Bangkok in Film: Ilford HP5 @1600

I found this roll a while back not knowing what’s in it, what camera did I shoot with it and importantly what iso I used. Took me a few week to decide that having it developed a little longer would be the safest.

So welcome back to Bangkok! And welcome to Chao Mae Tuptim shrine A.K.A the Penis Shrine.

HP5-3-2

The caretaker told us that they just removed half of the penises in the shrine as they were getting a bit crowded. People having fertility issue would leave behind a phallic candle or idol to make their wish come true. It is said that if you touched the phallus it would bring good luck and fertility. I did touched some of the phallus (no homo) hoping it would bring us luck. You can find elephant figures, creepy doll dresses ( I don’t know what they are for) and crammed to every crook and cranny are penises!

HP5-1-3

See what I mean by creepy. This just gives me the heebeegeebees!

HP5-4

This is my favorite shot I got from the shrine. I haven’t read yet “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson” But this reminds me of that book. I like how the penis is just proudly standing there.

What I love most in Thailand is the ambience of calm and unrushedness of the people. Look at him just chilling by the fountain even removing the shoes to be comfortable. Also Bangkok feels more spacious than Manila which is very very crowded.

Up next is the Banyan Tree sky bar. Being on a tight budget and just wanting to sightsee we just ordered drinks thankfully there’s free nuts. And what a great view it offered. I’m really regretting only bringing my 50mm to this trip.

Do me a favor and be smarter than me when you visit this place. See those railings? A great place to mount a gorrila pod and bring a wide angle lens or maybe a fish eye. Time it just right for sunset shots then order a few more drinks til it’s dark and the night light are on and get a great night shot of Bangkok. And not a plain boring shot like I did:HP5-1

I think this is the phallus’s making. When the waiter brought our drinks he accidentally spilled one of the glass on our table. Lucky none of us got wet with it. As compensation they gave us another round for free and waived our bill. I hope that doesn’t come out of our waiters salary. Thank you Penis shrine I know that was because of you.

HP5-1-2

This would be the face of someone spending the last night in Bangkok eating like crazy Due to the saved money from Banyan Tree we had enough for a buffet. Thus the evil palm rubbing.

Thank you for all the memories and the good time Bangkok! Maybe Chang Mai next time.

HP5-2-4

Nothing brings you back to Manila more than someone in a diaper playing ball on a busy road. HP5-3-4

Just hold on. We can slowly work together for a better future. By starting with ourselves. Let’s be the best possible version of ourself. And as always love and take the most meaningful photos to you.

HP5-1-4

Thank you for reading!

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.

Tri-X-3-3

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/

Tri-X-1-2

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.

Tri-X-1-5

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”

Tri-X-1

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!

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.

Lucky-1

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.

Lucky-3

“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.

Lucky-2

Lucky-5

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

Om2n-3

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)

Om2n-1-2

Om2n with 24mm f2.8 (Ultramax)

Om2n-1-8

Om 50mm f1.8

Om2n-1-6

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

 

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)

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/

Portra-1

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.

gold-3

gold-2

gold-5

gold-4

Light against Dark

gold-8

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.

kodak-1

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.

gold-7

gold-6

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…

roll7-7

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.

roll7-5roll7-8

roll7-1

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.

roll7-2

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

Kawo. Thankfully he’s okay now. 🙂

roll7-10

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