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.
Casual-1
So boring that even the subject fell asleep.
Being mindful and applying a little contrast improved some my shot.
Casual-2
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.
Casual-3
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.
roll6-ektar-6
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.
Casual-5
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.
Casual-6
Breakfast in bed. Yes that’s his bed.
Cle-1
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.
Printing-1-4
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!
Advertisements

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.

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).

Superia 16000-12

Superia 16000-2

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!

Superia 16000-5

Superia 16000-1Superia 16000-7Superia 16000-6

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

Superia 16000-8

Superia 1600 giving a great rendition of skin tones.

Superia 16000-11

Superia 16000-3

“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/

Portra-1

Nikon F3 50mm 1.4/ Kodak Portra 400

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