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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3rd roll

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Finally had 2 rolls of film processed today! It took them 2 hours to develop and scan the said rolls of my most awaited Centuria photos (which was an hour late), but I managed to brush off every bit of urge to complain and tada, out goes my ever so random photos!

It was my first time to go to Picture City for film processing and I was surprised to know that they were already using a Noritsu scanner as well! So instead of having a scan resolution of 1545 x 1024 just like my previous rolls developed in Mitsubishi Digital, I got them scanned with a whopping resolution of 3089 x 2048!!! My computer cannot even read them properly and fast enough as the photos were so huuuuuuuge! Although I found a few scratches and splotches such as the one in the middle of the photo above which might have been caused by improper handling or damaged lens. Nonetheless, I’m still very happy with the results! 🙂 I can finally post more photos on my photoblog!

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By the way, I didn’t know that I took a photo of myself wearing the same shirt I wore to the store today. This was taken a few weeks ago and it looked like I love this shirt sooooooo much!!! 🙂

Why shoot film?

I draw inspiration from a LOT of people who still shoot film in this day and age. They make me feel motivated and great about living the analog way!

So why shoot film?
After watching this amazing documentary, I realized, I still have a lot more to experience and thus learn in capturing great moments in film. Nonetheless, I also recognize the similarities I have with these photographers. Not that I’m as good as them (yet), but the reasons we have in choosing this over digital and the high-tech counterparts are very, very much in line with each other.

I for one like film because it’s much more MAGICAL. It’s also very technical and challenging. It makes you feel like a pro! It helped me learn more about photography unlike when I was using a dslr. It taught me the real principles about getting a right photo. It makes me appreciate the things I take photos of rather than just being trigger happy with digital cameras. Since you only get 24 or 36 shots per film, you realize that every shot counts and that it’s going to take you quite some time to acquire films again, so why waste it with a bad shot? The waiting is the most exciting part! Of course you wouldn’t have a screen behind the camera to view the photos you’ve taken, so you’ll have to wait until you have it processed or until you have money to pay for the processing. Lastly, even though you get the wrong exposures, in the end, you feel like it’s part of the bargain of getting into film photography, then you move on and try to take better photos next time.

I loved every single photographer they interviewed for this documentary. They have different personalities yet they appear to be one in their belief in the analog photography. I have never been more inspired and this is one hobby I’m never going to get tired of!

MY favorite line from one of the interviewees:
“People act like films are difficult, but think about it, your grandmother used to do it, how hard can it be?” -Neal Carpenter (Byron Georgia)

**P.S. now because of this, I want to shoot videos the old way too! Remember the video camera of Anne Hathaway in “Love and Other Drugs”? I think I saw someone selling it online! ***drooools***