Silent on the CVS Front

It’s been two weeks and two days since I dropped off my first roll of film at CVS in Methuen. No word from them yet. It’s long enough that my second roll of film is now within the 7-10 day window. It’s been eight days.

Pretty much guaranteed that I won’t be using CVS again. I’m going to have to start trying online labs. There is one in Maine and one in Portsmouth, NH. They both look promising and the shipping time will be nice and short. I have one roll of film sitting in my desk ready to go. I’ll hold on to it until I have another roll or two to develop and I’ll send them all off together. The Ebay camera is supposed to be here by the weekend, so I’m probably going to want to shoot a roll on that to test it out. The seller was iffy on the lens he/she is sending along with the camera body. If it’s bad, developing a roll of film will show that, and then I can wait for Santa to get a lens upgrade.

I need a less dumb hobby, don’t you think?

Unrelated note: There is a fly in here with me. It has the whole friggin’ cellar to bother but it’s hanging around near me and it’s driving me crazy. I turned off all of my desk lamps in the hopes it will go find other lights to circle, but it’s still hanging around me. Maybe it is drawn to the window? Maybe my monitor is brighter than each individual ceiling light? That’s doubful.

Either way, as soon as that sucker lands somewhere within reach, the little notebook sitting on my desk to my right and I are going to terminate it with extreme prejudice. Splat, bitch.

ADDENDUM: The fly has ended. The world is safe once again.

Getting Mad at CVS

When I dropped off the first roll of film at CVS (the grossly expired roll that Dad loaded 30+ years ago and I finished two weeks ago) I was told I’d get the results back in 7-10 days. That was 12 days ago.

I can’t seem to find any photo processing labs here in the Merrimack Valley so I’m starting to look into online services. I don’t want to, but I will if I have two. Come on, CVS. Get your ass in gear.

Also, twice this week I’ve told myself I was gonna go-a-thriftin’ at lunch time in the hopes of scoring a film SLR fer cheap, and twice I’ve just stayed home. Tomorrow. I mean it this time. Seriously.

How Did it Go

So based on the previous post you may know that I went to the beach this morning to shoot the sunrise with Dad’s camera. How did it go? Did I learn anything new?

Last night I checked the weather forecast for Hampton Beach, NH on It said the skies would be clear and the sunrise would be at 5:13am. The first part of that was accurate. The second part… not so much. The Dark Skies app said that sunrise in Methuen would be at 5:13. I wonder if somehow the app got confused and gave me local sunrise time instead of the time for the location I was viewing?

I got out of bed at 4:20 or so, which was 20 minutes later than I planned. I got dressed quick, grabbed my stuff, forgot the bottle of gatorade I put in the fridge last night, and hit the road. Waze was telling me I should get there with a few minutes to spare. It was almost right. There’s a draw bridge just before you enter the Hampton Beach area and the bridge went up just as I was getting to it. That plus the inaccurate sunrise time did it. I was late. The sun was breaking the horizon at about 9:10 or so, and I didn’t get down to the beach until a minute or so later.

It was also high tide, and my usual spot was both under water and crowded with people. In the post Covid world, a crowd of people is three. At least it is to me. I boogied down to the next beach entrance and had a nice spot all to myself. I took a few pics and then attempted some long exposure fun.

The most the camera can do is one second, but it also has a bulb mode where the shutter will stay open as long as you hold the shutter release down. Unfortunately for me, actually holding the thing down means the image will be shaky because my hands will be shaky. That’s why I bought a cheap little shutter release cable. You screw it onto the button on the camera, and then you can control the shutter without actually touching the camera. It also locks itself so you can push it, let go, wait for as long as you need, then release it.

I made one super dumb ass goof in this process. I tried three long exposures. About 30 seconds, about 15 seconds, and a ridiculous three minutes. Unfortunately, with the sound of the ocean a few feet away, the sound of the cable triggering sounds pretty similar to the camera triggering so after the first shot I didn’t notice that I forgot to advance the film. Same thing happened after the second shot. I only noticed the third time because I took the camera off the tripod and tried to use it normally. Sooooo I set it up again (after moving back a few feet, the tide was getting close to me) and did it right.

