The Travelling Canon AF35 Project - Custodian #1 - Gavin Wares / by Michael Rennie

Gavin Wares

Gavin Wares

This little chunk of late late 20th century goodness is travelling the world, to allow as many people as possible to experience it's simple charms. 

No...... I'm not talking about Gavin, considerable as his charms may be, he's not my type! The Canon AF35 Sprint has begun it's trip and Gavin is custodian number one!

Each custodian is charged with shoot one 36 exposure roll of 400 ISO film as provided by the previous custodian, enjoying the ability to concentrate on composition and timing unencumbered by things such as 'settings' and 'knobs to twiddle'.

Gavin is an old friend and great photographer and I'm excited to see what he'll do with his photography in the future. Here are his thoughts on the Canon and his favourite 3 photos from his single 36 exposure roll of Kodak Porta 400.


When I heard about Mikes travelling camera project it was instantly something I wanted to get involved with.  Mikes photography has inspired me on many occasions and the way his interest in photography has grown into an obsession is similar to my own.

I’ve always been interested in photography without fully understanding how complex it can be.  I got into photography more seriously around 4 years ago when I invested in a Fujifilm X-m1 mirrorless as my first serious camera. There has been progress since then and probably beneficial learning on a digital camera; I hate to think how much money I’d have wasted on film in the early stages. In March earlier this year one of Mike’s earlier blogs “Why shoot Film” inspired me to try something new and experiment with film for the first time. I bought a cheap Fujica ST605 from eBay offering a fully manual “new” toy, the idea being by learning how to use it would improve my photography all round. I’m still not sure I’m a full convert to film over digital but I fully appreciate the romance, excitement, raw quality and character that film provides. The Travelling Camera Project caught my imagination as way to further experiment with film and be part of the cameras creative journey.

The travelling Canon AF35J/SPRINT arrived sooner than expected, as it turned out I was the first recipient. The first thing I was struck with when using the camera was the simplicity and lack of control. The cameras simplicity gives you a sense of a leap into the unknown. It’s an odd feeling using a film camera for the first time, there’s no way to review the results until you’ve seen the film developed some time later. With this project even once you’ve learnt how the film behaves after the first roll it’s already too late, the camera is on the move and you’ve got to hope that you’ve managed to capture at least three decent images.

When using any film you have an added sense of value every time you press the shutter, you’ve got to make the limited number of frames count and this project only served to increase that feeling.  

As Mike explained in his original post the focus on the Sprint is a little tricky to gauge as the half depress doesn’t offer much feedback. That said I only missed a few and they were in slightly more difficult light conditions and after I’d had a few beers. I found that the best results were in brighter conditions and semi frustratingly I was let down by the results of some portrait shots I tried to experiment with. I had high hopes for those as it was a beautiful light but the sprint fell short.

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One of the things I enjoyed about the simplicity of the camera was how much it allowed me to concentrate on composition, when you’ve got no other settings to get distracted by getting a balanced composition becomes the primary goal. 

Overall I had fun with the wee camera, I’m happy with a number of the photos in particular the colour in the three I’ve selected. I've certainly enjoyed being part of this project and the first stop on the cameras journey. I’ll be watching eagerly to the see what others produce knowing how each depression of the shutter feels like a bit of a shot in the dark.