Kassondra Cloos

Kassondra Cloos

Associate Editor of SNEWS / Freelance writer & editor / Co-founder of Adventures in Wikipedia / Boulder, Colorado

Want to be a photographer? Start with film

Want to be a photographer? Start with film

For the past three months, I’ve brought a seriously old-school film camera along for pretty much every adventure. I’m a photographer-in-training, fighting the urge to snap seven different photos of the same scene in hopes that one of them will be amazing.

Strangers on snowshoes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

I took photojournalism in college, so I know the basics of the triangle of exposure and the rules of composition. But where I have really practiced my photography up until now is on my cell phone, where I can take a hundred different variations of the same image until I run out of space.

You can scroll through my Instagram and see that I’ve improved, substantially, in just the past year, but aiming a tiny screen at gorgeous, looming mountains does no good. Even the most sophisticated iPhone can’t capture the height and depth of mountains so far away.

Grand Teton National Park on a foggy day, Jackson, Wyoming. 

So, a few months ago, I asked my professional photographer boyfriend to teach me. He said I could borrow his 1970s Olympus, and I ordered some film.

The grain was too much for me at first, and I felt disappointed when I picked up the first two rolls of Havasupai photos, transferred to CDs, and my photos looked like they could have been taken before I was born. “#embracethegrain,” I tagged them on Instagram.

The Grand Canyon from just below the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead. 

But now I love the retro look and can't get enough of it. There is certainly some magic in waiting for your photos and discovering a few true gems you never could have expected.

Where's Waldo (the zebra)? Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, Rhode Island.

Mooney Falls, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona.

Somewhere near Leadville, Colorado.

In defense of road maps

In defense of road maps

Sudden sand dune sunset

Sudden sand dune sunset