Welcome Back

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Lately, I have been busy doing a lot of things and nothing at the same time. I have been living a routine that can really get taxing, not to mention deadly.

Days have become routinary wherein I look forward to weekends and ignore the rest of the week. Well, that’s how it used to be until I started dreading Fridays too because lately, weekends tend to fleet almost as if they don’t exist anymore. The next thing I know, it’s Monday again and unlike weekends, the other 5 days of the week feel more like years than days, especially when I’m at work. I know what’s in your mind, “she’s become a zombie again!“.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel like with my work schedule, the pay and the fixed weekends off, I get to do more and spend more time with the people I love more than I have ever had in my entire adult life. I can never be more thankful for that, but I know that this is still not the life I have been dreaming of.

Whatever it is though, I still haven’t figured it out. I’m 25, lost and directionless, but I cannot give up now. Not when I get to do more of what I love.

Take for example, the photo above. I could never afford to buy a camera to take that photo and get it printed and paint the exact image with watercolors had I not left my old job. I finally got that “privilege” which I think has brought more inspiration for me to work on my hobbies and passion even more, but I know there’s still something lacking in my life.

Like what I said, I still feel lost. Talk about quarter life crisis. When it feels like everyone I know right now has found their place in this world, it makes me feel envious but it also excites me in a way thinking that one day, I can be in their shoes too, and I believe that.

For now, I’m trying my best not to put aside my hobbies especially not because I’m too tired to do so. I’ve once been told that

“If you’re having a hard time finding motivation in doing what you so called “love doing” than maybe you don’t actually love it? When something is important to you, you make time for it. So if your having a hard time doing that, you may need to reevaluate what you actually enjoy doing. People evolve and so do their interests. It’s natural. “

I still get giddy whenever an opportunity comes for me to get creative and to be able to get down and dirty with art stuff. It is the glucose to my blood therefore making me instantly pumped up and before I know it, my workspace explodes into a mess again!

On our recent trip to divi, I splurged 95% of my money on craft materials. We bought paper mache letters (finally) and when my sister asked me to paint on the ones she bought for an officemate’s birthday surprise, I did it minutes before I went to bed at 2AM. It didn’t matter if I had to wake up only 2 hours after, I cannot not paint on it.

She also asked me to wrap a birthday gift for another co-worker recently and I convinced her that I use my recent finds to cover it up and here’s how it looked like in the end.

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So there you go, I am happy to say that “I’m back baby” and so I’m cutting short my sudden hiatus to the artsy fartsy world!

Work in Progress

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I miss blogging or writing, in general.

Today, someone told me I couldn’t write well. I believed her.

I always thought that I am getting better at this, but it seems like the other way around. I’m regressing and I’m going back from knowing something to have never known at all. It’s like the Benjamin Button of learning, of wisdom and knowledge, of writing.

A few times, I felt like I have never truly learned anything at all. Do I have a problem learning how things work? I guess. Do I have a hard time understanding new concepts? I think. Will I ever learn something I won’t forget soon? I don’t know.

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Sometimes, I still hope that I’m a work in progress. Other times, I just hope. I hope for nothing but good things to come.

I wish that the time would come that I’d figure out how things really work.

Then, I’d dream that there is a right time for everything. I’d dream of me being who I was always meant to be. I love to dream.

What she said was right though. I don’t know how to write well. I haven’t gotten this all figured out, but I’m not hopeless. I never will be, just like the sun never stops rising at the far end of the earth.

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Today, I found another reason to be hopeful for. I know that God has everything planned out. It’s up to us how to figure them out, but how do we stay hopeful? How do we stay strong despite some hurtful words thrown at us? How do we hold on tighter despite circumstances and the odds never being in our favor?

The reason I got from Aida was…

And how that rings true. For everything in life. We can want something so bad, but if it has not been willed for it to happen, it will not happen. Even if the whole world conspired and helped you, if Allah has not willed for it to happen, it will not happen. And if it is bound to happen, even if the whole universe is against you, Allah will make sure it happens.

