Rustic Roadside Sights

I was meandering through some backroads on my motorcycle a few weeks back. It was just one of those aimless trips where I was out to enjoy the ride and clear my head. Sometimes I don't bother taking a camera at all on trips like that. Other times I'll take something small, simple, and pocketable. Sounds like an iPhone maybe? Nah. I often try to leave as much technology behind as I can on these quiet backroads rides. This time my camera companion was an Olympus Stylus 35mm film camera, loaded up with a roll of Agfa 200.

As it turned out, I didn't do that much shooting that day. The ride was more needed than the photography fix. I stopped rarely and grabbed shots of a few rustic looking abandoned homes and other structures. Nothing out of the ordinary for these parts. Most of the film roll went unused, saved for another day. That's OK. There will always be other rides.

A Ride with the Pocketable Stylus

I've been experimenting with a bit with pocketable film cameras. When I take my motorcycle out for some back roads riding, I want to have a camera other than my iPhone with me and I want it to be analog. Sometimes I just want to be out for the sake of the ride and not have to look at the world through an LCD screen. A little Olympus Stylus is the latest camera to audition for a spot in my jacket pocket and after the maiden voyage, I can say I'm impressed.

Like my Olympus XA and XA2 cameras, the Stylus has a sliding cover for the lens and it acts as a power switch. It is fully automatic. All I have to do is compose and shoot - the camera does the metering, focusing, and winding. With the large shutter button I can easily operate the Stylus with a gloved hand. It's perfect for a motorcyclist to use without having to remove a glove. 

The f/3.5 35mm lens isn't very fast but that's OK. I'm not looking for a low light shooter. My need is for a camera to get a few casual snaps on outings where the the main goal is riding with no particular destination in mind - maybe sharing the road with a fellow rider or two. I found the metering to be accurate and focus was dead on. The only things I can really complain about is that the battery is a CR123A rather than something more common like a pair of AAs. The camera also needs DX coded film. While most new film is DX compatible, I sometimes shoot stuff like motion picture film that isn't coded. The stylus will assume any non coded film to be ISO 100.

I loaded up the Stylus with a roll of film a friend gave me a while back - Lomography Color 400. It was my first time shooting this one. My ride took me through Bartlett and Holland, TX where I stopped for a bit in each town to snap a few shots. I was pleased with the results I got back from my lab. I believe the film is some sort of rebranded Fujifilm stock. There is something about Fujifilm color that I really like. I can't get color this pleasing to my eye with my digital cameras

Here's something I've never done before. I'm posting my whole roll, holding nothing back. That's 37 shots including the banner image on this post. One of the other things about shooting film that I like is that I'm more careful and thoughtful with my photos because I can't immediately see the results and it costs me something with every click of the shutter. Some shots are better than others to be sure. Still, I'm not typically going to be as willing to share every shot I take with my digital cameras where clicks are free. Different mindset. Slower and more contemplative - a good thing to do on a leisurely ride down some Texas backroads.