I finished the roll with some shots of the waves and the sun hitting the wet sand. I will be completely shocked if anything I did today looks decent, but I finished a roll of 24 and unloaded the camera without any problems, and setup a new roll (Kodak ColorPlus 200, 36 exposures) and I am ready for whatever is next. Probably pictures of the cat.

I think I am done with film projects for a while now. I’ve shot three rolls successfully, including the one that was in the camera when I took possession of it, and I haven’t seen a single image yet. Two rolls were dropped off at CVS and the third just went into the desk drawer that I use for photography stuff. This whole lack of instant feedback thing is actually stressing me out a little. If I had a digital camera with me today I’d already be posting the results. Now? Who the hell knows if I’ll ever get anything useable back?

Film man… film.


Dad’s camera has a bag of its own now.

The main pocket has the camera, the second lens, and a three pack of Fuji film. The front pocket has a little remote shutter cable that I found super cheap on Amazon and the ND filter I use with my Nikon. It doesn’t screw onto either of Dad’s lenses, but it does fit over them all snug like. I think it will be okay to use so long as there are no earthquakes.

The forecast for the coast at sunrise tomorrow calls for clear skies. If it stays that way, I am going. I am going and I am only bringing Dad’s camera. I’ll probably only use the 50mm lens, and I will only take a couple of cracks at long exposure, and I will only use the 24 shot roll that’s in the camera now. I just want to see how things look.

Last night I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on tips for film beginners. They all said don’t use drugstores like CVS to develop your film. I have been trying to get Google to tell me if I have any actual film labs in my area, but I don’t think I do. There is one in Methuen but their website says they no longer process film. I’m going to have to find an online service and ship to them. Or… I can just use CVS. I have two rolls there already (one will hopefully be coming back to me soon) so maybe I am just stuck with them.

I was also hoping to hit the Salvation Army store in Salem to see if they had any cameras on the cheap, but they are closed Sunday and tomorrow is a holiday. I think I will have to punt until next week. I also clearly remember going to a huge Goodwill (I think) store somewhere around here. It might be in Manchester. We donated the kids’ bikes there when we remodeled the garage. I just can’t remember exactly where it was, and Jen doesn’t remember it at all.

Google, my friend, don’t fail me now!

Photo Walk Redux

If you thought that I was going to post a summary of today’s film photography extravaganza before I had the film safely removed and ready to drop off at a developer then you’re just nuts.

I am knocking on every piece of wood in the house as I say this, but it went okay today… I think. Who knows? We won’t know until I get the actual photos back from wherever CVS sends them, but from what I can tell everything is okay.

I retraced most of yesterday’s steps. I didn’t go to Canobie Lake in Windham. I didn’t want to drive that far if it wasn’t a perfectly clear sky. Also, I was gun shy and didn’t want to go too far from home.

I started at the Methuen Rail Trail. I did not see any Canadian geese today, but I did see people. There was a couple out walking their dog, I waited in the car until they passed by, and another person walking away from me who was way in the distance. I went to that little bridge over the Spicket again. The river was perfectly calm and really low. This spot is within the bird sanctuary but I didn’t see any wildlife to speak of.

July 1st
Obligatory iPhone pic for the Flickr 365 album

I then went downtown. I took one picture of the sidewalk where the businesses have their signs hanging off the buildings and then bolted to the Spicket Falls Dam again. I took a bunch of pictures there. Probably too many. Today’s roll had 36 exposures (Kodak ColorPlus 36/200) and after 12 years with my Nikon D90 and a memory card that can hold over 2,100 full res images, the idea of having to limit myself is kind of hard to wrap my brain around.

After I finished with the dam I went back to the record store to try and get the sidewalk from the other direction. I made sure to get one of the big clock too because it’s me we’re talking about here.

Next I went back to the Tenney Castle site and took a bunch of pictures of what’s left of the courtyard. I took one of the long dead water fountain that I think might have a blurry background. Fingers crossed on that, right?

