March 2004. Ellie was four months old. I was in my third year of fulltime wedding photography. My main camera was still the EOS-3, a workhorse of a film camera with the most delightful shutter noise. I was a lot more high volume in those days, shooting one or even two weddings every weekend during the season (March through October), putting crazy miles on my car (an Acura 2.2CL, my beloved coupe with climate control and leather interior that I gave up because for the life of me, I couldn’t fit Ellie’s Big Girl Car Seat into the back).
Allie was a low-maintenance bride – my favorite. Their wedding was elegant, yet totally relaxed. They got married at Grace United Methodist Church in downtown Wilmington, one of my all-time favorite churches to work in. The reception was at the City Club, just a couple blocks away from the church. Parking is miserable, but the venue is so gorgeous you almost forget how frustrated you were trying to find a vacant spot.
Looking back at this wedding, I shot a TON of film. You know, I was still suspicious of digital back then… and I hadn’t quite wrapped my head around the digital process. With film, you got the image right in camera, the lab dunked and scanned your rolls, and voila! Done! With digital, you could tweak. There were actions. There was photoshop. There was a LOT of learning.
My EOS-3 still lives in my backup gear bag, along with a few dozen rolls of (expired) film. I’ll never have to use it as backup – no way in hell will all five of my digital bodies die at the same time. But I won’t let go of that camera. It was, and still is, my favorite of them all. I keep promising myself that I’ll buy a few rolls of FP4, maybe shoot a portrait session on it, or at least shoot some b&w of Ellie… but that project never makes it to the top of the To Do List. But these last few weeks, going through all these old film scans, brings me right back to those days. I remember the feeling… film held such promise, each roll a surprise. You didn’t know *exactly* what you’d captured until the roll was dunked, dried, and either contact printed or scanned. By the time you got to see the images, they were set – there was no tweaking, no levels adjustment, no curves. You got what you shot, and that was that. Ahhhh, those were the days.
Enough reminiscing. It’s picture time.