I've had several nice comments and emails about the photos in this blog. Thank you all, but I will tell you the real secret, a tip that two professional photographers told me is the secret to their success: Film is cheap. Don't just take one photo, take five or six or more. Then when you show your photos, only show your best.
I've tried to follow this guideline over the years, and it's stood up well, but back when I was using 35mm, it was expensive. Oh, not the film -- film really is cheap -- but the film processing and printing adds up. (Example: I took four rolls of film during a recent trip. The cost for processing [double prints and photos on CD] was a little over $38.) With my digital camera, processing costs have dropped dramatically. Not because it's any cheaper to print a photo, but because I don't print the unsatisfactory ones.
Another trick that digital cameras and computers have made easier is cropping. My HP camera is 3.3 megapizel, which allows me to crop out distracting or ugly elements and still have a decent print size. You can do that with 35mm in a photography lab, too, but only professionals have their own labs. (I did it in college.)
I still use 35mm for a few reasons. Because my digital isn't the top end, it cannot capture action well. And 35mm prints have a sharpness and depth that my digital camera cannot capture. The 35mm is best in low light conditions. And finally 35mm prints, for the most part, still last longer than ones printed in a printer, although Epson and HP are addressing this issue with new inks and special paper.
The other day I looked at a high-end digital camera and a few of the prints it produced. Impressive. And it should be for $2,000. Still the features on the high-end cameras will make their way to the lower priced ones. Maybe someday soon, I will finally put my 35mm camera up in the closet for good. But not yet