How to enjoy Film photography

This is my opinion base on my experience as a hobbyist.

Film photography is a great medium to learn and make photographs. It makes you “mindful” of what you take. The cost per shot is evident, you only have 36 shots. I see a cat licking his bum and I raise my camera to compose then think “is this shot gonna be worth my 10php?” usually the answer would be no. That would raise my keepers from 1 per roll to at least 6 per roll. Which is good by my standards (very low standards!). Shooting is a bliss. I have no expectation on myself. I just have to walk and observe. Observe the light, the shadows, patterns, frames, human faces, gestures, emotions and all the other factors. You’re in the “flow” you are mindful, all your worries are gone. You see how the world is beautiful even in the dirty streets of Manila you’ll be amazed of the depth of beauty.

CLE at 1600-1

TIBI CORDI TUO IMMACULATO CONCREDIMUS NOS AC CONSECRAMUS”.

 Translated to. “To thy Immaculate Heart, entrust us and consecrate us”

Minolta CLE + M-Rokkor 40mm f2+ Kodak Tri-x @1600

Film cameras are cheap compared to the latest cameras today. This is a double edge sword for me. It’s great to try and shoot with a different camera but I usually fall to victim to HEDONIC ADAPTATION. I know deep down that I’ll only be using a single camera and I was content with it. I have been using my Nikon F3 for a year and never wanted more. But when I saw a bargain (Olympus XA2, Canonet QL17, Nikon L35AF and a Olympus trip 35 for a 100usd), I pulled the trigger on it. I have been reading extensively on film cameras to know that all of them are great cameras. They arrived the next day and all of them are in great condition. I quickly loaded the Oly XA2 shot a roll (still haven’t develop this) and sold it for a profit. I did the same with the other 3, I shot with them for awhile, get bored, complaint about this or that, and then sold it. I did make a little bit of money and I did enjoy shooting and tinkering with a new camera but this started an unhealthy habit. I would always check sites for various reviews be update for new reviews on sleeper cameras ( selling cheap now and prices would usually go up after the review), with the perfect excuse of I’m investing on them and could sell them easily. Various cameras would go thru my hands from Om-1, Om2n, to a Rollei 35 SE but would always return to the Minolta CLE, for me it’s a lighter Nikon F3 ( Black, aperture priority and dependable). I know that this is all I need and more but what the heck am I looking, reading a review and fantasizing about a Leica M? Which I can’t afford. GAS ( Gear Acquisition Syndrome) again, I thought I have dealt with it before. But making a little money gives you a leeway, an excuse to start GASing all over again. So why am I bitching about it, if I enjoy shooting different cameras and make a little money in the end. What’s wrong with that? Because it’s making me unhappy. I check ebay and other sites on a regular basis ( Every chance a get, might be every 5mins or every 30mins). I have this fear of missing out (FOMO), That I might miss out on a great deal/camera. I black canon 7 for 100 bucks? a black Contax G1 with a 45mm? I NEED THOSE! I was in constant state of fear and desire that I was checking the internet more often than shooting.

  1. Sell every camera I don’t use. ( They’re posted for sale right now)
  2. Never visit or read a review about a camera. Don’t add fuel to fire.
  3. Never visit the sales pages, ebay or where ever I get them.
  4. Make myself accountable. (Thus here I am bitching to you guys)

I am still wanting and lusting for that Leica M, Contax G1, G2 or T2 but when I catch myself wanting. I just tell myself that 1. You cannot afford them 2. You got all that you need to create a great photo and to enjoy taking pictures.

Thank you for hearing me rant.

CLE at 1600-3

Minolta CLE + M-Rokkor 40mm f2+ Kodak Tri-x @1600.

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Scanning film at home: Portra 160

I have always been having my films developed and scanned at a local lab. The service they provide have always been impeccable but it takes awhile before I get my films and scans usually about 2weeks. Cost wise it’s also a bit expensive and more so if you like pushing your film. My cost for a Kodak tri-x @ 1600 with scans is around 16usd! These pushed me to develop and scan my own films. I’ll talk about the developing part on the next post. Scanning first as I have scanned this roll of portra before I started developing my black and white.

http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2016/02/scanning-film-digital-camera/

Ever since I read the article above from Japancamerahunter I have been toying with the idea of scanning my own negatives at home but never really have the impulse to push thru with it, until now. I just followed the template and work flow of Adrien Saint-Pierre (author of the article)

Equipment:

  1. Nikon D7000 (my old dslr before starting film photography)
  2. Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/3.5 ai (20usd)
  3. Generic extension tube (12usd)
  4. Tripod (hand me down from my brother)
  5. Film holder? cut out from an archival sleeves.
  6. Asahi light panel 15watts (10usd) A decent light source is a must. I have tried using Ipad for it but the pixels shows.

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The light panel with the archival sleeves tightly bound by gaffer tape to the negative will lay flat (cheapo way) but is prone to dust. I did all the same with the article.

Minotla cle with 40mm M-rokkor, Developed at the local lab. Scanned with a DSLR.

