A few weeks ago, while I was in New Mexico, I made the decision to dust off the film scanner, the cameras and obtain some film. The images I made that week in NM just weren't translating for me during post black & white conversions.
Inherently, the aesthetic in a digital B&W conversion just isn't working for me. It's a personal preference and has nothing to do with what might be superior technically. For me, the feel, the look and the process all count. I'll continue to make images digitally in color when I am in that mode. But for now, the B&W images that I produce will be with film.
There are obvious downsides to this, but I think those downsides, or inconveniences, are really upsides for my personal photography and aesthetic. There is the need to process the film... boring and time consuming in, and of, itself. Scanning, much the same. Spotting, tedious at best. And then there is the travel issues associated with film.
But the end result is really what I am after. In a conversation with a friend this past week, I felt that the look was significantly different in scanned film versus a digital conversion. I'm less convinced that once I print in platinum/palladium that I'll see that much of a difference. But for silver gelatin prints, from a digital negative, I'm certain I'll see the difference. Since I print in both of those mediums, I think it best to make the course change and see what happens.
One other consideration, and one I had discounted in an effort to use the digital setup, is the process of making the images themselves. Photography has long been an outlet for me. For the period of time I'm out making photographs, be it for 10 minutes or 3 hours, the act of photography is all I think about. It's very liberating and acts as a period of meditation for me and it sets the mood for the day, and in many cases, for the week to come. I was missing that with the digital set up but I'm not certain why.