My Little Road Trip by Illya Reddy

My Little Road Trip

by Illya Reddy

I’ve never been film lover neither film hater. I just couldn’t understand why people spend extra time and cash for it. I loved digital and didn’t want to complicate my photography by using film. But everything has changed…

This summer I’ve had kind of a working road trip – a very small one. During this trip I’ve visited Oleksandriya park in Bila Tserkwa and some villages near Kanyvske reservoir (about 60 miles from Kiev). The gear I took there was rather unnatural for me: just film P&S with some Agfa and Polaroid film.

The camera is Olympus superzoom 105g, which actually belongs to my mom. Nice, simple automatic camera. Although lens is quite blurry towards the edges, it doesn’t bother me. I never use the zoom, just shoot at its widest FL 38mm. Plus it has got built-in flash, so I started experimenting with flash photography.

The feeling of a cheap-cheap plastic camera is not as bad as I expected it to be. In fact, it turned out to be stimulating, less concentrated on camera itself. You don’t think about your camera at all. You are not afraid to drop it or lose; you can take it wherever you go even in the roughest places.

First two images were taken in Oleksandriya park – what a nice place! I highly recommend it to everyone, who visits Ukraine. Great place to shoot also. People are walking, sitting on the ground, feeding swans and ducks, kids are playing… I just walked and took pictures – it was a great day.

This picture (above) was taken in Rghyshchiv village on a local football match. Couple just came to watch the game and drink some beer with fish. Very friendly people, but don’t like to be photographed, unfortunately. The below ones were taken in Balyko-Shchuchenka village during another local match. This time it was volleyball. These kids came on their bicycles just to hang around. We talked a little, than I drag raced on bicycles with one of them. I lost, obviously 🙂


 The picture above is my favorite one. This little guy looks like a real biker sitting on his Harley. The life in villages is pretty hard actually, even kids work a lot, and on this picture he doesn’t look like a child.

Bottom line

During this trip I met my new love – film. Photography started to feel different for me. No big changes, just different feeling – taking shots you never know which ones are good. You have to wait. This is so relaxing. And then, when you look on the negatives or slides or index-prints or whatever, it turns out to be better than you expected, or otherwise… Photography started to be less virtual, more real. When you hold negatives in your hands, scanning them, it feels more like an art for me.

Thanks for reading this small post about little trip, and thank you, Steve, for letting me share my thoughts on your website!

Feel free to visit my flickr page:


  1. Like every post regarding film photography!!

    Thanks for sharing your story and photos here.

    It takes some time to get my films developed & scanned,

    but taking film photos brings so much joy in my life.

    cheers, 🙂

  2. Whatever the tool, I think that Illya is very capable to catch very personnal views of what is surrounding her

    her first trial with film is not better or worst than her previous pictures, just different… and sorry jluc if some of her digital shots didnot catch me as some of her snapshots with the olympus…

    Thanks Andrey, Ivan, James to’ve brought your “brick” to this wall which is about pictures not tools, I guess… Special thanks to James for his “sharp” portrait of so many today photographers -including me unfortunatly- 😉

    My old Nikon ED slides scanner has just died recently and, frankly, it was a very very bad day.

    Happy photography to all


  3. A very interesting read!

    13 years ago I took a gap year travelling, taking only an old Pentax K1000 and a short zoom I picked up at cheaply art college. I never once worried about it being stolen or damaged by the (often harsh) elements, and it never let me down.

    Skip to 2012, and I find myself on a snowboard holiday with nigh on ten different cameras acquired in the interim (film and digital, SLRs and compacts), chargers, bags… always wondering which one to take out, worrying about damaging them, basically losing sight of what’s important; taking pictures! I’d learned a lesson by the end of the week, by which time I was using just one camera, my little ’69 Olympus Trip P&S film camera. The best photos of the week came from this.

    There really is nothing like film. I’m certainly not anti-digital and believe much can be learned and transferred from one discipline to the other, but I agree entirely that there’s a buzz to be had from developing, waiting to see your images, happy accidents and shots that are far better than you imagined they might be! The tangible nature of it can’t be beaten. Plus you don’t have 500+ terrible photos to sift through which you’ve taken just because you could.

