35mm Photo Diary: Porto on Film

Three days in Porto, captured on film.

Its easy to fall in love with Porto, a coastal city with pretty tiled buildings, terracotta roofs and steep, winding streets. Porto has a rich history dating back to Roman times. Through the years the city has been a major trading port with an important role in European affairs. In the 15th century it was one of the greatest ship building centers in Portugal. You can almost feel the history as you walk around, you can certainly see it reflected in the beautiful architecture. It seemed quite fitting to shoot Porto on film.

We visited Porto in January, which is off season but it was actually a lovely time to go as it was so peaceful. The weather was really mild and the winter sun shone every day. We grabbed a light jacket and our 35mm cameras and went off to explore the streets, walking for hours every day. Stopping off for the odd coffee and pastel de nata of course.

Porto lies along the Douro River about 2 miles (3 km) from the river’s mouth on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s Portugal’s second largest city and is world famous for its port wine (which by the way is delicious – and not at all like the port you associate with your nan). Below are some of my favourite images from our three day trip.

Porto on Film: All photographs shot on Pentax ME Super using Portra 400


Shooting on Something Special

I am fairly new to film photography and this trip was the first holiday I took my new (old) Pentax on. There is a story behind my 35mm camera…After telling my Dad that I wanted to have a go at anologue photography he dug out me his old Pentax ME Super and handed it down to me. In the 1980’s my dad was the medic on a scientific research trip to Antarctica, this was the camera he took with him. It’s a wonderful thing to be learning about film by using a camera with a personal history to my family. Every time I pick up my Pentax I picture my dad’s adventures with it. Now it’s coming with me on mine!

Film Isn’t Dead

I’ve been really enjoying experimenting with shooting on film. There is something about the slowness of the process which I find so rewarding. As a result of working with a limited number of shots (24 or 36 to a roll) I find myself being much more selective of what I capture. I take longer to set up an image, frame it and ask myself, why am I taking this photograph? With digital photography it’s easy to take hundreds of pictures and inevitably you’ll have a handful of useable images in there. Film is different. It’s slower, more considered.

I have to tell you the truth – I shot two rolls of film in Porto but sadly one of them came blank. I knew it was going to be blank as soon as I wound the film back and there was no tension at all. Though I still sort of hoped there would be somthing on it but it wasnt it to be. Never mind, it’s a lesson learned and I am really happy with the images I did get back. I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I do, I like to think they capture the essence of Porto. Feedback, good and bad, is most welcome. I am here to learn.

Ps. If you get a chance to go to Porto please go, it’s wonderful.

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