The only thing constant is CHANGE

Funny how life works. Yesterday I was reflecting that everything will change. How our body is ever changing. growth then decay. How technology is zooming ever faster.

Today as I was on my stroll with my CLE and composing for a shot. I realized the shutter it’s giving me is way slow even it’s sunny. I had a cold sweat break then. I continued my walk fiddling with it hoping it’ll come back alive. First I sold every other film camera I had so I had no back up camera. What can I do this was made during 1980, it’s a 35 years old camera.

Life is really full of ups and downs. So if you’re shooting with a film camera always cherish it while you can.

Pattern

Thanks for reading!

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Life is Terminal.

Nothing’s constant but change.

You were born, grew from child to man then decayed to old age and death.

We all have a terminal disease and it’s called LIFE. The prognosis is grave you will die. Just imagine a sleep that you’ll never wake up from. But you can’t really imagine it we’re wired to not think about our mortality. It’s in our gene. Tusol

But the moment you think and reflect about your mortality gives you a chance to savor and somehow enjoy the remaining time you have. Like the last bite of this man’s bananaQ. Everything ends. The food your eating disappears in 15mins and you already forgot about it in 20. The movie your watching even it’s the 3hr Blade Runner 2049, everything eventually ends. I’ll share to you something I have read recently:

The story I’m about to tell you, originally told by the Buddha in a sutra, concerns a Zen Master who, while out walking one day, is confronted by a ferocious, man-eating tiger. He slowly backs away from the animal, only to find that he is trapped at the edge of a high cliff; the tiger snarls with hunger, and pursues the Master. His only hope of escape is to suspend himself over the abyss by holding onto a vine that grows at its edge. As the Master dangles from the cliff, two mice – one white and one black – begin to gnaw on the vine he is clutching on. If he climbs back up, the tiger will surely devour him, if he stays then there is the certain death of a long fall onto the jagged rocks. The slender vine begins to give way, and death is imminent. Just then the precariously suspended Zen Master notices a lovely ripe wild strawberry growing along the cliff’s edge. He plucks the succulent berry and pops it into his mouth. He is heard to say: “This lovely strawberry, how sweet it tastes.”

It sometimes takes a life and death situation to make you realize how slippery our life really is. That it isn’t really in our control. Best we can do is enjoy every bite and every moment we can get from life. Enjoy every kiss and savor it a little longer. Every hug and even every breathe. I know this is hard I have been working on it for a while and I wrote this mainly as a reminder for me.bata2

So stop searching and start living.

As always. Thank you for reading!

On Shortness of Life

Life is short. We just had a family member that passed away. It made me realize about our mortality. We will all pass away. Nobody is exempted, rich or poor we will all cease to exist in this plane of life. As I come to realize this I looked to my side. To my mom. I’m not ready for death. For change.

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“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”- SENECA

This is what I fear most. That I have wasted my time here to binge watch that new series on Netflix while I neglect the people important to my life. I have spent time doing what I love (Photography and reading) and I have enjoyed every minute of it but I took for granted my parents thinking that they’ll always be there. Which they won’t, time will get us all. Now I try to go wherever they go when I’m free and make the most of the time with them. Ma

Thank you for reading!

Minolta CLE

I’m not gonna bore you with the technicality of this camera or it’s disputed parentage, being a bastard and all that. But a tale on how and why this little heathen became my everyday carry.

My first film camera is a battered Nikon F3, brassing all over but full of character. I fell in love with it all the little knobs, sleek design and that shutter cock action and sound. Then I saw a bargain for a F3/T champagne which I bought in a heart beat. A little lighter but still heavy that’s the only down side for me with the F3 is it’s size and weight. Aperture priority, meter is great (haven’t miss a shot with it) the only thing i’d change is the meter display. Then came another opportunity trade the F3/T to the Minolta CLE with the 40mm M-Rokkor. Still having my first F3 I went for it.

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BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER

When I got the CLE I was pleasantly surprise to feel very familiar with it. Aperture priority, electric shutter, battery dependency and being a no fuss camera it’s like the little brother of the F3, smaller and being rangefinder. The only thing that’s missing is an AE lock. They have a lot in common in this aspects even thought it’s a different brand and system.

