Black and White Photos with the Canon AE-1

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As I mentioned in my January 2020 Update, I had gone out one afternoon with the intention of finishing rolls in my Minolta Hi-Matic 11 and in my Canon AE-1. I successfully finished the roll in the Minolta (and included them in my January 2020 Update), but when I went to use the Canon, I found it unresponsive.

I assumed at the time it was just a dead battery, which turned out to be the case. I replaced it, and the camera came back to life.

I need to get better at checking the battery life in my cameras before going out to shoot. The batteries tend to last quite a while which contributes to my bad habits. But those few seconds it takes to check are worth it to avoid the kind of disappointment I had when I wandered far from home without a working camera.

Other than the battery, I had a reliable set-up. A classic camera, Ilford HP5 Plus 400 (which I had gotten from the Casual Photophile Film of the Month Club), and the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 I bought from a friend who worked for a while as a professional wedding photographer.

Not surprisingly, I was pleased with how this combination of elements turned out. I went out on three occasions with this combination.

The first set of photos from this roll was from a walk Holly and I had taken to midtown.

The second set (after the battery replacement) was from a short walk Holly and I had taken just south of where we live.

The final set was from a walk I had taken around center city. I purposefully chose a route that would lead me to my local photography store so I could drop off the film as soon as I was done with it. There’s something oddly satisfying in doing so. It takes almost a week to get my black and white photos developed and scanned so the sooner I can drop the roll off the better.

Certainly, I’m glad the problem with my Canon AE-1 was just a dead battery. Relying on used cameras is always a bit risky. I have had some issues with used cameras but have been fortunate that, for the most part, my suite of cameras has been reliable.

Here’s hoping I’ve learned my lesson about checking my batteries before leaving the apartment so I won’t have to admit defeat again in the future.

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