You can already tell I am having problem with colors. First they aren’t consistent even with me using the same setting and post on them and second they don’t have the Portra 160 feel. If you have a solution for me don’t be shy to comment I would appreciate it deeply. CLE(PORTRA)-9

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Pros of scanning wtih a Dslr

  1. You control the output ( can sometimes be a con like the color problem of mine)
  2. Faster scanning than from the labs
  3. Cheaper long term
  4. High resolution? Most of the image are around 20mbp

Cons

  1. More work on your side
  2. Dusts if you don’t have the proper environment like me. Had to spot heal most of the photos alot.

It’s cheap if you already have a DSLR and a tripod you won’t lose anything by trying to scan at home using a Dslr. If you end up hating it at least you got a macro lens to play with! win-win.

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New Toy: Minolta CLE

I have been playing with the Minolta CLE for almost a month now. I love how it looks with the “Minolta” and “CLE” taped over, giving a generic compact camera look. The learning curve is a little rocky for me being a slow learner. Coming from a Nikon F3 there’s a lot in common with the CLE. Not mechanical, used mostly as aperture priority and my only gripe is the exposure lock. Most of the learning curve is from being a Slr shooter to a rangefinder. I had difficulty focusing at first and the smaller “viewfinder” due to not using the whole field of the “viewfinder” if that even makes sense.

After the first roll I became more comfortable with a rangefinder and the weight makes me carry it everywhere. Feed it  another roll where I thought I nailed a few decent shoots, so I send it to be developed and was excited for it to finish.

Then shit hits the fan. The negatives return almost paper white I know something went wrong. Checked the scans and most of it is underexposed. I don’t know if it was a developing mistakes as I pushed both the Tri-x to 1600. Cold sweat run down my face fearing the worst, the CLE’s meter was busted. I checked the meter of the CLE against the F3 and my android app but all 3 shows the same meter reading. I was really bummed with the results. Decided to run a Fuji C200 on it to really test it out hoping it was a processing mistake.

Thankfully the negatives was correctly exposed, the meter is not busted.C200-4

The F3 is sleeping on the shelf now that the CLE is my daily companion. It’s perfect for me as it’s light, stealthy and a great 40mm lens. Still learning a lot on how to shoot a rangefinder (zone focus, hyperfocal.. etc.etc.)

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Well that’s it for now.

Keeping shooting!

Loving this site (and learning a lot from it)

http://www.yanidel.net/

Minimalism: Agfa Vista 400

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Welcome back to the busy jungle of Manila. It’s a chaotic place. People are so busy surviving that cleanliness is the last thing in there minds. They spit, urinate and even defecate in the streets (Bums). Electric and telephone lines abound and is uncontrolled. Every street is filled with chaos and it reflects on my photo, It’s so busy that the subject gets drowned in the noise. I need to improve my composition so I challenge myself with a theme of minimalism for this roll of Agfa Vista. Enjoy!

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Chaos. Beating the red light.

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Nostalgia: Roll#8 Lucky

It’s amazing how photos can bring you back to a moment in your life. This is one of the reason why I am into photography. I visual anchor to the past charged with emotions and memories. Ahhh, Nostalgia.

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Co-habitation towel. This one is meh at best but this is special to me. It reminds me of a happy, simplier and relatively stress free time. I can even remember the sound of the jack hammer pounding outside and making sleep impossible. So I decided to take some photo of the room as we we’re moving out soon.  Looking back now I can tell you how glad I am wasting film and money on them. Reminiscing is priceless.

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“Meditation by Marcus Aurelius” And “Letters from a Stoic by Seneca” two of my favorite books. Basically saying to me to stop my bitching and whining. Stop being a victim and to actively help myself because I’m the only one who can change my situation. The external forces you can’t control but you can control everything within you. You control your own narrative.Lucky-6

So let’s take more meaningful pictures. It doesn’t have to be world changing or a technical marvel. All it needs to do is please you. You’re the one with the emotional attachment to it. Take this white rose for an example. I should have lessen the clutter to make it a bit more bearable but this one signifies my girlfriends passing of her licensure exam. I’ll always remember buying it cause it’s all I can afford, a single measly piece. Well it’s the thought that counts.

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The face of success.

I’m proud of you for passing the board exam. I’m sure you know that. CongratuFU*KINGlations!

Review: Olympus Om2n

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First impression:

Very light! Weights only 750 grams thats the body, lens (Om 50mm f1.8), neck strap, the film and battery. That’s already the weight of the Nikon F3 body only! It also has a great feel to it, just like the Nikon F3. It has this feeling of rugged elegance that seduces you to carry it every time you go out. This is a huge factor for me as I tend to forget the cameras with a plasticky feeling. Caressing, having the feel of it, cocking the shutter and firing it. It’s shutter noise is less audible compared to the F3 but it’s still audible. Cocking the shutter is not as buttery smooth as the F3, well it’s not a big deal. I’m a simple man, all I need in a camera are aperture priority, good glass and the a “good feel/ build” to it. Time for a test roll.

