A curious datum. I've been cleaning up my office, getting proof sheets organized and filed and my negatives in order. In the process of doing so, I've discovered that I am three days shy of the second anniversary of the last time I exposed any film.
Understand that I still have a fully equipped color darkroom (and will so long as I'm doing dye transfer printing, which still brings in a substantial part of my income), a freezer holding dozens of rolls of film and a couple of thousand sheets of color print paper, plenty of chemistry, two Pentax 67 bodies, and an assortment of lenses. I have not decided that I am not doing film photography any longer.
Yet it does not seem to be beyond the realm of possibility. I never made a conscious decision to stop doing black-and-white photography, but over the years the percentage that was black-and-white dropped from 30% to well under 1% by the mid-90s. I may be that I am never going to make a decision about this, but the practice may amount to the same thing.
Organizing my proof sheets is also teaching me that I should be more disciplined in my photography. I've been profligate in my consumption of electrons because they seemed essentially free. Well, they are not. For the way I prefer to work, I still need proof sheets; they serve different needs from on-screen organizers. When I add up the costs of archival storage and backup for my camera files plus the proof sheets I find that each electronic frame I keep is costing me about 8 cents.
That's vastly lower than my comparable cost for medium format film photography (which runs more like $.60), but it adds up when I expose unnecessarily. In addition, there is a curious inversion of costs which increases my time dealing with digital photographs. With film photography, 80% of the cost was in the negative; it cost me little to proof the film, so everything got proofed. Contrariwise, 3/4 of the cost of my electronic photographs is in the proofing. This strongly encourages me to edit the images and eliminate the obvious losers before I proof anything. Unfortunately, that means the proofing process is a lot more time-consuming and is less likely to be done in a timely manner.
Time to start considering my digital exposures a little more carefully and seriously, I think. They do not come for free.