Guest Post: Instant Gratification

Guest Post: Instant Gratification

SX-70, Sun 660, expired type 779, Orange County, CA.


Today’s guest post is by Stephanie Watkins. Stephanie has a creative eye and an artist spirit and it shows though in her work. I met Steph through her husband Nate, who you can see lurking in the back of my latest Vlog post (vlog #6).  Her Polaroid work is stunning and I wanted to give it a platform. I miss film and have found digital lacking something tactile in it. Enjoy these images and welcome Stephanie to the Digital Trekker.

My love affair with photography started four years ago when I bought my first DSLR. I was obsessed with my dreamy new camera and could not put it down. And as any new photographer usually does, my camera stayed on the ‘green box’ and I shot mostly flowers and my parent’s dogs.  With the combination of many long nights spent on Flickr and frequent trips to the local camera store, I became aware of another side of photography, some weird thing called ‘analogue’ and ‘film.’ Now film itself was not something all together foreign to me, but in this digital age, I did not see it as anything of importance. Who needed film or a medium format camera when I had a DSLR? Mind you, I had no idea how to properly use the camera, but I had it, and that’s all that mattered. Little did I know that I also had another camera back in my closest that would   end up changing by life and the way I viewed art and photography as a whole.

Someone had given me a brand new Polaroid Onestep a while back. It was a great novelty gift, but I really did not think much about it. But after playing around with my DSLR, I became more intrigued by my Polaroid camera and started using it. The more I used it, the more I discovered a whole other world of photography. That Onestep was my gateway drug to more analogue cameras. I soon became obsessed! I bought old Polaroid Land Cameras, SX-70 cameras, medium format cameras, and even plastic cameras, anything that took film I wanted. And the more I worked with film, the more I learned about photography in general. Thanks to film speed, I quickly understood the importance of ISO. And thanks to many ruined rolls of film, I figured out shutter speed and aperture too. Film rounded me as a photographer and made me more of an artist. The more Polaroids I took and the more rolls of film I developed, my breadth of understanding and love of photography grew and grew.

There is something so wonderful and special about film photography. Maybe it’s the fact that every picture you take really means something. Film is so expensive these days, so you take your shots carefully. Maybe it’s the wonder of holding a tangible Polaroid picture that developed right before your eyes. It’s instant gratification. Or maybe it’s the magic of peeling apart some pack film to see an image that looks even better then the real thing. Over the past few years, my relationship with photography has changed and grown in so many ways and has taken me all over the world. Yes, I still use digital and have even upgraded my gear. But using and working with film, will always have a very special place in my heart and will keep my love affair with photography burning strong.

See more of Stephanie Watkins work at her flickr stream HERE.


Land Camera 103, expired ID-UV from ’06, along highway 10, CA.


Countdown 70, expired ID-UV from ’02, Cabazon, CA.


Land Camera 440, expired type 689, Lone Pine, CA.

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About The Author

Stephanie Watkins

Vegan blogger photographer and educator. My husband and I have been replanted overseas. I was born and raised in sunny California and now live in Penang, Malaysia. This is where I write, cook, and photograph my way through life in South East Asia. I love taking pictures and eating an animal-free and plant based diet.


  1. Snaptastic

    “Thanks to film speed, I quickly understood the importance of ISO. And thanks to many ruined rolls of film, I figured out shutter speed and aperture too.””Film is so expensive these days, so you take your shots carefully.”At this point in this article I wanted to scream “NO!” I’ve just put my first roll of film through a Yashica rangefinder, after owning a DSLR for 3 years. Every photo was correctly exposed, in focus, and had the depth of field that I intended. Why? Because I practised on the digital camera first. You shouldn’t have to run the risk of wasting expensive film and learning the hard way when you own a digital camera. That’s the whole point of digital. Experimentation without expense.You don’t learn the importance of ISO by taking 36 exposures at the same ISO value, then waiting for processing to see the results. You learn it by taking photos, changing the ISO value and seeing what effect it has on the photos.Otherwise, I agree with the article – and it’s a good article:”There is something so wonderful and special about film photography. Maybe it’s the fact that every picture you take really means something.”That’s really true – I’ve fallen in love with film and will continue to shoot film (alongside my DSLR).

    • Matt Brandon


      We all have different stories about how we’ve learned a lesson. Some have happy endings, some don’t, some are costly and some are not. Relax and admire her journey and honesty and certainly her art.

      • Snaptastic

        Sorry if that came out too negative, but I think I should be able to voice an opposing opinion without causing too much offence. I would hate to see someone get the idea that you have to “do the hard miles” on film to learn photography. And I do admire her photography – it’s fantastic. As I said, it was a good article.

        PS Who’s Rory? 🙂

        • Matt Brandon

          Snaptastic – My bad. I saw a Rory in your email address. Took a chance. As to your response. Maybe I am just hyper sensitive. Readers, for what every reason, seem to eat my guest blogger for lunch. Thanks

  2. kerryspixel

    I love the 1960’s era vibe here….

  3. Erin Wilson

    I love how Stephanie has paired up her subjects with the medium.  Adds so much to the story to see fun campy/vintage/classic scenes shown on expired film.  I like.


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