New Projects

BW36 #2

I decided it was high time I challenged myself to another BW36 project. It’s over two years since I completed my last – that tells you how traumatic it was at the time – and I’m feeling brave enough to take it on again! My circumstances have changed a little since last time, which will make the project a little easier on me.

Last time I did a BW36 I only had two DSLRs; a Nikon D800 and an infrared Nikon D3000. Consequently, for the duration of the project, and owing to the constraints of the project, I could only shoot in black and white or infrared and I was unable to shoot colour, nor in fact anything but at 50mm, until the project was concluded. Today I have, and actively use, four DSLRs. When I first purchased my shiny new Zenit-E 35mm SLR with its peculiar 50mm M42 screw-in lens, despite much enthusiasm for the medium, I sometimes went weeks or months without finishing a roll of film, mostly owing to financial constraints at the time.

Today, though, across my selection of DSLRs it would be unusual for me to shoot less than 36 images in a single day. Today my photography is prolific (and my keeper rate is low). When I started out with my hobby it was certainly not prolific. Access to multiple other DSLRs while concurrently using my D800 and 50mm for this project will lean my results more towards my rate of photography (specifically B&W at 50mm) of old. I can still, at the same time, shoot wildlife with my D7200 or shoot video or macro with my D5300, and I can shoot my Infrared stuff with my D3000.

You can legitimately argue that this makes my BW36 #2 project too easy; just take what suits, when it suits. But that was what I did with my Zenit-E, and which is precisely why it sometimes took weeks and months to finish a roll. I didn’t have access to a 150-600mm, or a 105mm macro, or any form of video camera. Those are, and would then have been, completely different pastimes, alien to the 16-year-old me.

The only alternative today would be to stop all other types of photography during the project and, for me, that would run counter to the entire premise and purpose of taking on any kind of photography project or assignment. I’m happy to assign my D800 and 50mm to a simulated film project, and if it sits in my camera bag for weeks on end without being used, then that will mirror my photography at 16 years old.

I’m just beginning the BW36 #2 project and don’t anticipate it being finished for a while. Watch this space for when it’s completed and is published. 🙂


In discussing this latest iteration of the BW36 project with Glenn, he asked if I intended to limit ISO to a single setting. This set me off thinking, and so I’ve decided that I will choose a film stock and shoot according to its parameters. At the same time I decided that I will also shoot manual focus for the project. My first Nikon, the F301, was manual focus, as were all of my cameras that preceded it. I didn’t shoot autofocus until I bought the Nikon F4s around 2001.

And so, in conclusion…

August has been an intense month of contemplation for me, and in most real-world respects I’m glad that I’m clear of it. Though there’s little to show photographically for August, it has been pretty industrious in my head. I hope that good things will manifest in the new projects I’m starting.

Fingers crossed! 🙂