Film Forever

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On the 5th of May, I will be celebrating my very first, real, film camera’s first birthday. It was such a whirlwind romance between us and now, I can’t imagine my life without it. I never felt so in love with film as much as I am now.

To date, I added 2 more analogue cameras to my collection, maintained a film blog, traveled with the analogue babies and followed and got to know local and foreign film photographers.

Throughout the year that has passed, I’ve learned to love the bittersweet feeling one gets when shooting film. Some photos turn out nah, others look really good while some, you realize, don’t get developed/exposed at all. You’ll also start to see that you’ve learned a lot, but still have a long way to go. You learn everyday, every time you use a new film or a different camera or simply when you teach others how to do it.

You also begin to understand that it doesn’t always have to be about being hi-tech or expensive for one to see and appreciate beauty in photography. It’s not about taking hundreds of photos and hoping you get a good shot and maybe just delete the rest. It takes great patience, understanding and a whole lot of effort and figuring out your own approach in getting a photo to turn out the way you want it to. But when it doesn’t, it can be something way, way better than you have imagined. It’s very unpredictable, film. It can surprise you in a reeeeaaaally good way!

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So how and why did I get into FILM PHOTOGRAPHY?

I bought my very first film camera from a college friend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to make it work. After getting 2 empty film rolls developed, I got very frustrated and I decided I just put it to rest.

Fast forward to a few years after graduation, a former colleague thought I would love his lomography cameras. He sold me his FISHEYE 2 and HOLGA CFN with a free 120mm film. I knew how to use a film camera. I know we used an “instamatic” film camera until I was in high school, but never have I seen a 120 film! I had to research how to load one into the Holga and to tell you honestly, it was pure joy what I felt when I did it. I was like “this is definitely not a thing of the past!”.

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I couldn’t really remember why that colleague thought I would enjoy using his cameras, but now that I think about it, I think I may have poured my heart out once about being a photographer. Also, I think assembling my own plastic toy TLR camera gave me away.

As much as I had the time of my life using these toy cameras, there came a point in my life that I wanted to take the hobby up a notch higher. So, I decided to get myself a real film camera. That’s when I joined the group, Film Photography Swap, where I got my very first real camera, a Canon Ftb QL. It is a heavy, all metal and a very good looking vintage camera. It is fully mechanical and I loved it the moment I laid my eyes on it. That was indeed, the start of my epic film adventure!

Why I got into film is a different story. At first, I just wanted my own camera. I knew I could not afford getting a DSLR as soon as I can get a film SLR so that’s what I invested on first.

I also realized early on that I never learned a thing about photography (except for taking photos with DOF) playing around with my father’s DSLR, so I thought, why not start where almost all great photographers started, with film photography? True enough, most film photographers and enthusiasts alike would say that if you want to learn the craft, you’d have to learn it the hard way. 😛

Kidding aside, I understood all the technical stuff playing around with my camera. I appreciated everything the manual had to say and also what the online photography teachers expounded on. As time went on, I appreciated the unpredictability of the end results, the great effort you put into getting a single photo, the grain, the delayed gratification and not to mention the excitement and the magical feeling you get from beginning to the end.

I often think about the fact that this camera was built in the 70’s when my parents haven’t even met each other yet. It must have been passed on to generations and must have been used to take hundreds of photos, yet it survived long enough to take photos of the modern day world. Doesn’t that sound magical?

Do I see myself going back to digital?

Digital photography will always be the go-to and less risky way to document the most special moments of our lives. That’s why it’s comfortable to use! I still take photos using my phones, and digital may never be completely shut out of my life, but for 90% of the time, I would always prefer to shoot film and rather than megapixels.

What are the two other cameras I recently bought?

