Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adventures in Film: of failures and fortunes

The horror stories have come true. It fell straight on my lap a few weeks ago at (ironically) one of the best beaches in the world.

I was banking on my Pentax MV-1 to take the better photos of my trip but it conked out on me before I could even feel the sand on my feet. I sensed my camera's failure to participate earlier on at the airport. It hung while I accidentally took a shot with the wrong aperture setting. We had to open it up to unfreeze it exposing a fresh batch of expired film. The knob also stopped twisting each time I wound my film for another shot. That made me nervous. But I still kept clicking hoping something magical was happening inside.

Sadly, there wasn't much magic going around this time. I had my film processed at Quiapo and found fuggly things. Note that I tried my best to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But really, they weren't even weird enough to call "artsy".

I went back to Dado's store to show my disappointment and he immediately gave me another camera to replace it with. This time, a fully manual Ricoh. (which he explained is the same maker as Pentax)

I'm not sure I'm ready to go fully manual yet. But life has a strange way of throwing you into the water even without knowing how to swim.

On the bright side, (cause there's always a bright side)

My Superheadz UWS surprised me with an amazing bunch of photos. Vignettes and light leaks? HEAVEN. Good thing I have you by my side, Slim White Angel! :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Adventures in Film: Pentax MV-1

It was probably the impulsive part of me that went to Quiapo that day and definitely the reckless spender Kaye that hoarded a bunch of film and a new camera (not two weeks after I bought my first)

But like any hobbyist would do, I defended my purchases in my head like a courtroom case and pleaded not guilty.

 I do not regret the things I bought mainly because they're cheap and useful. Elvin told me his college friends would buy cameras at Hidalgo (a street in Quiapo) for their film classes back in the day. This was a foreign concept to me, given we never had a photography class in school. So I set the date and told him to reserve Sunday for a little Manila adventure.

The day came and we headed to Hidalgo for a sweaty scavenger hunt. All the cameras are housed in a street called Hidalgo. It was in one of the smaller stalls that Elvin had his magical moment with a fully manual Fujica. Despite the unknown brand he took a liking to it because of it's color and the comfort he felt when he held it in his hands to shoot. I guess when you're looking for a vintage camera it isn't so much about the specs but more about how it feels for you. Boy, the shop owner told us that most vintage cameras were built to last and it felt that way.

 Now it was time to search for mine. Across Boy's shop we saw another one just like his. The banner said "DAD'S CAMERAS" and the owner introduced himself as Dado. He showed me a Pentax MV-1. He explained what aperture priority meant and how it isn't as manual as Elvin's but it was a good camera to start with. We bought both for 2,500. They threw in a strap and a full cleaning.

Afterwards we went to a few other shops to buy film. Most were expired, which was perfect! I even got to find a few boxes of Agfa 100. Expired colored films go for about 50 pesos while B&W go for about 200+. We drove to The Collective to do some test shots.

Here are some of my favorites:

All of these are taken with a Pentax MV-1 and Fuji Superia X-TRA ISO 400 film :)

On the bright side, the shots turned out well. But somehow, from shot 26 to 36 all shots were overlapped on two frames. WEIRD. I'll be heading back to Quiapo to have it fixed.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Adventures in Film: Superheadz Ultra Wide Lens

Film photography has always been an itch I wanted to scratch. My first Lomo camera was a Diana F+. Sadly, that didn't really work well for me. Two rolls in and most of the shots were still a chaotic mixture of over exposure and weird lens dust. Plus the developing took too much from my weekly college money (which back then wasn't much at all) so I decided to just give it up and let the camera gather dust.

But after being overly spoiled by my iPhone and VSCO, the guilt of over-manipulation got to me. Every time I'd snap a photo I would edit in as much grit and grain as I could, a little light leak here and there and sometimes, a vignette. I was trying to be a film copycat and my conscience was telling me to stop!!! (it may be that, or it may also be just because I need something new in my life)

Whichever the case, I researched heavily online for the best camera that wouldn't traumatize me at first roll. As I was going through this I stumbled upon a cute-colored tiny camera called the Superheadz Ultra Wide Lens which is an exact replica of a Vivitar UWS. After much research and canvassing, I ended up making a purchase at Filipino online site - They only had white, so that's what I got. (I don't regret it, since the finish looks easy to clean. Initially I was a bit nervous about that.)