    Last winter I bought a negative scanner and have since loved scanning old (and new) film. I’ve been amazed by how much more information can be retrieved from even poorly exposed negatives than I ever imagined possible. Many photos I threw out back in the day are now being seen in a new way.

    Long live film… and trusty point-and-shoot cameras!

    Thanks for taking the time to write the article.


  4. I think this is a refreshing little article and thanks for sharing your pictures and toughts!

    I have had an M6 in 6 months now after 6-7 absense of film-shooting, and I just love it. Also got an M9, and to have a similar camera for film makes it easy. The same lenses and rangefinder.

    I also think the kid on his cycle is the best of the lot, you captured a great moment there 🙂

    PS: I just bought alot of types of film from eBay, and just love it. I’ll also want to write about my experience with the different fil-types on my website/blog.


  5. Just bought myself a as new in box, Canon Autoboy 2 point and shoot, only accepts 400 AA film, so a bit disappointing if you want high speed BW, then again it cost me £1.00 which is what 60 cent?

  6. Спасибо Illya,

    Спасибо for this little trip in Ukraine, it reminds me an other one I did in yugoslavia before the war with a Canon F1 and film of course…
    I never quit film but do appreciate the incredible possibilities of digital photo. But films (slide or print) have a charm, a substance, a slow maturation before you can enjoy it that make them so special to me… or maybe it is just nostalgia ? For sure processing film is costly but digital is so much about electronic obsolescence and hours waisted behind a computer.

    Take your mama camera again and bring us some other little trips.
    До свидания – Cameleo (France)

  7. Great shots, Illya! Doesn’t matter film or digital, great phoos anyway. But if you are inspired now and ready to go further with film, I recommend you shooting something with good lens and bw film.

      • Yep. It is pretty easy after some practice. But for the novice devloping film is the mystery. So many factors and so many chances to get different results with one camera,film and developer. Little changes in temperature, agitation style can bring you interesting results.
        And to be honest, it is impossible to get bw “film look” on digital. Silver efex2 is close, but the one who ever shot film, will notice the huge difference in tones.
        Pretty bad that I cant fix my broken film Nikon, I have zeiss 50|1.4 lens for it, which is very good for bw film

  8. I’m sorry to say that, but your pictures are better when you use digital camera (in your flikr)… the boy and the bike is heat, others are very common without dust and scratches.
    Nostalgy with gears and film don’t make better pictures, I’m sure of that…

  9. I just got a Leica MP after going 8 years without shooting film! It’s going to be strictly B&W film cam (well almost maybe), develop it myself thanks to tips from Prosophos (Peter)! All manual + film is a blast! Doesn’t replace digital but it is an experience!

      • Illya,

        I really liked the pic of the cow. Something quite distinct from the norm.

        As a long-time film user doing my own b/w developing and printing, I can tell you nothing will beat the anticipation and excitement of developing your very first film and opening the tank to see those negatives.

  10. Lovely article, and it’s so refreshing to see some memorable photographs which’ll be with you forever, those memories have been recorded and you enjoyed it, no worries about bits, pixels, ‘sharpness’ and resolution, just good old fashioned snap shots and they have so much character and charm!

    To be honest, I’ve got to the stage where I KNOW what shot I’ll be getting, how it’ll look like and can craft what I like with shooting Film, I don’t need an LCD screen.

    Which Films did you use?

    • Thanks for kind words, Ibraar! I bet you have huge experience in analog photography, I hope sometime I’ll get to this stage too.

      I do not have any preferences in film. Partly because I am newbie and partly because I scan it using my digital camera and then convert negative to positive using Curves, so it is quite difficult to get special look of particular kind of film (for example Polaroid film, that i used for some shots supposed to give pictures with cold colors, but it does not). So I use the cheapest film I can find. In this case it was Agfa vista 100 and Polaroid 100 film (70 cents per roll for out-to-date film).

      By the way, it’d be great if you recommend me some good and cheap monochrome film (C-41).


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