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THE BAD

  • No AE – A function I have grown used to from the F3 but sorely missing on the CLE. The roundabout way on this is meter on what to expose ( highlight, shadow or the middle ground) then set the shutter speed manually.
  • No meter in manual mode- This is obvious, I don’t know why they didn’t put this option. I would love to have the meter reading in manual mode.
  • Weird precaution in the manual (Yes i’m that geek. I read every manual for every camera I use) that says not to leave the shutter cock overnight. Some people say that this is nonsense and they have left there’s always cock had never had a problem but other says the opposite. Well I like to be on the safe side and changed my way of shooting, from cocking the shutter after every shot to being a pre shutter cock before taking a photo (Believe me I feel like a freak because of this and miss some shots)

THE OTHERS DEEM BAD BUT DOESN’T AFFECT ME

  • Shorter rangefinder baselength– only becomes a problem with longer focal length. I mainly shoot 40mm and maybe 28mm in the future. So it’s meh.
  • Battery dependency- I just bring an extra set of battery with me all the time. Problem solved.
  • Weird framelines- Some people just doesn’t like the 28/40 framelines or focal length and prefers the 35/50. Luckily for me 40mm is my go to focal length.

THE GREAT

  • FORM (size, weight and color)- It’s form is perfect for street photography. It small and black which makes it discreet and ninja like. It weighs like a feather which is a boon when you walk around for hours on end believe me you’ll even forget that you have it around your neck.
  • FUNCTION- Just set it to aperture priority and shoot. It’s meter display is simple but very effective I’m amaze why other camera system didn’t copy this. With the F3 the meter display sucks let’s be honest. I liked the needle styled display but is difficult when it get’s dark. This one works wonders being an LED red dot that act like a needle.
  • METER- OTF meter like the OM-2 which is reliable.
  • MAGIC TOUCH- HA! I don’t know what they called it. But it’s the magic when you touch the shutter button it activates and gives you a meter reading. It’s battery friendly. It take some time to get used too but I have grown fond of it.
  • Bright viewfinder

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*All the control you’ll ever need (Aperture, Shutter speed, iso, shutter cock and shutter button)

I’m biased so take everything I said with a grain of salt. But if you’re looking for a perfect companion on the street try the Minolta CLE it’s great. Form and function wise it’s just a joy to shoot. Ergonomics is great. I love the feel of it in my hand. Shutter speed, iso, shutter lever, film back opening are well thought out. I can can the shutter speed with one hand. The CLE for me solves most of the problems that I have with other cameras, size and weight being one, it’s no nonsense camera and it packs a punch above it’s weight.

 

If you have any questions about the CLE just comment below.

Thank you for reading!

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

How to be happy in life?

Easy. Wake up every day and expect the worst.

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own- not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.”

– Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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It’s easier to face the day knowing it’s not all candies and roses. It’s easier to expect that shit will happen. A client will get mad. Someone will shout at you. Be prepared. They don’t know you personally, so don’t take it personally. It’s just someone blowing steam at you because.. because they had a bad day? maybe a family member died. We don’t know but we know better than to get mad at them as it won’t solve the problem.

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If you read only one book this year make it Meditations by Marcus Aurelius you won’t regret it.

*All photos taken with Minolta CLE with 40mm M-rokkor. Kodak Tri-X @400

Thanks for reading!

Jeepneys

The cheapest and most common mode of transportation here in Manila. I use it almost daily to get around. Cheap! the main reason I like it.

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Just check where the jeep in going which is easily seen on the front. This one’s going to Kalaw, SM city hall and etc. Ride, pay then say “para” for it to stop. Easy.

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You can even ride for free at the cost of your safety.

The worst that can happen is when the driver wants the jeep to be full before leaving. Full is really full. When it’s a 9seater per side they’ll say it’s a 10 seater so they can have the most profit.

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That guy is only sitting on a sliver of the seat.

If you ever visit here. Ride one.

Thanks for reading!

On Sale: TIME

We are screwed. Up against the geniuses who worked for Facebook and other social media whose job is to keep us hooked. We stand no chance against them. They eat our most valuable asset: TIME. Our time which we should spend on learning, creating or making memories with love ones, are now contested with a trickle of dopamine which our smartphone provides.

