Back in high school, one of my favorite classes was the photography course I took my senior year. The school had its own photo lab, complete with darkroom & developing equipment. For a modest fee, you could buy lots of hand-rolled film and use the darkroom any time you wanted outside of your regularly scheduled class hours. I spent a lot of time there.
Nowadays, everyone's transitioning to digital cameras. While these might provide your instant gratification junkies with their pictures right this second, there is a lot to be said for the whole photo development process. You learn patience while hand-developing your film. You learn how to take your negatives and evaluate which ones would look good as small pictures, and which ones would need to be 8×10 or larger to really "pop". You play with enlargers and photo paper and learn how to develop the resulting photos in trays of developer and water, and wait anxiously for them to dry so you can mount and mat them. You spend time with your classmates, not staring at a monitor or transforming in Photoshop, but chatting over the cleanup of buckets of chemicals and snips of paper on the floor. I miss being a part of all of that.
I had a few rolls of film left over when I graduated that I never got a chance to use or develop. I took pictures on them over the next few years here and there, and then left them sitting in my sock drawer, thinking I'd get a home darkroom setup one day to continue my photo efforts. But it never happened, and last month I finally decided to pay the piper to get the film developed before it went bad. These are the cream of the crop from the three rolls, for your viewing pleasure:
[NaBloPoMo 2008 - #10/30]