Hello peoples. I did a thing. Watch the thing! Sorry for the audio. Thanks.
This lens is certainly not new having come out a good two or three years ago now. But since its announcement, I have been lusting after this lens like no one's business. Before this I was using a Nikon 28mm f/2.8 prime lens for my wide angle shots. In fact I talked about that one in this blog post titled "A Wider View" This lens has served me well, and there are things I love about it the greatest of which would be its compact size as it is a prime lens after all.
But there were things I hated about it, and I really wanted a good wide angle zoom. The Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 seemed like the only way to go and, although I always try to stick to first party lenses, it just didn't really catch my attention. But Tamron certainly did.
I have played around with some Tamron lenses in the past and found them lacking in many areas. Their build quality just wasn't that great, their image quality was just so-so, and they just never really won me over as a whole (though I have heard that the 70-200 is great too). This 15-30 is anything but all those nasty things that I just mentioned.
As far as image quality goes this lens just blows me away. I have never thought of third party lenses looking that great as far as image quality is concerned, but this lens shows that Tamron has really stepped up their game and made something to compete with the first party manufacturers. Personally coming from the old 28mm I can say that at all focal lengths this lens is leaps and bounds better. I mean, it should be, the 28mm is really an old lens from another era. It isn't fair to compare the two but I can't help it as these are two lenses that I own. The 28mm had really weird distortion, lots of vignetting, lots of chromatic aberration, and a whole bunch of stuff besides.
Of course the Tamron has "distortion" towards the edges as well. But that is just the nature of really wide angle lenses, not a design flaw. But I have yet to see any vignetting or chromatic aberration, and the lens is amazingly sharp. The only downfall to this lens is that it is big and heavy. I mean that too just look at how big it makes my Nikon D610. This lens can be walked around with, but if you are planning a long hike up a mountain, this is one to go in the backpack, not around your neck.
Aside from the size and weight, I have no gripes with this lens so far. I am loving it. I am sure that in the next year or so Tamron will come out with an updated version, but for now this is the wide angle to buy.
That's all. Just wanted to share my thoughts on my new lens. Maybe this will help someone debating to buy it or not like I was.
I have been to Tokyo a few times and each time I make it a point to start my trip eating Tonkotsu ramen and end my trip eating Tonkotsu ramen. I experienced this amazing dish on my first trip to Japan. Before then ramen, to me, was basically that stuff you add water to and throw in the microwave. Eating the stuff in Japan was a wake up call. If you have never tried Tonkotsu ramen, done the right way, then you are really missing out on one of life's soul foods.
What is Tonkotsu ramen? Tonkotsu is a ramen served in a pork bone broth. The broth is usually milky off white and thick, served almost too hot to be eaten right away, with slices of pork, scallions, and an assortment of oils and salts. In some ways this ramen is considered a kind of fast food, but not like the fast food we are used to as Americans. It is thick, heavy, delicious, and if eaten on a cold day, one will want to go to sleep right after. At least, that is how it is done in Japan.
In Texas, that is another story altogether. Texas has a relatively low Asian population. Places like Austin and Houston have a significantly higher population than other parts of Texas, but as a whole the population is small. As such, the demand and expertise for authentic Asian cuisine is lacking. That doesn't mean that there aren't ramen shops in San Antonio, where I am from. But the ramen from these places is as far from authentic as you can get. I have found some that I like for sure, but I always go away feeling disappointed that I cannot find anything like what I experienced in Japan.
So when I came to New York, I was excited to try what they think of as authentic ramen. There is a much larger population of Asian Americans and expats here in New York, as you can imagine, so the demand for good Asian food is much higher. Being the skeptic I am, I wasn't expecting completely authentic food, but I was definitely hoping for better than what we have in Texas. Ichiran in Brooklyn was the place I chose to try first, and I am glad I did.
Ichiran did not disappoint. This place looks like any other Asian food restaurant from the outside, but on the inside is where it gets a little interesting. Ichiran seems to want to keep the authentic experience of ordering ramen intact and they have done that wonderfully. It all starts with an order form where you circle everything you want in your ramen (in Japan you would usually have a kiosk to order from). You only get one type of ramen though, but you can customize it in a bunch of ways to make it your own.
The place is small, a little cramped, and completely private as you eat if you want it. Just like in Japan. The photo to the right is a little cubicle where you sit and slurp down your piping hot ramen. You never see the person serving said ramen, and there is a divider keeping you from the person next to you (the divider folds up if you are eating with someone). The staff is polite, helpful, and does a great job dealing with new people unsure on how to navigate this restaurant as it can be a little confusing at first.
The real star of the show, however, is the ramen. Despite there only being one ramen to choose from, what you get is completely amazing, and completely authentic. I never expected such a taste from a place in the U.S. and I am glad that I was wrong.
