Gian Sapienza Photography: Blog en-us (C) Gian Sapienza Photography (Gian Sapienza Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:40:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:40:00 GMT Gian Sapienza Photography: Blog 96 120 THE DEATH OF DIGITAL. FILM IS BACK! TOP FIVE REASONS TO SHOOT FILM!

That's right, you need to shoot film!!  At least some of the time.  Digital is of course not dead nor is it even breathing heavy at this point and digital is the new guard. "Film" however, is the underpinning of photography, our creative canvas, the holder of memories...we need to remember and continue to practice the methods of the past to ensure that the future of photography does not stray too far from it's origins.

While film suffers from the inconvenience of not being a medium that easily imports into the digital world and the fact that not many labs still process E-6, there are still some reasons to shoot film from time to time. This isn't a debate about which is better CD's or is today, exceptional and effective, but tomorrow may once again be owned by film..are YOU ready?



  1. To have a tactile and better understanding of exposure and be able to judge the recordable range of a scene more effectively. Your digital camera's programmed metering can't make all decisions correctly and film has different exposure latitudes compared to digital. Understanding films exposure ability helps you make better decisions when in the digital domain.

  1. It forces you to slow down and be more deliberate about your shot. Digital is a fast process and you can shoot without even thinking about the scene or exposure since there is no extra cost per shot. Quality medium-format Velvia transparencies run about $3.00 per frame between film and processing cost. You will also be more selective about what you consider to be a “great” shot. By the time you get your film back, you have erased the associated emotions you created or attached to a specific shot.

  1. There is just something satisfying about shooting film. The process, the loading, the winding, the handling and freezing of the film, the consideration of what you can post-process etc. Even the snap of the the mirror feels substantial and “beefy” when using film.

  1. The beautiful giant transparencies that “pop” on the light table or light box. Nothing compares to looking at positive film with a loupe. Prints don't count, that's not professional film, the lab determines the exposure when shooting print film, you must shoot transparency film to have total control of your image. Getting into taking these amazing giant images is also a lot cheaper than buying a top quality digital rig.

  1. The tight smooth grain and color of film. Digital is still missing the depth that film has always possessed. While digital is far more efficient and top digital cameras are producing amazing images. Film has a certain feel and depth that is missing in digital.


Get back to your roots, stop playing the part of “digital puppet” and get out there and compose your shot. Make it count, make it real and don't wait for Light Room to save your ass when you missed in the field. Test your ability and nail exposure the first time! When you can nail 10 out of 10 exposures on a roll of 120 then you know you are in control.

(Gian Sapienza Photography) camera digital film medium format why shoot film Sat, 18 Oct 2014 07:35:13 GMT


1.  TRIPOD-No nature image worth its salt was shot hand held at 1/10 @ f18.

2.  NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS - Day hikes are usually during harsh high afternoon light, so when you come across that stream or over-lit peak, you will be glad you have a 4X or 8X ND with you.

3.  BACK-UP MEMORY CARDS - There is nothing worse than hiking four miles through the bush to realize you only have an 8GB card with you.

4.  RAIN GEAR FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT AND YOU - Weather changes quickly in the high country or desert so protect your gear and yourself.

5.  FLASHLIGHTS AND FIRE STARTER - You will always need a couple types of flashlights or headlamps as the late afternoon light fades and you must always be prepared to get stuck…so have a fire starter!

6.  WATER - Hydrate before you leave your truck and stay hydrated on the hike!

7.  SUN SHIELDS - For your head, always have a great hat and for your ability to see through the viewfinder or being able to see the LCD screen you should carry a black piece of fabric to put over your head and camera to block out the light.

8. COMPASS, GPS OR LOCATOR BEACON SYSTEM (PLB) - Never leave the car without your orienteering compass, GPS or PLB…but remember, GPS is not fail-safe, so you need to know how to use one before its critical.

9.  MAP - Just like a GPS or Compass, never head into the back country without a map…even a simple park service entrance map is better than no map.

10.  CELLPHONE & TWO-WAY RADIOS - It’s always a good last resort even when out of cell range; you would be surprised where you can receive cell signal sometimes.  You should always carry your two-way radios as well so you don’t get separated from your partner or party.

(Gian Sapienza Photography) camera bag day hike Fri, 10 Oct 2014 06:10:13 GMT

There is much to the debate of using software based exposure and tonal control, but how does it compare ethically to the use of age-old on-lens filters? While volumes have been written on this subject already, we will touch on the concept of filters vs. post processing alterations.  The above image was shot RAW then Light Room applied knocking down the highlights to -77 creating a nice balance of highlights and shadows in a high contrast scene.  A similar effect could have been achieved with a traditional graduated ND filter but at the cost of a break-line in the highlights.


The image below is an example of the same shot with an orange graduated filter (orange to show effect) and you can see how grossly overexposed the bottom right corner and highlights could be if pushed a half stop too open without a filter or adjustment in post. The warm filter failed, but it's a good example of how much contrast there was in a canyon scene like this and how easy it would be to blow out the highlights.

Does post-processing of highlights and contrast create an ethical dilemma compared to using “at-capture” lens filters? I personally do not think so if it's done in moderation and is used to replicate nature as it was when you stumbled across it.  That opinion does not include altering colors to create unreal images such as purple sky’s or red water, but the digital medium has altered our ability to simply present the original film cast of old to the viewer and forces a photographer to compensate for the medium by using LR or other software editing tools.  Filters and post processing can be abused and are both subject to the ethical expectations of photography.  In the digital age, we are now subject to compensating for multiple manufactures idea of red or blue or any other color at capture and then compensating again for the multiple other pieces of equipment that must be used to reproduce our images before the consumer sees the end result.  In the past there were only a few brands of film that dictated our tonal range for nature and landscape photography so tonal deviation was rare and post processing was not as common as it is now.


I am a strong opponent of HDR images (which is another entire topic for the articles page) and believe it should NOT be considered photography at all and replacing content in your image via software is even worse, but to make adjustments to your final product to represent the true colors of nature and vibrancy of a scene as shot, I think there is some leeway.  Even in the days of film, labs would have slight tonal variations in the processing of Velvia for example and one lab may have a more magenta cast than another lab.  So, when it comes to "punching" up an image...ethically if you add content, create an unreal representation of nature and replace colors with a filter, PS or LR...then you are not a purist and for the sake of the craft do not submit your images as "photography" and find another category to submit your work.


As for filters, like my pile of Cokin plastic squares, the above image with the orange grad filter is also an ethical pickle since it's radically altering the tone of the rock.  Some of the old style filters were not much different than using LR or PS to change the color of a subject and were at the time considered unacceptable for professional use except for or ad work or intentionally artistic modernism.


If you compensate digitally for contrast and the shortcomings of the medium of reproduction then you are on the fair side of ethics and are not cheating the public into thinking you captured the one time in the history of planet that the ocean was purple at sunset and the second moon in your picture gave you a green glow on the mountain top.  Remember, the "enhance" button on your iphone is not photography, it's a computer deciding what a programmer thinks is "cool".  Your job as a photographer is to artistically represent nature in its purest form.  Use the tools of the trade and learn exposure and how to capture life as it happens and you will always have images you can be proud of and say..."I shot that image"!

(Gian Sapienza Photography) lens filters photo editing photography ethics Wed, 08 Oct 2014 08:27:11 GMT