If you're familiar with film photography and want to try something a bit out-of-the-ordinary then you've come to the right place! Photographer and community member Kate Smith had been wanting to try out the Sprocket Rocket for a while and finally took the plunge this year. She talked to us about shooting her first roll of film with this camera and shared some tips in making the most of going wide and long.
Hello Kate please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Kate Smith, and I'm extremely passionate about film photography! I live in Fareham on the south coast of England with my fiance Matt who also loves photography. It's great sharing a hobby as we go out on photo walks together a lot, and it's always interesting seeing the different shots we take on the same walk.
I grew up in the '90s and early 00's when digital was taking over, but I think using a film camera when I was a child and being surrounded by cameras in the house really instilled the love for film. It's what I learned with, and what I later studied the basics with. Studying it at college helped me understand the science of it all, and studying Photographic Art at University showed me a whole new side of photography I'd never really known. That photography can be an art form, and it doesn't matter what camera you use sometimes, as long as you love the results.
And finally, I have my Dad to thank for my love of photography. He's worked in the same photography shop for my entire life, so you could say photography is in my blood. My parents now own that shop, and I'm lucky enough to work in it with them! It's an extremely fulfilling job. Photos are a wonderful thing that can stir up many emotions, and being able to see and hear people's stories all day is super rewarding.
Tell us, what was the appeal of the Sprocket Rocket camera?
It just looked fun! I've used the fisheye camera before, and recently the Holga 120N, and I just enjoy using plastic cameras in addition to my SLR. They're so light and easy to carry around and the lenses are surprisingly sharp. The Sprocket Rocket was something I'd seen a lot of photos from online, and I'd been lusting after it for a while. I like to play and experiment with different cameras, so I knew I'd enjoy using it.
What did you decide to shoot for your first roll?
For the film, I shot a roll of old faithful Lomography Color Negative 400. A film that has never once let me down. I love how punchy and saturated it looks, and it is always on my shelf. As for the subject, I first took it to a nature reserve to get some big landscapes, and then took it on a few photo walks to capture anything I thought would look interesting shot through the camera.
How did you find the results?
I LOVE THEM! So far that roll of Lomo 400 is the only roll I've shot through it, but I am pretty damn in love with the results. I definitely found my groove with it about halfway through the roll, really trying to push the capabilities of the camera. I began with some landscapes at a local nature reserve, but then took it with me on a few other walks with my other cameras and really went for it. I got up close to some subjects to test its close-up focus, and really tried to make the most of the panoramic aspect ratio. Sometimes I struggled to "think" in panoramic, but once I got into it, it was a really fun challenge. My favorite shot changes every time I look through the photos, but the ones that really stand out to me are the cars, the long building with the brilliant cloudy blue sky behind, and the dandelions in the grass.
Any tips and tricks for another wanting to shoot with this camera?
As the camera has very limited settings, I'd suggest using a film you're already confident in using. I found that using Lomo 400, a film I've used many times, took away a lot of the anxiety of if a shot would come out or not. Also, use the viewfinder a lot! It was great having the wide-angle panoramic viewfinder to help see the world in panorama, and compose in an unfamiliar aspect ratio. And finally, just stick a roll in it, and take it everywhere with you. You never know when a perfect Sprocket Rocket shot will present itself! For example, the dandelions in the grass shot that I love was on a grassy area next to a super busy road!
To see more of Kate's work, visit her Instagram page..