The world can be an ugly place if you let it have its way, so I find it essential to expose myself to the good, the beautiful, the pretty, the cool. Tonight I paid a visit to interior decor/furniture store Heima to attend the opening of Southern Stories, a two-man photography exhibit by Charles Buenconsejo and Aleyn Comprendio. Wistful, nostalgic, subtle, their photos have a distinct childlike mood, which is I think what the artists were going for. Both sets were shot on film, which gives the photos their subdued quiet character.

My wife and I were happy we went. Since Diego was born, it’s been harder for us to join events like this since we don’t have a stay-in nanny. Tonight, we took him along, his first “hipster” shindig. He was, of course, too cool for school and slept through the entire thing.

"Grace" is our favorite piece.

This is Aleyn. Wasn't able to take Charles' photo.

Wall of Prettiness

Flippin' through records

My type of mood lamp

Tools of the trade

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More photos may be found here.

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I recently received a shipment of expired slide film from a seller in the States, and among the rolls of old Sensia and Provia I found several rolls of Photo Porst ChromeX100. I’d never yet shot with this film stock before, though I’d read many good things about it from local users. I was eager to try it out.

Loading a roll into an Olympus XA3, I took the film for a spin in and around Manila, Lemery and Taal. Below are some of the results.

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Sky over Taal

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Sidewalk Nap

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Ex-house

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Leggy Wife

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School Zone

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Intramuros Skate Park

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Inside Orale!

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Mother and Child

 Not bad for film that expired in 2003, no?

When you analyze the photos in Photoshop, you’ll see that the age of the film has caused it to lose image data from the low end of the red channel and high end of blue, resulting in the distinct color tint  you see in the photos. There’s almost a Mello Yello-Mountain Dew quality to the shots.

I tried to find out more about the film but didn’t learn much more. It was sold and distributed by Photo Porst, Germany’s largest camera retailer at one point but is sure to be a rebadged film stock from Japan. Some folks say it’s Fuji Sensia under all that Deutsche-ness. I can’t tell. What I can tell is that I have only two rolls left.

Gotta make those count.

For the full set of photos, go to the Travelomo Facebook page.

What a busy, crazy month its been since I wrote about wanting to post photography fundamentals here on Travelomo.com. Sorry if I’ve kept you waiting, but here we go. I’d like to start out this series with a topic that befuddles many beginners: exposure.

Details in both shadow and highlight make this a properly exposed photo

Definition of Exposure

So, what is exposure? The definition of exposure, according to Wikipedia, is “the total amount of light allowed to fall on the photographic medium  during the process of taking a photograph.” In simpler words, it’s the amount of light that hits your film to produce an image.

Three variables determine a photograph’s exposure. The first is aperture (which is just another word for “opening”). The second is shutter speed (the amount of time your camera lets in light). The third is ISO (the sensitivity of your film to light). The first two variables regulate the amount of light that enters a camera. The third determines how much light is needed to burn an image onto the recording medium (the higher the ISO, the less light needed for a shot). Understanding the relationship among these three variables is fundamental to our understanding of what exposure is and how to control it.

The Drinking Glass Analogy

The Drinking Glass Analogy

There are several analogies used to illustrate this relationship, but my favorite is the one that uses a drinking glass, a faucet and some water.  You can actually go and do this in real life, just to drive the point in.

The drinking glass represents a blank frame of film, while the water represents light. In order to create a photo, you have to fill that glass up by opening the tap and letting the water flow. Now, you can open the tap just a little bit to let the water drip out slowly. Or, you can open it wide to fill that glass up fast. The tap represents your first control, aperture. The second control is shutter speed, which is represented by the time you keep the faucet running. The third variable, ISO, is represented by the size of your glass. If ISO 50 is a huge Slurpee cup, ISO 800 is a shot glass. (more…)

For the folks who received cameras last Christmas, welcome to the fold! It’s a wonderful hobby, this photography thing, whether you shoot digital or film, have the most advanced of gear or the  simplest of cameras, are in it to express your creative longings or are in it because it’s the in thing to do.

