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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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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Learning: Roll#9 Tri-x @1600

When I started using film I had this idea/dream that every photos I would take would be the “SHIT”. Oh how right was I when the first roll got developed and printed. 35 shots of crap (under, overexposed and out of focused shots) and 1 decent photo. I blamed everything less but me. Maybe the camera is broken it’s old, maybe the meter is fried, maybe my film stock wasn’t handled well being developed yeah that’s it bad developing. But deep down I know it was my fault. So I did what any normal person would do before running a film thru a new camera: Read the manual. Ha! so it’s center weighted metering, that’s good to know.

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Next thing I did was browse through the works of Josef Koudelka and learn from him. Ofcourse I admired Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Robert Frank and most of the greats but it’s with Josef Koudelka’s work I resonated with.

https://www.magnumphotos.com/photographer/josef-koudelka/

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Great work takes time. Koudelka took around 5000 photos of the Prague 1968 invasion but used only a fraction of it. Only later when “Invasion 68:Prague” that other photos would be used, it featured 250 awe inducing photos most of them published for the first time. That’s 250 out 5000 photos! He had a tight body of work spanning all the years he was taking picture but the quality of it was absurd. So be patient and enjoy the learning process.

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After shifting to film my compulsive behavior to shot 10 or more photo of the same thing completely disappeared and was replaced by extreme skimping. 1shot per 1 subject that’s all I gave myself. Only after looking at Koudelka’s contact sheet did I realized that if you feel there’s a “Shot”, you can work the scene out. Compose, recompose and shoot. Don’t skimp. Which made me think of this quote:

” In the end you only regret the the things you didn’t do”

Let’s rephrase this

” In the end you only regret the photos you didn’t take”

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My favorite photo. Took me a bit of experimentation but I got it. When life seem dark always look to the light. I always look to you my light. I am grateful having you. Thank you and thanks for reading!

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!

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. 🙂

 

 

 

Bangkok in Film: Fujicolor Superia 1600

Thailand was the first country I’ve been to except Philippines.  Everybody should visit there. The people are very kind and will try their very best to understand your hand gestures. It’s relatively clean and safe compared to Philippines. We were there for less than a week and arrived on a sunday. This means that we have to visit and shop on Chatuchak weekend market on our first day. I quickly loaded my Nikon F3 with Ektar ( at-least that was the box of film I was holding but the film inside was the Fujicolor Superia 1600! I was gonna save this for some night time shooting at Khao san road. It was a mix up of different box and film due to the inspection in the airport. Luckily I realized that it was the superia before closing the back. Giving me a chance to rate it at 1600).

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Chatuchak market is so big that it will take you the whole day to fully explore it. I would suggest you visit it on your last day so you can spend all your remaining money here. The food is amazing and the trinkets are cheap!

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She’s been arranging and rearranging her cats for quite sometime giving me a chance to snap this.

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Superia 1600 giving a great rendition of skin tones.

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“Frame”

Superia 1600 actually is okay. If you need a high iso colored film I’d recommend this being not as pricey as other high iso film and is able to deliver great photo. Yes it’s a bit grainy but it’s normal at 1600. The Superia 1600 is definitely a must try!

Thanks for reading.

3 Tips on How to stop GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

Well I have recently been “G.A.Sing” hard. I have been browsing the net looking for reviews, photos taken with the camera (Om4 Ti) and just plain day dreaming of the shots I’ll take with it, for the better part of a week!

We humans are unhappy because we’re insatiable. An ultra-marathoner of the “Hedonic treadmill”. We get what we desire let’s say (in my case) the Olympus Om2n with a 24mm 2.8 and less than a week you adapt to them and the dissatisfaction returns. Maybe this time it’s a Om 50mm f1.2 lens that would do the trick or the Om4 ti. Let’s not stop there maybe the harder to find Om3 would get my itch scratched.

Enough is enough. When lusting for a piece of equipment is taking more time than the actual creation, it becomes unhealthy for me. I can read a review plenty of times and still read it some more (http://www.35mmc.com/12/09/2016/olympus-om4ti/ and http://camerajunky.net/2012/06/19/olympus-om-4-ti-black/).

My go to cure for G.A.S:

  1. Negative visualization– Imagine how you’ll feel if you lost your go to camera now. Vividly imagine that your camera got stolen on that shady street you were walking by. This is very effective for me, reminds me how much I wanted my camera before I had it and how much  I’ll miss it if I lose it. Then I find myself stroking the old beater camera with care and looking at it with love.
  2. 1 Month rule- I use this one with almost every possible buy. The rule is simple if I want to buy something that’s gonna cost more than 1,000 php or around 20 usd I write it on my notebook with the starting date (ex. Om4ti- Feb26, 2017). So if after 30days I still want to buy the Om4ti I’ll pull the trigger on it (which is good cause usually in 30 days time someone already bought it first!).
  3. Reread the reviews of your camera- Luckily for me Nikon F3 has a ton of great review in the web. This somehow makes me feel that the camera i’m already using is more than enough. If I want to create a better photo It’s me who’s got to improve and not the equipment.

These 3 steps helped me solve my G.A.S for a while i’m sure it’ll pop out sooner or later. I always say to myself that great photos have been taken with less (older cameras), so it’s not the equipment that make a photo but the one behind the camera.

If you’re still G.A.Sing after doing this 3 steps. I suggest you go here: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2012/03/04/10-tips-on-how-to-cure-yourself-of-gas-gear-acquisition-syndrome/

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Nikon F3 50mm 1.4/ Kodak Portra 400

As always thank you for reading and I hope this helps!