This was the end of the picture taking as I ran out of film. I went back to the car, holding my breath the whole way. The next step is to unload the camera and that’s where my stupidity turned everything to cow shit yesterday. Picture me walking on eggshells, spiritually speaking (or some shit like that).

I made one other stop before I went home. I saw a flyer online a few days ago for a July 4th event where the Methuen Historical Society (I think) is going to read the Declaration of Independence at the oldest burial site in the city. I went to that site to see if it might be a good place for some pictures, but it’s fenced in and locked up. It looks like there might have even been barbed wire at some point. Yikes.

So back home I went. I left at 5:33 and got home at 6:25. Out of pure paranoia, I did all of my morning routine stuff before sitting down to try and unload the camera. Once that was out of the way I came downstairs to my desk and took care of things. As I mentioned yesterday, there is no way I will ever unload the camera again without having the manual open in front of me (yes, this is an exaggeration in the long term, but I sure as hell had that puppy open today). I read through the steps and did it. No issues that I know of. I have a little zip lock baggy in one of my desk drawers that holds finished rolls. It’s the only roll in the bag right now. I then took the third and final roll from my Walgreens experience last weekend and loaded it up. The camera is good to go.

Sigh of relief. No signs of any mechanical failures. If anything goes wrong from this point it’s because I suck at photography, not because I did something stupid or because there is something wrong with the camera. Sigh of relief indeed.

I actually need to get my pantoprazole prescription refilled (for the final time ever, I hope) so when I go to CVS to pick that up I can also drop off the film. Seems like a decent deal.

Okay, the photography experience for today has come to a close. Time to make a protein shake and walk for half an hour while watching The Umbrella Academy. Bye for now, oh my readers and only friends.

One More Try

I am going to try again tomorrow. There are clouds in the forecast, but only partly. This will be the third time I try this shit and if something goes wrong this time I’m going to put a pin in it for a bit. My goal is to shoot film in Disney in January and I am just trying to see if I can get the camera to work correctly and also see if the photos come out okay. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

I have a roll of 36 exposures at 200 speed in the camera right now. Let’s see if I can’t use some of that up while hitting my favorite places in the city. Yeah, let’s do it. And screw you to the universe if anything breaks down again, even if it is my fault like it was today. I am a moron.

Sunrise is at 5:12am tomorrow. Let’s do this thing!

Fail City

What a waste

The sun came up at 5:10am today. I was out of the house at 5:05 and heading to Greycourt Park to see if I could take some first-hour-of-sunlight pics of the castle courtyard up on top of the big hill. I got there just after the sun came up and there were already people there. What the hell? No covid exposures for me. I didn’t even stop the car.

Next I headed for a public parking lot in our tiny little downtown. You know, the place with the clock that I post pictures of 100 times a day (be patient, there’s one coming)? It was full. Oh, come on. I could have parked in a business parking lot. There is exactly one of those. No, I was annoyed. I left.

I headed for Walnut Grove cemetery and it’s 1800’s family monuments. There was no one there, which is normal in my tiny bit of experience. I got out. Took a few pictures. That’s when it turned into the epic fail.

I had a roll of 24 exposures. I was on shot #12, I think. The camera wouldn’t wind. At first the mechanism felt stuck, and then it felt like there was nothing there. No resistance from the film moving along the track at all. Safe to assume the film is off the track again? How could that be? Everything was working fine? It was wrapped around the spool and everything was good?

To hell with it. I got back into the car and tried winding the film back into the canister. Yeah, I’ll waste half a roll, but maybe I can salvage a few pictures. Remember the first few were already burned when I fixed the roll the first time. Rolling back up was difficult though. Was it difficult the other day? I don’t remember. I feel like it was fighting me the whole time, but eventually it finished.

I am pretty pissed off. My first try at this and everything fucks up. I’ll try again, but I am not pleased with this situation at all.

I took one picture with my phone while I was driving around, just so I would have something for my photo a day thing on Flickr. Here it is. Blah fucking blah.

At least I was able to stop at the gas station and top off the Kia’s tank so Jen won’t have to worry about it when she drives to the office today. That’s me looking at the bright side and shit.