I love my WLF… There, I said it.

I love Waist-Level Finders.

I spent nearly $300 on this one, a DW-3 finder, for my Nikon F3.

Now, I love shooting film, hence the blog and branding, but I really love shooting film on my F3.

The experience is sublime to me, and in many ways, as good as a therapy session (although I can attest to the fact that therapy is generally much cheaper than film photography). Nonetheless, I enjoy both as often as I possibly can.

Now, back to this DW-3 finder.

It’s amazing.

It’s magnificent, and it makes my shooting experience so much more difficult, more cumbersome… and more enjoyable.

When I had my Hasselblad, I always used the WLF — always — for everything.

Although I have a great prism for my F3, I can’t imagine the DW-3 ever leaving the F3, or at least not for long.

Sure, I can’t utilize the meter with the DW-3, which means I have to go old school with the light meter.

Sure, it’s probably harder to nail pinpoint focus, and this viewfinder, unlike the 500cm, is really tiny, and one can struggle to see through it in dimly lit scenes.

But I don’t care… it’s fun.

It’s awesome.

It’s cool.

And let’s face it, looking at that potential image through the ground glass is a crazy-cool experience.

And yes, it’s a crazy amount of money for a viewfinder, especially when the camera may only be worth $500, but I shoot film because I enjoy the process, every facet of it.

Every facet of the process, including the WLF experience.

And yes also to the fact that it’s not a practical accessory for a 35mm camera.

I don’t care about that, either. I just love it, and shooting film, for me, is entirely about love.


The One Question Everyone Asks…

It wouldn’t be a film photography blog if I didn’t answer this question:

Why do I I shoot film?

Am I right?

Every single film blog seems to, at some point and time, address this issue.

Honestly, after reading through more than my fair share of film photography blogs, some good and some not-so-good, I’ve come to the conclusion that every single plausible explanation has been covered.

“It slows me down,” “It makes me pay attention to every frame,” “There’s a look you can’t get with digital…” “ I love the process…” and the list goes on and on.

And in short, Yes. Yes. And yes again to all these things.

They’re all true, but honestly, the reason I shoot film is simply because I enjoy it.

I don’t really know if I know exactly why, but I just do.

I also love the culture surrounding film… you simply don’t get this with digital photographers.

There’s a certain passion amongst the film-shooting community and a willingness to share that passion with others, too.

I think part of it is because there is such a wide variety of cameras and lenses and film stocks.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot to discuss with like-minded filmophiles.

And this doesn’t even touch upon what goes on during processing and printing in the darkroom.

That’s an entirely difference conversation (we will cover this at a later date).

Back to the culture and community aspect.

I’ve bought, sold, repaired, traded, and found amazing film cameras and lenses at thrift shops, online and at garage sales.

I’ve had wonderful conversations with folks about the advantage of entirely mechanical cameras compared to those with electric components.

I’ve debated the merits of rangefinders verses SLRs, and the joy and frustration of shooting medium format film.

And then there’s that rush that comes with discovering the images after seeing them travel across the country in some cases, to the lab. There’s a certain anticipation that comes along with this process that can’t be replicated on a digital camera.

Of course, there is that very pleasing and wonderful look to film that’s hard to dismiss.

There’s the smell of the film also, just as you open the case and let the odor wash over you. I swear that is addictive stuff.

So, why do I shoot film?

It’s all the things all the other film photography blogs talk about and one more component for me…

It’s the people, the culture, the community.

It’s my hope this site will become somewhat of a hub for all of you.

It’s my hope this site will become a source of information, education, entertainment and a conversation.

Whether it does or doesn’t…. we’re going to give it a go.

Welcome to John Shoots Film – It’s your blog

leica-m4-2-1John Shoots Film is a blog about photography, particularly film photography and the wonderful and timeless machines used for decades to capture some of the most iconic images in history and images in your own backyard.

As the blog evolves, it’ll be filled with how-to’s, gear reviews, and busines advice. It’ll be loaded with relatable content for film lovers and film shooters alike. Guest columnists and links to other informative and wonderful information will also be the norm at John Shoots Film.

I have a passion for photography, a love for creating an image, preserving a moment, capturing a memory in midair. It’s a stunning and beautiful thing to be able to do, and I am blessed for the ability.

It’s an interactive site as well. One where comments, suggestions, submissions and input from you, fellow photography lovers, is encouraged. It’s a site where we all learn together, grow together, become better photographers together.

I am a photographer, a freezer of time — this is not only what I do, it’s what I am.