Ten years in the waiting to see a photo

Can you Imagine these days waiting nearly 10 years to see a photo you took? In this instant digital age, that seems incredulous!

Well that’s exactly what happened to me. 

In 2013 we went on a grand tour of West Coast America (remember how easy travel was in those days?!), visiting Vancouver (ok, Canada as well), Seattle, Alaska, San Francisco and Portland. As a keen photographer, I always take a camera, and for this trip I decided to take my faithful film camera, as well as the digital camera I had at the time (and whatever mobile phone I had too). Despite suffering from various musculoskeletal aches and pains, and struggling to carry too much, the camera is always a priority, especially for a trip of a lifetime like this one!

The film camera had taken a back seat those days, overtaken by the ease and convenience of a digital camera, not to mention the ability to take 1000’s of pictures (I think I took nearly 3,000 digital pictures on this trip!), rather than the two 36 shot films I had allocated myself (expensive to develop ad having to carry them around). But there is still something special about the analogue camera, that I have never quite found with digital. 

The camera I have is a canon SLR given to me on my 17th birthday by my mum. She was also a keen and talented photographer, so she had done her research into what was the best one (probably Which? magazine!), and this camera has been amazing. So much so that my mum was constantly borrowing it from me, but when she decided to buy herself one, they had stopped manufacturing them, so she bought a different one, that was never as good as this one.

As my mum passed away when I was 23, it is always an emotional affair to get this camera out, as memories come flooding back. At the time she bought it for me I was studying City and Guilds photography alongside my ‘A’ levels, and I loved it so much, learning the craft of printing as well as all the settings on the camera, learning about ISO, f-stops and the like. It was a good grounding in photography, and has stayed with me ever since. The ease of digital photography has never given me the satisfaction I used to get with film, feeling like you had a skill and awaiting the results was tantalising (and often disappointing!). Digital photography is amazing and so great for many things, such as not having to waste loads of money taking films to be developed that are terrible, and being able to capture countless memories and research for artistic purposes, but will never have quite the same air of mystery and suspense.

I digress…

So, I decided to take some photos on my film camera alongside the digital ones, to see what came out best. I hadn’t used my film camera for a very long time, so I was not expecting much, but as soon as I started, everything came back (thankfully not the battery constantly stopping working because it was too cold – another issue I tend to forget in my nostalgic look back!).

I took most of them when we visited Yosemite National Park, and also Glacier Bay in Alaska, as these were the most photogenic places we visited, and I had to be precious with that limited number of frames.

Once we returned to London, obviously I was able to see all my digital photos straight away, and was pretty happy with them, so I was in no rush to get the film developed, and since it had been so long since I had had a film developed I didn’t really know a good place anymore to go, most high street places had gone, and those left, I was dubious about what quality they would kick out. So thinking I would do some research and take them when I found somewhere I would trust and had the time to do it, I put them in the fridge, as I had heard this was a good way to preserve undeveloped film. And then I pretty much forgot about them, occasionally thinking as I absentmindedly took something from the fridge, that I should get them developed. But then they just became part of the fridge. I pretty much just forgot they were there.

Forward 9 years to July 2022 (onto second fridge by now), and an extraordinary heatwave in London, and the fridge freezer goes on the blink. We can only get either the fridge or the freezer to work, not both together. We figure out we need to defrost the freezer, which means we need to eat all the food in the freezer first, meaning we would not have a working fridge for several days. Horror! After about two days of this, I suddenly remember I have two undeveloped films in the fridge, which might start to deteriorate (if they have not done already… the advice is to put your film in the fridge for 6 months!). Panic onset,  must get films developed asap!

A quick google search and I found ‘Take it Easy’ film developing lab, where you can just post off your films and they develop the film and send scans of the pictures – perfect as I didn’t want to spend loads of money getting prints done if there was nothing to see.

A few days later I receive the scans through email, and I am quite blown away by the quality of the photos, the camera film has definitely performed as well as , if not better then the digital camera I had at the time (canon EOS 350D SLR ) for the ones in Yosemite, although digital probably better for the glaciers, apart from one picture I adore, but that’s all you need!

I thought I would share some of my pictures here, alongside the digital versions. I have since upgraded my digital camera, but I still don’t think I would get the quality of my faithful Canon … How much of that is down to being in a fridge for nearly 10 years I do not know, but I am still impressed with the results.

Mist dreamy photo of water with snow topped mountains in the distance
Glacier Bay Alaska, taken on analogue Canon SLR. © Anna Walsh
Glacier Bay Alaska, taken on digital Canon SLR © Anna Walsh
Glacier Bay Alaska, taken on analogue Canon SLR, © Anna Walsh
Glacier Bay Alaska, taken on digital Canon SLR © Anna Walsh
Some glaciers at Glacier Bay Alaska, taken on analogue Canon camera, © Anna Walsh
Some glaciers at Glacier Bay, taken on digital Canon SLR © Anna Walsh
Tree in Yosemite National Park, California, taken on analogue Canon SLR © Anna Walsh


Tree in Yosemite National Park, California, taken on digital Canon SLR © Anna Walsh
Yosemite National Park, California, taken on analogue Canon SLR, © Anna Walsh


Yosemite National Park, California, taken on digital Canon SLR, © Anna Walsh
Yosemite National Park, California, taken on analogue Canon SLR, © Anna Walsh
Yosemite National Park, California, taken on digital Canon SLR, © Anna Walsh
Yosemite National Park, California, taken on analogue Canon SLR, © Anna Walsh




Yosemite National Park, California, taken on digitalCanon SLR, © Anna Walsh