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This one’s my first rangefinder. It’s a Yashica Electro 35 G. It’s an aperture-priority camera which means, once you’ve set an aperture on it, it automatically sets the shutter speed. It was customized by the previous owner, rangefinder lover and also a member of the FPS group I mentioned earlier, which explains the red leather cover of the camera body. It came with the complete and original leather case and strap, a rubber lens hood and a lens cap! Definitely a good catch! Plus, I got it in pretty mint condition!
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This one I took using the said rangefinder. Not bad, right? In the photo is the latest analogue camera I got. It’s a Polaroid Automatic 230 Land Camera. It’s very odd-looking, uses peel-apart instant film and looks very intimidating to use, but once you get the hang of it, it seems pretty less complicated than it looks.

So far though, I’ve wasted 2 film sheets because it’s mostly for bright and sunny, outdoor photography. Sometimes, the peeling of the photo causes small parts of the photos to come off as well, especially when the photos have not yet been fully developed (I think). That’s why some of my photos were damaged mildly. Other than that, everything worked smoothly, even the loading of the film which I totally forgot to review before we went on our trip.

Any favorite photos to date?

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I have a few more, but these are definitely climbing up the charts!

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My Own Little Sacrifice

The past weeks, and as I have mentioned in my “Currently” entry, I have been having tiny bits of “suffering”. Yeah they’re not major ones like what Jesus endured during His time on earth but it’s been bothering me for a pretty long time.

  • There’s the little issue with the boyfriend
  • Then my lola’s hospitalization
  • Then there’s my tita’s scary cervical spine injury (she had to stay with us for a while)
  • After everything, came my cholelithiasis/appendicitis scare

In the midst of all these, I was just grabbing hold of Jesus’ hand (trying hard not to let go). I went to St. Pio chapel a couple of times. I even brought my sick tita and cousin there, a week ago. I’m being hopeful and positive still that these are just part of our own little crosses (compared to Jesus’ cross) that we do have to carry, especially since it’s the Lenten season. I was just trying to convince myself to offer everything to God especially in these most trying times because every bad thing will eventually come to pass, right?

True enough, my lola went home and is currently back on her feet (makulit na ulit as of this weekend), my tita didn’t need surgery and is just having therapy thrice a week, my HBT ultrasound was entirely negative and my pancreas, liver and gallbladder are all working fine. B and I are still making it work despite some issues. I’m finally able to breathe again and to cap of the Lenten season, we (my sister pala) booked a 3-day, 2-night stay in Pagudpod to spend time together as a family.

Then came the heartbreaking news, super typhoon Chedeng has just entered the PAR and making it’s way to the north west part of Luzon.

I know it sounds selfish but I’m half-wishing that it would be strong enough to make our trip today worth cancelling, or at least worth a refund of my sister’s money, or perhaps a rebooking or rescheduling? Although, I might not be able to request for another VL, at least not anytime soon.

We were all looking forward to this trip. We’ve been to Ilocos a couple of times the past years because we’ve all just started meeting and catching up with family there. Who knew right? But this was going to be our first time in Pagudpod because no one really liked driving too far up north, in the past. My father has been even having second thoughts days before because he feels like travelling that far by car is whole body pain just waiting to happen.

I want to still be positive on this but I can’t think of anything that can make me feel okay right now. It’s our first Holy Week in our entire lives to go on a vacation. Every year, we’d go on Visita Iglesia without fail. Maybe He just doesn’t want us having fun this week like the rest of the world or at least the rest of the beach loving kids do? But we’ve put it on our itinerary to visit churches in Ilocos, can’t that be valid enough for us to go on to this trip? 😦

Well, I just hope that the storm will spare everyone’s life and homes this week. For now I think, we’ll all just stay at home and rot (not bitter). Kidding aside, I’m still praying for a good time well spent with my family. After all, it’s what this vacation leave is for. I also think that God’s trying to make papansin, asking us to read the Bible or pray. I know I haven’t been reading the Bible lately, though I’ve been praying/asking for a lot. I admit I haven’t been able to thank Him for a lot of things too. Maybe it’s His way of getting our attention, right?