Om2n with 24mm f2.8 (HP5 @ 400)

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Om2n with 24mm f2.8 (Ultramax)

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Om 50mm f1.8

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The Olympus Om2n is a great everyday carry. It’s so light you’ll forget you’re even carrying it. The view finder is large and bright! Makes it easy and fast to focus. The meter reads the same as my F3 which is spot on. I love the om2ns’ meter! In aperture priority you’ll see the shutter speed with a needle for the exposure giving you information how much lee way you still have. And in manual exposure it’s gonna give you a different “graph?” which shows you how much you’re underexpose or overexposed. The only thing missing was exposure lock but can easily be corrected with the exposure compensation. The Om glasses are impressive! It’s like a featherweight packing a punch several times above it’s class. Image quality, ergonomics, size and weight you can’t go wrong with these lenses.

Om 24mm f2.8 – Love having the perspective of an wide angle lens. This is my first wide angle and I have been enjoying it. I just have to be conscious of the light source as I think my copy is single coated.

Om 50mm f1.8 – Looking thru the view finder with this lens attached makes you feel like you’re inside the frame (weird as that might sound). Maybe it’s the large view finder and the shallow depth of field which has a very 3 dimensional feel when moving the focus.

Pros:

  • Light and Small
  • Large and bright Viewfinder
  • Meter is reliable
  • Battery is easy to find
  • Small and relatively cheap lenses ( except for the 50mm f1.2)
  • Easy exposure compensation

Cons:

  • No exposure lock
  • Mirror lock up (would be a great addition for long exposure)
  • When the electronics is fried the camera is dead

If you want or see a Olympus Om2n buy it! It is usually the cheapest compared to the Om1, Om4 (Om4ti) and Om3t. And prices are going up.

Still want to see more photos from the Olympus Om2n? Go here for some amazing portraiture:

https://www.instagram.com/fabiofilmphotography/

http://www.fabiosabatiniphotography.com/

And another review of the Om2n:

http://www.fogdog-photography.com/fogdog-blog/2016/8/23/olympus-om2n

 

Bangkok in Film: Kodak Ektar 100

Perfect weather for a roll of Ektar.

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Entrance to the Grand Palace. The security is tight! Look at all those guns.

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The Garuda and Naga. Garugas are like harpies, half man and half bird but of the opposite sex. He’s the steed of Lord Vishnu or something like that. The snake he’s ripping apart is the “Naga”.  I don’t know which of them started this family fued as they’re “cousins” but it’s always ends with  the Garuda winning. (kinda like the eagle eating the snake)

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We enjoyed this fountain at first because the pigeons have been “pavloved” not be scared of humans and see them as vending machine of corns. Then a man gave us small packets of corn.

“How much?” we ask.

“It’s okay. It’s okay.” He said. Woah. This place is really great, people are very friendly and giving you free stuff. If only Philippines can step up it’s game then maybe the tourism would increase. Blah blah..

So we continued to play and feed the pigeons. After depleting our corn supply we decided to leave.

“Thank you for the corn.” I said or something like that.

“300 bhat. 100 bhat each packet. YOU PAY.” Kinda lost my temper here. We conceded to pay 100 bhat and decided to leave him. So please learn from our mistake. Visit but be wary of this kind of trick.

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Elephant statue at the entrance of the Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat.

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Thotsakhirithon (Yaksha) is a kind of nature spirit that protects and guard treasures. It’s no wonder they’re placed in the entrance of the Wat Phra Kaew. It’s amazing to see the parallel between Thailand and Japan due to their culture and religion . Yasha in Japanese.

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I think she’ll kill me if she sees this. Candid for her devouring a delicious local banana crepe.

This is the last of the Bangkok in Film. I really miss this place already. I miss the laid back atmosphere where most of the people don’t seem to be in a hurry. The people are very polite and would do everything to help you. Can’t wait to be back.

Thank you for reading!

Pet Portrait# 3

Meet Hershey Zafra, a cute and playful puppy. But he lost half of his left ear due to an infected wound on the left pinna which was left untreated for weeks because the owner didn’t notice it due to Hershey long coat. So please check your pets daily while petting and caressing them, it could prevent some serious problem. ( Or atleast half an ear)

Bangkok in Film: Kodak Portra 400

Day 2 of our Bangkok trip takes us to Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho temples. Both are mesmerizing and vibrantly colorful.

TIPS:

  1. Bring a wide angle lens! I only had my 50mm lens on this trip and I was sorely missing my 24mm as there was a lot of instances that would be better using a wide angle lens.
  2. Be aware about the dress codes in this temples. Act and dress respectfully.
  3. Stay clear of people giving you “free” corn for the pigeons as they will ask for 150 bhat per handful.

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Chinese Warrior.

Grand temples, giant Buddha, mythical creatures and huge statues everywhere. Thailand is very rich in culture and symbolism.

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Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”- Buddha

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The Reclining Buddha.

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I’m not sure if this is a lotus. Lotus represents purity of thought. It grows in muddy water rising and blooming above the murk, symbolizing enlightenment.

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This is my favorite of the roll.

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Thanks for viewing!

Up next is Ektar. 🙂