35mm film photography

Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic Site on film


The Panetrary Court, built in 1896

A recent camping trip on an off-weekend between motorsport photo shoots at the Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic Site at Koreshan State Park in Estero , Florida seemed like the perfect opportunity to pull out one of my old 35mm film cameras and a roll of expired T-Max 400 and indulge my new/old obsession: film photography.

The Historic Site, which is all that remains of a religious community established in the late 1800's near Ft. Myers, Florida, is a photographically target-rich environment, just begging to be photographed on black and white film!



More than 100 years ago, the original settlers of the community moved here with visions of establishing a city which they hoped would grow to as many a s 10 million people and be a worldwide center for their religion. This vision did not quite pan out, and by the 1980's all the residents of the community were gone, leaving behind their story and the few physical structures that remain.

With the limited time I had, I made a couple of trips through the set, photographing it both digitally as well as on 35mm film. I used a Canon EOS 650, which was Canon's original EOS autofocus body back in the 80's, which I had picked up at an online auction for next to nothing. The beauty of these old canon bodies is that you can use all your current canon mount lenses with them, and their functions are fairly intuitive for a Canon shooter.


Interior view, Damkohler House, built in 1882

For someone like myself, who spent 20 years in film photography before the dawn of the digital age right about the turn of the century, it is hard to grasp the attraction I now feel for film photography, more than 15 years down the road from casting off all my old chemical-stained clothing. I think it has something to do with the deliberateness of the process, from determining the composition, focus and exposure to the finality of pressing the shutter button and advancing the film one more step toward the end of the roll, knowing that when the film is gone, the photography is over.



And, as someone recently told me, I am a glutton for punishment apparently, as I have even pulled all my old processing tanks out of storage, ordered chemical from
Amazon, and gone to work processing my own film. The excitement as I anticipate the images on the film is just like it was for me in the old days, when there was no other way to produce photographic images, I find that I am still unable to wait for the full duration of the fixing chemical time before I have waned the wet film out of the fixer and am holding it up to the light with a magnifier to see what I've actually captured.


The Founder's House, built in 1896

Anyway, I was happy with the results of my hour spent at the Koreshan Unity Settlement with my old Canon EOS 650 and an expired roll of Kodak
T-Max 400, and would encourage any photography with a curiosity for the origins of his or her craft to pick up an old film camera and some film and give it a go. My belief is that it will only deepen your love for photography



To view my full 35mm film gallery from the Koreshan Unity Settlement, please
click here

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