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But I am thankful for photography. With this hobby it’s a camera that’s always on my hand and not my phone. With photography it makes me look around and pay attention to the actual world we live in and made me realize how different the world is now. I’m working on my addiction with smartphone and the first step towards recovery is admitting that I’m an addict. SALE-1-4

Be aware. Resist. Live. Don’t be a zombie.

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”

– Seneca, On Shortness of Life (Must read)

(All photos: Minolta CLE with M-Rokkor 40mm with Kodak Tri-X)

Thank you for reading til the end.

Beware of your phone!

 

On Contrast

Contrast– the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association.

For the past 2 or 3 months I have been mainly shooting black and white as a challenge for myself to improve my photographic eye. Sadly my improvement is minimal and I still suck at it. One of my crutch is contrast. Black and white photos makes you see in tones which makes most of my shot plain and boring.
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So boring that even the subject fell asleep.
Being mindful and applying a little contrast improved some my shot.
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Bright colored shirt against dark background. Dark colored shirt against white background. It won’t make your photo great as you can see be it helps a lot with separation.
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Contrast also help with mood and horror.
Thinking of contrast made me realize a lot of other things. I live in the Philippines where you’ll find a lot of mini paradise, pristine beaches to mountain views to die for.
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On the other end of the spectrum is the filthy city of Manila. Most of the people doesn’t care about there surrounding, they throw most of their trash in the street, spittle and phlegm. Construction abounds everywhere cause most of the street is substandard due to corruption.
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But the contrast which breaks my heart is the living conditions of some of the children here. Street children which don’t have any place to call home, parents who shout, curse and hit them at the slightest slights. Food is variable, sometimes they eat but most of the times they feel a pang of hunger. Most of the education they’ll receive is mainly the rules of the dog eat dog world in the streets. Parental guidance of violence and impatience would be passed on to them and the cycle would begin again ad infinitum.
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Breakfast in bed. Yes that’s his bed.
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Good food and a loving family.
In contrast with us. With me. I got everything I wanted when I was a child. A room, food on our table, clothe, security and I even got a pet scorpion after making a scene in the pet shop, still i’m wanting more. We should take a breath and be thankful for the home, the food and every luxury we take for granted. In contrast to the ones who have it way worse my problems seems trivial.
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The other I realize most (around 80%) of the rich people I meet are miserable and the happiest are kids weather they are in a good or bad situation. I guess this is due to the power of play and being mindful, being in the now.
Wow. Talk about being of tangent but let’s see this through. I don’t have an answer to solve our poverty issue here but I want to share it with you. So we can be grateful and not take what we have for granted. Lastly I’ll leave you guys a quote which really freed me up from GAS.
“People value highest what they don’t have access to.”
 
Thank you for reading!

On fear and discomfort

I am struggling to improve my “photographic eye”.

I want to compose better and take more relevant photos but looking back, most of what I shot was shit. I decided on several things so I can improve it. First was to double down on my camera. No more GASing and wasting money and my most precious resource (TIME) on reviews and online auction and other sites. The extra time would be devoted to learning, reading and really studying the photos of the masters. The money was devoted to film and chemicals.

After spending weeks to months and several rolls of film I still feel that i’m still in the same place as I was before. Most of my shot looked “Lifeless” to me. Printing-21

Read all this about composition and rules. Ah the never ending rules: rule of thirds, rule of odds, the golden spiral, frames with the frames, much much more. Yes, this rule help with making a stable, balanced and even powerful photo. But if we all use them doesn’t that mean that most of all our shot would be same? Most likely not but in my case. Most of my shot looked the same cause I have really tried to change it. Until I challenge myself again. I took up with my friend (albeit it’s one sided) Robert Capa.

If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. ”- Robert Capa
This is hard for me. Shooting in your face here in the Philippines got me shouted at and collar grab at before. But as fate would have it this would be the same day I was reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss (Great Book!), It was his interview with Brene Brown, She said ” Give vulnerability a shot. Give discomfort its due. Because I think he or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest, but rises the fastest.”
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I really like this one. For me it’s one of my few shots that’s got a soul. Corny as that sounds. So give discomfort a shot. Even if you won’t get a great photo you’ll still feel great knowing you can do something that scares you.

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.

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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.