Why I take my big, heavy film SLR with me on holiday

Part of me still can’t justify taking my big, heavy film SLR camera that I inherited from my mom on holiday. I can’t quite believe I would give up the precious space in my bag, carry all the extra stuff or that I would pause in my adventurous excitement long enough to fuss with dials, change the film. Part of my back still feels damaged from walking up and down the hills of Montmartre with what came to feel like 100 pounds swinging into my hip at every step.

And then I carefully carry my used film through airport security, pay for it to be developed and worry about it getting lost in the mail. Until one fine day, my film arrives back to me, safe and sound, a few weeks after returning from my destination.

Like so much about travel, it’s about the journey.


I use my Mom’s old Sears-Roebuck SLR that she had when she went to London and Paris. I get to take this old camera to new places and take a bit of home with me. No matter where I go.


I get take the time to adjust everything. Take the lens cap off, adjust the film speed using the dial on the front, adjust the shutter speed, the aperture and remember to focus the image. I get to stand still, really looking at the image I want to capture on the 35mm film winding within the heavy camera and take it all in. I get to hear the satisfying, mechanical click of a real shutter.


I get to see my successes. (Yes! I got the exposure right on that one!) and see the mistakes that create keepsakes (Instagram, SmInstagram).


Long after the post-holiday blues have subsided, I get relive all the memories again.



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