principle, after Ernst Haas. When he presented his documentary work with the soldiers coming home, his publisher was astonished to realise that all twelve frames from his Rolleiflex films were publishable! So, Haas principle means using every single frame with ultimate consideration.

  17. Just one more (literary) note on this thread. I recently read- and thoroughly enjoyed - the novel "To the Bright Edge of the World" by Eowyn Ivey (2016). Set in 1885, husband (Colonel) Allen leads an expedition to find a route into the vast, untamed Alaska Territory. Sophie, his newly pregnant wife, soon becomes bored with local social life and decides to explore her love of nature through the 'new art of photography' (knowing nothing about it).

    I found it fascinating to read about her gradual learning process - by trial and error - as a photographer whereby she eventually managed to expose and develop her first blurry (wet plate) photograph. Just as fascinating was the amount of time she took (weeks) and the attention she paid in order to take just one 'good photo' of nesting birds. The camera angle had to be just right, the light had to be just right (so her hide had to be moved) and she needed to wait weeks until conditions were just right: no movement of branches (wind) or birds.

    My impression is that the novel was well-researched. It really brought home to me the extent to which early photographers really were pioneers and needed to be very selective in the photos they chose to make.
  18. Mike, thanks a lot, sounds really interesting, just in the spirit of this thread, right? I'll try to get the book for sure.

    mikemorrell likes this.
  19. That sounds very interesting, I would like to try it! Just one frame.
    mikemorrell likes this.

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