Dememod

Dememod

Just a quickie.

I’ve said before that, when using the Demekin, you have to be careful of your horizons. This being a fisheye camera that’s really tiny, it’s easy to get your horizons off.  To mitigate this, I bought an el cheapo level and doubletaped it to the top of the camera with the viewfinder as an added anchor point.

Easiest mod in the world. Total cost, 50 cents.

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Fujicolor 110

Fujicolor 110

The problem with cameras such as the Superheadz Demekin, my vote for 2009 Travelomo Camera of the Year, is that the damn things use obsolete film formats. This makes it impossible to just go into any camera store and buy a few rolls off the rack. Early last month I ran out of 110 film, having only about six shots left for a trip to Negros Occidental. The pity is that Negros Occidental is a beautiful place to shoot.

This Christmas break (for you non-Filipinos reading this, this means the entire week from Christmas Eve to January 3), my family and I are going up to Kiangan in Ifugao province, up in the mountains of the northern Philippines. It’s a beautiful place – we’ve been there twice before. Kiangan features gorgeous mountain vistas, great hiking terrain, a river where you can go whitewater rafting with verdant fields and ravines on both banks. A half-hour’s drive and you’ve got the Banawe Rice Terraces, which you’ve all seen on Discovery Travel & Living as well as many of the travel books which feature the Philippines.

It would be just sad if I failed to capture this on 110.

An emergency trip to the Oh Shoot Toy Camera store before hitting the office was in order. It was a risk going there because I had no idea if it would still be open this close to Christmas break. Good thing it was. Proprietor Jill Lejano was on-hand to sell me the 110 cartridges I needed. At 80 pesos a pop (US$1.70) for Fujicolor ASA 200s isn’t bad at all. However, Jill tells me that 110 film is getting increasingly hard to come by. That worries me because I use a lot of 110 film. Time to look for other sources. Eight rolls is more than enough for this trip. I also bought a spirit level to attach to the Demekin to keep my horizons straight. It’s not as easy as you think!

Oh Shoot's Eco-friendly Packaging

Oh Shoot's Eco-friendly Packaging

Anyway, this may be my last post until after Christmas so, Happy Holidays from me and Travelomo!

The Ruins

"The Ruins" is an old mansion owned by the Lacsons of Negros Occidental that was razed by USAFFE and guerrilla forces during the second world war to prevent the Japanese from using it as a headquarters.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I flew to Silay City in the province of Negros Occidental in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. I had managed to book cheap seats and we thought it would be a good chance to visit our godmother, take in the sights and, uhm, binge on the excellent local cuisine.

Now, Silay is known as the “Paris of Negros,” a seat of Visayan culture and art, and has been declared a “museum city.” It has many well-preserved heritage mansions, which used to be where the sugar barons of the island lived, as well as old churches and buildings you can visit.

Along for the trip was my Superheadz Demekin which, sadly, had only a few shots left. The tough thing about 110 film is that it isn’t readily available from your corner photo store anymore. Despite Silay having its feet firmly anchored in old world charm, that didn’t extend to photography supplies.

Here then are the few shots I have on 110, shot in Silay and the adjacent city of Talisay. Next time I visit, I’ll make sure I put in my order for film way in advance.

Silay Church

My bad. I forgot to take down the name of this church.

As my wife often says, my memory is crap. Again, I forgot what this place is called. I took a photo of the sign, but I haven't yet downloaded it to this notebook. The place is wonderfully maintained, though, and is worth the visit, just to see how the sugar barons of the past lived.

The Ruins is currently in a state of meticulously-manicured, restored ruin, a venue for special events or an evening dinner at its cafe.

The place is located in Talisay City, not far from the Pepsi Cola plant. It's just about fifteen minutes' drive from Silay City.

Chalk it up to surfers to name a place after a confection. Cloud 9, possibly the best, most consistent surf break in the Philippines is named after a local chocolate bar (which you can buy in the small stores smattered about Cloud 9 and General Luna). Located in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte in the Philippines, Cloud 9 gained a faithful surf following in the late 80s and continues to lure surfers from around the world.

I shot these with two Superheadz 110 cameras, the fisheye Demekin and the standard Noah’s Cam. Unfortunately these cameras don’t come with telephoto, so no photos of surfers.

Cloud 9

Cloud 9 @Superheadz Demekin ©Karlo Samson

Cloud 9 with the Family

Cloud 9 with the Family@Superheadz Demekin ©Karlo Samson

Long Walk

Long Walk @Superheadz Demekin ©Karlo Samson

Mrs. Travelomo

Mrs. Travelomo @Superheadz Demekin ©Karlo Samson

Long Walk

Long Walk @Superheadz Noah's Cam ©Karlo Samson

Mrs. Travelomo Again

Mrs. Travelomo Again @Superheadz Demekin ©Karlo Samson

Travelomo Feets

Travelomo Feets @Superheadz Noah's Cam ©Karlo Samson

 

So, I took the Demekin out for a spin last week, taking photos of the office compound and nearby Eastwood City mall. Here’s what I learned:

 

1. The Demekin needs a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of light for it to take a decent shot. Bright day, strong, direct sun.
2. The fisheye lens means I have to get closer to my subjects.
3. Don’t wind the film until you are ready to shoot. The shutter button is unprotected and easy to press accidentally.
4. Stand still while shooting. No drive by snapshots. The shutter is relatively slow.
5. People like the Demekin and will invariably ask you about it. Be prepared for a short chat.

 

Here are some of my test shots:
shadowy

shadowy

 

crosswalk low

crosswalk low

 

total bunting

total bunting

 

fountain fisheye

fountain fisheye

 

forklift forking

forklift forking

 

More photos are posted on my multiply account: here.  Do let me know what you think. Cheerios! 

Say hello to my brand spanking new Demekin camera from those Japanese folks over at Superheadz.  Found this baby in my recent trip to Hong Kong, at a small boutique-slash-gallery along Gough Street called Gallery de Vie.

One of the more exotic toy cameras around, the Demekin is the first ever fisheye camera that uses the 110 format, a film standard popular in the seventies and early eighties and is quite hard to find today.  It has a plastic fisheye lens that gives you 146 degrees of coverage, an aperture of f/8.9, and a shutter speed of 1/100sec.

I managed to buy ten rolls of 110 film from my new favorite camera store Oh Shoot! (see previous post)  at 80 pesos a pop (that’s about a dollar seventy in US$) .  Since the film format is hard to come by, I plan on using this camera sparingly. With its diminutive size and light weight, the Demekin is the perfect camera for a pet project that’s long been gestating in my head. Will post sample shots soon.

 

Superheadz Demekin Finds a Home

Superheadz Demekin Finds a Home