I have really nothing to complain about with Ichiran, the whole place is well worth it, however if I had to dig for complaints, I guess it is a little pricey at almost $19 before any add ons, but I think the price is well deserved anyway. You also have very little options as far as different ramen types, and no real options as far as drinks. They have matcha and a few Japanese beers but that's all. Also, it can get busy, and the restroom situation is a little annoying as there are only two unisex single toilet restrooms. The restrooms were clean, however, and I just had to deal with a bit of a line. I guess they were also really afraid of running out of toilet paper too because...
That's it. I loved this place and I will try to go once more before we leave because it is just that good. If you want to try it for yourself, this is the address: 374 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206. I suggest going after lunch time as it gets a bit busy.
I suppose this post will be a little bit of an update for anyone scrolling through my blog, but it will also be to talk about the clay and art festival here in San Antonio.
First, I haven't been posting because I have not been doing anything. This is a fact that has been getting to me lately. If I was not posting because I was too busy with some big epic project, that would be one thing. My situation as it stands now, however, is anything but, and writing on my blog is somewhat therapeutic so what a lucky reader you are...!
Recently I have been stuck in a rut. My "day job" is not something I am entirely thrilled to be doing. Since moving back from Korea I took up my old job as a security officer and I was kind of stuck taking the night shift again. So right now I am working a job I don't entirely like, staying up all night, and sleeping all day. Add school to that during the day, and I am just way too tired to do anything creative. All I have wanted to do recently is be at home doing absolutely nothing on my days off. During the week I want to be out doing stuff, furthering my photography skills specifically, but being backed into a corner and not being able to. I just feel time passing me away and I hate it, especially having experienced something like living in Korea.
All that to say that I am not happy in my current situation, and I am equally unhappy that I am not furthering my blog, website, and Youtube channel. I have all of these ideas, but I don't know how to execute them.
Anyway that brings me to the clay and art festival in San Antonio this past weekend. I was driving to school from work at 8 am thinking, "I really need to do something this weekend or I am going to lose my mind," and listening to NPR. Luckily I heard about this festival from NPR happening at the museum of art on Saturday. If you are thinking, "that sounds really boring," I wouldn't disagree with you. I was reluctant to go as well, but anything was better than nothing. It was either go to this or sit at home, and this event sounded better.
Sounded better, sure, but in reality, it was much like how you would imagine it to be. I packed up a camera (in this case my Sony a6500 that I bought and have used like... twice) and headed out excited to have an excuse to be doing something and curing my cabin fever. But really this wasn't that special of an event. Nothing against the artists at all. All of their work was magnificent and I have nothing but respect for their craft, even if it is not a medium I am thrilled about. But it definitely wasn't my kind of event. To that end, if you are not much into this artwork, it is not an event for you either. I was expecting... well, a festival, I suppose. But what I saw was a trade show, and a small one at that.
The whole thing took place in the courtyard of the museum of art downtown, which is small in itself, and was... well... a lot of pottery. If you are into this sort of thing, or you are in the market for handmade pottery, then this is definitely the event for you. But if you are like me and would like to go with no particular interest in the main shtick, then this will be pretty boring.
I hope by now you can discern my disappointment with the event. Perhaps I am being a little harsh on it because it meant something else to me, or rather, I had my expectations set too high. Though I cannot imagine someone being happy with this "festival" unless they knew exactly what was in store for them.
Not all I have to say is negative though. There were definitely some very good artists there with excellent displays. Also, the event was completely free unless you wanted to buy a piece. Again, much like a trade show. One booth absolutely stood above the rest for me and you will see her work at the bottom of this post. Her whole family is a team who works together to create their art and it is amazing. You can see her work on her website here: https://squareup.com/store/PatriciaCastillo Seriously, check her out if you are interested in this sort of thing.
All in all I was disappointed with this little excursion, but I think that it just wasn't for me. I need to make some changes in my life and I certainly have some ideas in mind which may mean that this blog and other outlets of mine will be a little more active in the future. Hopefully.
As another update, I will be in New York at the end of this month. I booked a flight for my mom and I. She has always wanted to see New York and I love to travel so I figured I would do that with my mom. If you are interested, keep an eye right here for some posts from New York. Until then, that's it, thanks for stopping by.
Do you remember that first "love of your life," back in like... middle school? You were in love within the span of like, a week, and your love was absolutely eternal. But then about a month later, it turns out it wasn't so eternal after all. Now you're having to explain, "it's not you, it's me."
Well, Ferrania P30, it's not you, it's me.
A few weeks ago I made a video about my thoughts on Ferrania P30 film which you can see here. In the video I was completely honest about my thoughts on the film and I actually really liked it. I still do like it... just not in THAT WAY. Do you understand? No? You see, I like you more as a companion film, not as a main film, that's all.
All joking aside, I have come to realize that I might not like Ferrania P30 as much as I thought I did. I like it, yes, but my initial reaction to it was somewhat of a new love scenario. I was blinded by my infatuation and couldn't see what was really in front of me.
