Beneath the Pier on Film


Another of the three shots I made with film of the Santa Monica Pier when I was taking the photo workshop with Sam Abell.

I would have been very happy with shot, had I not got a better one in digital (here).

It is interesting to compare the two shots which are taken from the same spot with different lens lengths.

The extra width of the digital shot includes more pilings that frame the shot well.

The gull was a bonus, and is just what was needed to complete the shot. See below for a comparable digital shot without the gull.

This film camera (Olympus XA2) has a 35mm/f3.5 lens while the digital shot (Canon 5Dii) was made with a vintage Nikkor-N 24mm/f2.8 lens.






4 thoughts on “Beneath the Pier on Film

    • Thanks Lynn. The big difference here is a simple point and shoot with a not very wide lens, almost no control over exposure (I pushed the ISO one stop to 800 which is the furthest it will go on that camera), and the need to make the most of it with digital for the sit down part of the class later that day. I can’t be bothered to look it up, but I probably had pushed the DSLR to 2400 or 3200 ISO, and I had a substantially wider (and faster) lens on the camera (a nod to vintage though, it was a 40+ year old Nikkor on my Canon, which the purists treat as blasphemy). I think I could have taken a similar shot on film with an SLR, but I would have needed a tripod, and the seagull probably would have thought it was a rifle and not come within shooting distance.


    • Belated thanks for the comment Andy. The framing is the big deal for me.
      The first shot is with a point and shoot film camera. The film is rated between 50 and 800 ISO without need for changing developing times, though it is better at 400 or 200. I did change the film speed setting to 800 for this shot in order to get a slightly faster shutter speed as this is the only control I have over the camera. Looking at the digital EXIF data, I calculate that the film shot was 1/15th. That, combined with more grain from the higher ISO, would explain the loss of sharpness.


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