You’ve probably already shot the hell out of your new toy. Are you pleased with the results? If this is the very first time you’ve used a camera, a film one at that, you may be wondering: where are all the awesome shots I was expecting? Where are the crazy colors? What happened to the vignettes? Why’s it too dark? Why’s it too light? Why’s it all black? This is, of course, if you’re honest. Many new photographers like to convince themselves that their photos are award-worthy, even though they’re just photos of random clouds.

We all want to be better photographers, and the first step towards becoming one is admitting there’s a lot to learn. That means you. That means me. Photography requires us to understand some things, the basics, before we move on to the meatier stuff. To help everyone along, especially the beginners, I’ve decided to embark on a series of articles on the fundamentals of photography. Rather than go all technical, I’ll be focusing more on the basic principles of the art and craft.

I’m not a professional photographer, just an avid amateur, so this serves as a refresher course for me as well. I don’t live and breathe photography the way folks like Scott Kelby or Kevin Meredith do, so a return to beginnings can only serve to deepen my own understanding of this hobby.

We’ll tackle topics like exposure, shutter speed and aperture. ISO/ASA as well. Basic composition and framing, depth of field, panning, the Sunny 16 Rule of course. If I can find guest bloggers, that’d be great, a breath of fresh air to be sure. All that and more. But, I am asking for your forgiveness in advance. I can only write these when I find the time. Some weeks, it’ll come fast and frequent. Other times, it’ll be an agonizing drip-feed. Gotta prioritize writing that puts food on the table, heh.

Well, that serves as our introduction to the course. Now let me go and prepare the first lesson. Cheers.

 

LomoManila's LoFi #3

LomoManila's LoFi #3

The Philippines has a much more active Lomo community than one would expect for a developing country, and one reason why this is so is because of the efforts of Lomomanila to popularize the art.

Lomomanila started out in 2003 as a mailing list of Lomo enthusiasts and has grown by leaps and bounds in membership and activity in the six years it’s been around. They organize contests and exhibits, take photowalks, trade gear and film, share information and technique, and party like there’s no tomorrow.

They also come out with a semi-regular online magazine called LoFi.  

Here is the cover of LoFi #3, which came out last year. It’s a special on sensual lomography, and features some well-crafted ethereal photos and interesting essays. There’s a bit of nudity so you might want to view this when your boss isn’t hovering about. For mature audiences. It’s available for download as a pdf, but you’ll have to sign up on Lomomanila.ph first.  Once in, you can go to this page to find the download:  http://tinyurl.com/bekszp

Another issue, LoFi #2, is available for public consumption at http://lomomanila.ph/lofi2.html

Issue #5 is in the works.  I’ll let you know when it’s in the can.

 

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! 

On my recent trip to Hong Kong, I was faced with a difficult purchasing choice: to get a Superheadz Demekin (see previous entry) or a Superheadz Golden Half.  The Golden Half is an interesting little thing, so named because it shoots 35mm film but at half frame, meaning for a 36 shot roll you get 72. It’s got two aperture settings, f/8 and f/11 as well as a hotshoe for fun strobist action.  While I may have bought the Demekin, the Golden Half remains on my must-have camera list. 

 This means that my favorite pop culture girl has one up on me.  Genie Ranada is no stranger to gadgets. She is the lifestyle editor for the tech magazine T3 and is one of the few people I know who’ve been featured on Boingboing.net (no I am not saying why or what for).  She has BOTH a Demekin and a Golden Half. She takes great pictures, to boot! Here are some of her Golden Half shots, all taken during the Dec 08 holidays in Laoag, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. Fuji Provia 100F slide film was used and cross-processed. Enjoy!

 

angelchurch

angelchurch

 

bluebeetle

bluebeetle

 

cemeteryblues

cemeteryblues

 

cloud9

cloud9

 

cross+cherubs

cross+cherubs

 

texicano

texicano

 

If you want to see more of Genie’s Golden Half photographs, do visit her multiply site

 

Oh, and this is what the Superheadz Golden Half looks like. If you want one of your own, Oh Shoot! sells them, too. 

Superheadz Golden Half
Superheadz Golden Half