Getting the right film was another tricky egg to crack. There were just too many to choose from but thanks to the internet I found that a Superheadz UWS will only take photos successfully with an ISO 400 film with all shots taken in broad daylight.

I followed the orders to the dot and pick up these:

For my first try I put in a Fujifilm X-TRA 400 roll (which I don't regret, show you why later.) Looking back, my first roll consisted mainly of shots taken by trigger happy fingers. I just wanted to keep shooting and so absolutely everything became my subject. But it was really fun, so I wouldn't mind doing that again.

Online I've been reading that most of time, with a camera like a Superheadz, only a few of your shots come out. So earlier today as Elvin and I went to a shop in Quiapo to have the roll developed, my tummy was getting kuhrazy flipfloppy. But after two hours we found out that 38/38 shots came through!! YAHOOOOO! (yeah, I was THAT happy)

Elvin and I made friends with a few shop owners at Hidalgo. After buying two cameras from them (which deserves its own blog entry), we managed to squeeze as much tips and tricks as we could. So one thing I learned is that apparently, the film says 36 shots but really there's 2 extra just in case you make a mistake loading the film in your camera. Pretty cool huh?

This is why mine came out with 38 shots. All in all, I'm just happy they came out at all. A lot of the shots didn't take to my liking in terms of framing, but then that's all on me. I guess I still have to get used to the wide angle. But in terms of color, it pulled through! For a first roll, I'm quite satisfied and yes, my film camera fears easily went out the window. So if you're looking for a first toy camera to try, this one is highly recommended. :)

Below are some of my favorite photos.

On the bright side, we're going to Bora next weekend. Can't wait to snap more photos! 

Till then, work awaits. 



Monday, February 24, 2014

Fluffy Pie

This weekend I had a taste of some fluffy pie. The flavors? Strawberry and Lemon.

Kafka is a mixed breed. She's half maltese and half shitzu. Her husband Copper is half terrier and half I-don't-really-know. Interestingly, they mated and formed really cute babies.

Just two weeks ago they were as tiny as lemon drops.

Now they're too fluffy to handle.  

Please don't grow up too fast? 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chiang Mai Adventure

Oh Chiang Mai, it's been a couple of months since I walked your quaint streets and yet I'm still here, smitten, like a love struck 16-year old dying for another kiss.

Okay I'm getting over dramatic.

In my defense, I haven't fallen in deep and total love with a place since Williamsburg. The best part though, is that I didn't have to go through it alone. Finally I had another soul to share it with.

I have to admit, Mikka and I had no idea what Chiang Mai had to offer till we actually got there. Originally we only booked a ticket for the Sky Lantern Festival. It was supposed to be a quick stop over before heading to Bangkok. We expected an artsy province, but really, without any photos for reference we landed in the airport completely oblivious of what to expect.

But life, like it always does, surprised us.

Here are a few things we picked up about the place. Hopefully by the end of this entry, you'll figure out why I'm grossly in love.

In Chiang Mai... 
1. Hotels: a series of open doors. No guards, no gates.
(We stayed at this beautiful place called Come Chiang Mai)

2. Transportation: Bicycles

3. Restaurants: Al Fresco 

4. Shopping: quirky and cheap 

(probably the best street shopping i've been to, not just because it's cheap but because there were so many bespoke things for sale.)  

5. Fruits: FRESH 

6. Dogs: friendly 

7.  People: interesting 

8. Art: is everywhere 

9.  Coffee: strong  

10. Coffee Shops: unique 

 11. Books: second hand

12. Kaye: very happy 

Fly to the Bright Side

In Tolkien's words, not all those who wander are lost.