These are my own little sacrifices. I’ve never been this sad about Lent before, but maybe this is how it should truly be observed.

Last night I was tumblr-ing and I can’t help but stop and reflect deeply about this specific post by Spiritual Inspiration:

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“…And in an instant, suddenly, you shall be visited and delivered by the Lord of hosts…” (Isaiah 29:5–6, AMP)

Throughout the Bible, we have examples of how God suddenly showed Himself strong on behalf of His people. But sometimes when we’ve struggled in an area for a long time, it’s easy to just give up and accept things the way they are. One of the enemy’s favorite lies is to tell you that nothing is ever going to change. He’ll tell you that you’re never going to get well, that your marriage isn’t going to work out, that you’re never going to break that addiction. But I want to tell you today, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in those circumstances, God can change things in an instant! In a split second of time, He can turn it all around. One touch of God’s power can heal your body. One touch of His favor can promote you. One touch of His goodness can solve that problem. Just one touch from Almighty God can instantly change your life.

I encourage you today, keep believing, keep standing, and keep hoping. Don’t let the enemy drag your thoughts down because God is working behind the scenes. Your time is coming, and I declare that your breakthrough is going to happen suddenly — in an instant!

and by this one too…

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Currently

This would just be a one time thing since I’m not the type who can sustain any habit of doing something consistently (that sounded redundant). I got this idea from one of the Pinoy film photographers I follow online, GREWLEGS, which in turn, the idea she got from Siddathornton (I think). I’ve seen it on her blog a few times, but it just didn’t appeal to me to make me want to do it myself, despite me being a big fan of survey-type blog posts.
Anyhow, I wanted to try it this time because it’s an organized and more catchy way of writing what’s “currently” up in my life.

R E A D I N G  I thought I’d buy a book that’s not too mental, but would definitely still have that “NY bestseller” statement on top just to be sure that it’s good! I also had to control the urge to buy another art book, so what I got was Junot Diaz’ This Is How You Lose Her. Together with Michael Langford’s 35mm Handbook, these are what I currently have in my bag everyday.

W R I T I N G  After so long, I started writing again, thanks to this “Currently” prompt

L I S T E N I N G  to F21’s winter 2015 playlist, in the hope of finding that particular song I forgot to take note of while shopping 2 days ago

T H I N K I N G  of a lot currently. Mostly extremes like the good and the bad, the future and the past.

S M E L L I N G  like fish, danggit, specifically. My brother’s here for the next few days/Holy Week and as usual, he brought home Cebu specialties.

W I S H I N G  for the super typhoon “Chedeng” to spare the Philippines this holy week.

H O P I N G  I’m hoping that these coming 9 months would be so much better than the first 3. So far, I’ve patched up some broken relationships, spent time with my family and friends and sacrificed a lot –not a bad thing, (hoping) that all of it would eventually come to pass.

W E A R I N G  This “TheFutureIsAnalog” shirt I ripped the design off online and had my officemate, who owns her own printing business, made. I wore it this morning on our little photowalk around the village with my cousin, while lugging around our analog stuff. 🙂 Feel na feel!

L O V I N G  my cameras altogether. They’re currently what I’m loving or not to mention obsessing over the past couple of weeks! I’m also loving the time I get to spend with my family these past days. We suprised our lola during the weekend and had a pre and post-celebration of my sister’s and cousin’s birthdays respectively.

W A N T I N G more moments and scenic places to capture. I also want my very own TLR, printer and more artsy fartsy stuff even if I go broke!

N E E D I N G  more plans for the future!

F E E L I N G  not too excited about the storm coming, but still hopeful that it wouldn’t be that bad! I also feel happy I met a really nice photographer through instagram and had a nice chat with him! I was scared at first though, thinking that he wants to buy my cameras! I’m a protective mother to my kids! haha!

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Our early morning photowalk buddies