Shooting film for the Accident Prone Pt. 1 - How to Save a Roll of 35mm That's Broken in the Camera

How to Save a Roll of 35mm that's broken in the Camera.

This will be the first part in an ongoing series on how to overcome the many difficulties accident prone, non-detail oriented people like myself have when first getting into shooting film. Who knows, this could help you even if you're a more methodical person.
Accidents do happen, after all! 



So I've been there. You think you have a 36 frame roll of film in the camera, and surprise! it was only a 24 frame roll! Turns out frame 26 didn't exist, and you hear the sickening snap of the emulsion tearing in two. Not to fear! This is fixable! 

A few things you're going to need to get your precious photos back in the canister:

  1. A film changing bag or a dark room & a completely opaque bag (when this happened to me, I didn't have a changing bag, so I used a backpack in a dark room).

  2. A bottle opener

  3. Scissors

  4. Acetate Tape (Scotch Tape)

So here's how this works:

*Go ahead and read through all the directions before you fumble around in the dark to do this*

First, put the whole camera into the changing bag, along with the bottle opener, scissors, and tape.

Second, open the back of the camera, and take out the canister. Pop the lid off of the canister with the bottle opener.
(Be careful to now bend the soft metal! It'll be a huge pain to get back on otherwise!)


Third, pull the spool out of the canister. Carefully feel around for the break. (Try to just hold it by the sprocket holes, don't want to ruin any exposed frames!)

Fourth, go ahead and cut straight across the film on both sides of the break so you have a nice, even place to tape it back together. 
Next of course, you'll go ahead and take a small piece of tape and connect the two sides. Just make sure it goes on evenly and doesn't hang out over the edge of the film.

*Alternatively, if you don't feel a break, the film might've come off from the tape on the spool.
If that's the case, wrap a piece of tape around the spool post, sticking it to both ends of the film.*

*So I didn't follow my own advice in the photos. Whoops*

Finally, slip the spool back into the canister. (It might take a few tries to get the film in through the little felt lined slot, but be patient and you'll get there.) Pop the lid back into the canister, feeling around the edges to make sure its on uniformly, then just slip it back into the camera. 
Go ahead push the rewind knob back into place and give it a few turns to make sure the tape holds.

Once you've done all that successfully, close the back up, and rewind the roll back into the canister....congratulations! You've fixed your mistake!
Go forth and conquer, you brave film photographer.

Wide Eyed in India: Pt. X


After many days of activity, this day of unwinding was thoroughly welcome. 

Cold showers & 30's jazz & a blessedly present breeze soothed my mind into quiet reflection.

I found myself in Hyderabad once more, in an apartment high enough up in the hills to catch a little of the breeze that proved so elusive in the lowlands. 

The neighborhood was one of the wealthiest in Hyderabad...which is to say that four story palaces found themselves competing with tiny, tarp-roofed shacks & apartment buildings for supremacy. 

Midday came with North Indian style Thali shared with my incredible host Sean at a nice place in the neighborhood...and even finished off the meal with a milkshake! ....Or....well...a scoop of ice cream in some milk. Basically the same thing I suppose. 

With rather more food than I was accustomed to in my belly, we headed out for an afternoon of right proper tourism at the seven tombs of the Mughal Dynasty that once ruled Hyderabad....

Along the way I befriended a really sweet family that timidly came up and asked for a photo...after a quick snap and a bit of conversation, we went our separate ways. It's a shame though, they seem to have forgotten to write me about it... 
Shortly after two rambunctious middle-schoolers proceeded to do the same thing, but with much less veiled enthusiasm!

I went back up into Sean's neighborhood for the latter half of the afternoon,
 ending up wandering until dusk; making portraits and taking pleasure in the simple act of moving. 

Wide Eyed in India: Pt. IX


My body was a husk.

I felt....light. Airy almost. Like I would blow away, chaff in the first gust of wind. 

Sickness takes its toll, regardless of how strong the will.

So I spent Friday healing. Not quite ill and not quite well.

Just relieved. 

The day wore into afternoon, and the sun's beams mixed with skeins of gypsy swing, pushing

their way into my limbs, itching for movement.  

Honks and shouts urged me on, and before I knew it my feet carried me out the door....

Wide Eyed in India: Pt. VIII

Woke with a pounding head that beat in time with the pulse of the city beyond. Quiet until afternoon, then we were off to the huge primary school the kids from the Ongole children's home attend, led by Sean, an affable natured, pale blue-eyed guy from California who runs CCH, a much larger children's home organization that Orphans First partners with. Naturally, our arrival caused sheer chaos at the school.... I think I shook hands with and heard the names of well over 100 kids, all eager to try out what they'd learned in their English lessons. 

I made my way through the open air classrooms, trying as hard as I could to remain discreet, and predictably failed utterly. The teachers kept admirable control over the kids with nary a raised voice, but classes still tended to grind to a halt whenever I walked by. After quite a bit of improvised communication primarily composed of halting words and hand gestures, I managed to get a few of the classes to ignore me as best they could....though one teacher just decided to let the kids have a photo-op instead. 

Shortly after all the Ongole children's home kids had been met, we drove back to home where the children lived to await their return once classes ended. The Ongole home was in a quiet little village perhaps an hour outside of the city proper, tended by a young couple with children of their own. 

Dusk turned into full dark as we made our goodbyes, sipping on gifted coconuts and sprite.

Enough adventure had been had for one hazy-headed day, so we made our way back to the noise and crowds of Ongole to flop into beds for the last time before the return to Hyderabad...

- To be continued -

Wide Eyed in India: Part VI

Woke to see the moon setting over the mountains. It mimics the sun here, setting amber and magenta, and leaving behind an ashy blue. I rubbed the weariness from my eyes and rose to film the Grace Home kids as they left for school... their friends called them famous, stars for sure. 

It's funny how each new photo I look at comes as a fresh surprise. I feel at times like an outsider looking in, each scene showing up in emulsion and pixel in a subtly different way, tugging at the seams of reality in a sense, and yet still truer than the warping of memory.

I think we as people don't want to admit that maybe, quite possibly, we aren't seeing things clearly That... if our view present is skewed, how much more variation from fact  must grow in the mind?
How will I see things, looking back upon these moments in time I've captured?
Will I remember....I mean truly remember? ...the smiles and the sighs, the aches in my head and the aches in my heart.. I feel as though I leave the part of myself that will best comprehend this adventure in India, perhaps never to return. 

Evening found us taking all 21 of the Guntur home kids to, ironically enough, Domino's Pizza.... which was right next to the town KFC. Globalization never ceases to amaze me. Anyways, great quantities of pizza were consumed (after being liberally coated in chili powder & hot sauce, of course), 

The evenings' success was lauded with celebratory toasts of orange soda and group photos of most of the group (missing a few key conspirators unfortunately).