Why I use analogue over digital. Roll #8 Kodak Gold

I think the difference between digital and film for me is the feel of the actual analogue camera. Every morning I always gravitate towards my F3 even it would be cheaper for me and a lot healthier for my back to carry my D7000 (feels lighter). Somehow the F3 rewired my brain I get a dopamine rush every time I cock the film advance (buttery smooth!) and pressing the shutter (that shutter sound it’s so good it kinda makes me moist), yes the shutter is loud ( I was trying to be stealthy shooting in a church, not with a mass going mind you, I swear that at least 4 person looked at me hearing the sound of the shutter) but it just sound so right. It doesn’t matter what camera you use as long as you use it and that’s what I love about the F3 it makes you want to use it. Just handling it is a pleasure and carrying it is kinda stealthy with the normal black one. So whatever camera makes you want to carry it that’s the one for you. Stop looking at the review of that Om4 ti. Stop mental masturbating about that om 50mm 1.2 and use what you have Dan. That’s all you need.

Kodak Gold. I’m on the fence with this one some shots I definitely love, some makes me wanna puke. The color is not that consistent (most likely user error and not the films fault). But it’s kinda cheap so that’s a big plus for a broke ass person like me.

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Light against Dark

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I always slowly creep away from whoever buys the giant black candle, It’s for peace of conscience. I can only imagine what they did to deserve have to buy 3 or 4 of that.

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My 2nd favorite of this roll. That impish face is priceless!

As you can see I do take a lot of photos of things and strangers but I try to take more photos of love ones. Personal photos are the one that’s always infused with emotions and meaning for me so I do try to take more. Life is fickle you never know how long we have remaining so make the most of it connect, listen and be present to the one you love.

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My favorite of the roll. I can’t put my finger on why I love this picture so much even the color have a cyan cast on it. I just want to make a large of print of this and hang it near my desk.

Remember:

  1.  Use what you have Dan. You don’t need a Olympus Om4ti with 50mm 1.2 to make a decent photo.
  2. Take more photos of your family and love ones.

Thanks for reading!

Roll#7 Tri-x @1600

Welcome to the nitty and grainy life here in the Philippines.Enjoy!

Manila is a wondrous place. Full of life. Literally full of people. Most are nice and some are a little desperate but the one who have it the worse are the children, the street children. Children who never had a home. They aren’t exactly orphans as they do have parents. Some of the parents are good people but are really having it hard. Some the bad parents who use their children to make money. Make money? but how you might ask. There a lot of ways actually from manual labor, as a street vendors, begging for food and money to the bad one like stealing smart phones, moneys and etc. You see being a child makes them immune to going to prison so the bad parent use them to steal thing and if they get caught, being a minor ( sometimes as young as 5years old) get away scot-free. roll7-6

Having to grow up in this environment they become hard and the cycle is never broken. Most of these kids will be parents before they reach 20years old. So the cycle continues…

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The problem they always face is hunger. True hunger the way we will never ever experience. It’ll be there constant friend from waking to sleeping. And when you see a kid with a empty plastic inflating and deflating around the nose ( Like what asthma patient do with paper bag) you might wonder what they’re doing. The plastic bag is actually laced with Rugby (a type of contact cement), the solvent is used to alleviate their hunger.

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Now that you got your fix. We need a place to crash. Well? anywhere is game as long as you won’t disturb the people passing by and the authorities won’t care. Grab the box fold it and voilà! bed fit for a king. Be it in the side walk, under the tree, up the tree and anywhere in between.

By now I’m sure you’re asking “What are you trying to say Dan?”.

That this is a reminder for me (and it could be a reminder for you also if you want to) to appreciate what I have (what you have). Appreciate the childhood I got, the education, my parents, and even the fact that I have a bed and I have food to eat when I’m hungry. So what if my caramel macchiato double shot espresso upside down wasn’t upside down. So what if I’m using a 30 year old camera and not the bestest and latest. So what if someone rudely cut you in the road. Please don’t let the little things destroy the gift you’re given. Enjoy the present. For young and old, we all have the same to lose.

Appreciate and be present to your family and love ones. Really listen to them.

The ones I love.

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She hated this photo. But I loved it cause it captures the playfulness in her eyes.roll7-3

Kawo. Thankfully he’s okay now. 🙂

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Thank you for listening to my rant. And remember “Always Forward!”

Roll#6 Ektar

If any of you guys ever drift here to the Philippines. I strongly suggest you go here.

Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

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It’s usually visited by hikers and they spend the night camping here. The beach is pristine and clear. Very peaceful, and an absolute must for those need a time out to visit. All the photos are taken with Kodak Ektar. I love how this film captured the essences of the place.  Blue, azure blue, green, Brown and the almost white sand. Enjoy!

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The keepers hut. Guess who’s living the dream, huh. I really like the colors of Ektar here.roll6-ektar-12

Ektar overexposed. Dreamy feel.

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Got to get those hands dirty to get to the peak.

Tact sharp! I hope they won’t discontinue this film.

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I’m sexy and I know it. Joke.

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Both long exposures. But the last one took more than a minute. I don’t exactly know how long, but i’m surprise to get this one.

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Path to Happiness. My favorite of the roll. 🙂

I really love this F3. It’s been the only camera I lugged around everywhere. Aperture priority is just perfect for me and metering is always spot on. The viewfinder is large and clear. It make you focus and just think about the moment your gonna capture and after you snapped it you continue to enjoy the moment, no chimping, no bitching that you didn’t get the photo you like. Film really teaches you to be patient. So please all of you who are GAS’ing for the new Leica M10 (God know I did for a while) or that new lens, remember great photos have been made with an older and not that awesome camera, it’s about you enjoying and learning the craft. I still use my worse for wear D7000 but film photography helped me to minimize chimping and be conscious what to waste my film on and the composition of it. This is more of me telling myself not to GAS.

See you guys next week!

Feel free to Email me : danjazz31@gmail.com