I came to this conclusion recently after trying out my second roll of P30 which you will be seeing throughout this post. For this roll I wanted to see how this film looked "pushed." When you push film, basically you take whatever iso/asa rated film you have and you increase that iso by, usually, 1, 2, or 3 stops. (More, sometimes, or in half increments, but you get the point.) Then you develop it for the new speed you pushed it to. Doing this means you have effectively a more light sensitive film, but also more grain and more contrast. So with P30 it is an 80 speed(iso/asa) film and I wanted to see how it looked pushed 3 stops. (Mind you P30 shoots more like 50 iso, so instead of pushing to 640, I pushed to 400) I didn't really expect much from the film but I wanted to try anyways.
I wanted a little feedback from the P30 community before I pushed the film. I figured these would be the people to get input from since I am sure others are curious about what this film can and can't do too. So I consulted the facebook page we have about what everyone thought development times should be when pushing this film. I also made it pretty clear that I didn't really know what I was going to get out of this film by pushing it. I simply wanted to experiment, which I was confident others wanted too.
I should have known better. You see, the film community can be really irritating sometimes. A good majority of the community is cranky old men who think that no millennial has ever shot a roll of film in their life. (Hello! I grew up with film too!) So my idea of pushing this film was met with constant negativity. The most common response was, "why do people want to push film?" Which is a thinly veiled way of saying, "do not push film." This makes absolutely no sense. It's not like pushing film is this new idea or anything. It has been done for ages by pretty much every photographer. Plus, why not experiment with this film? It's a new film after all and we are some of the first in the world with our hands on it!
So, I posted my results and I even had one guy say, "Not impressed," which was a passive way of saying, "told you so." Which he was right, I wasn't thoroughly impressed either, but that being said, I did actually like the results of SOME photos, though much less than other film stocks pushed similarly.
Ok. All that ranting about grumpy old men aside, now for my thoughts on Ferrania P30 after a bit more time with it. First off, I didn't really like everything about my first roll of film. One of the things I didn't like was how thick the blacks were. Its just my personal taste, but I like black and white film to have a little bit less contrast to begin with. That is partially because I am scanning the negatives. When there is a lot of contrast to begin with, a consumer grade scanner like what I have just doesn't deal with it very well. Even so, if the film doesn't retain detail in the shadows very well to begin with, after scanning it the image just doesn't look good. For example, the next image you will see was shot on Acros 100, my favorite black and white film. This is a very contrasty film straight out of the box, yet look at the details underneath this bridge, and this is with more contrast added after it was scanned in. The second photo is P30 shot at 80 iso/asa. This was just under a little bit of shade from some trees. Look how the statue's eyes are almost lost from the shadow cast by its cap and the trees.
The problem that I have with this film's lack of shadow detail is not just something I am doing wrong either. All of the photos posted by others I have felt the same way about. The blacks are just completely black and the shadows are really really dark. So pushing this film only exacerbates the problem as you will see in this image here. Keep in mind that this is metered correctly.
Now, of course I expected the film to perform poorly when pushed. I already knew that I didn't like the amount of contrast this film had when shot regularly, so pushing it was only going to make matters worse. Still, I did get some shots that I thought looked pretty decent like the one of the tight rope walker and in those cases, I think this film handled exceptionally well. But it wasn't consistently good like other films are.
In the end I think I have figured out who this film is good for and I do not think it is good for a photographer like me. Instead I think this film works best in a setting where you can control the light. A studio with flashes or predictable lighting and subjects is where I think this film will shine best. After all, it was originally a cinema film. However, that is not at all what I like to shoot, and therefor, the film is not really for me.
I will of course shoot more of this film from time to time. Maybe I can really get to know this film and develop a sort of affinity for it, if only as a novelty film. But, I don't think I will ever grab it over Acros or HP5. Those films just suit me far better. Between the community and the poor results I have been getting thus far, I am kind of saddened. I really wanted this film to become one of my favorites but I don't see that happening any time soon.
Hey look what I've got here! It's Ferrania P30!
So where do I begin? This is a tough one for me because I have so much to say about this! Unfortunately that kind of lengthened the video past what I wanted it to be, the likes of which will be linked below, but I think the video was good enough as is. I hope.
I'll start with a brief history of Ferrania as I remember the details. Please feel free to fact check me as I am sure I am getting a whole lot of stuff wrong. Their story is published on their website here: http://www.filmferrania.it/
Ferrania is an old Italian company that opened in the 1930s or so and made film. Most notably, they made motion picture film and they were so good at it that big directors used their stock. Eventually they also made their stock into 35mm still film up until the point when the market for film came to a stand still with the popularity and advancement of digital cameras. After becoming an outsourced factory for many film companies, Ferrania decided to cease their film production and thus Ferrania film died. The company was still around, they just weren't in the film game any longer.
A few years ago, however, a team decided to buy the film factory seeing that there was still a market, however small, for film photography out there. From the very beginning they ran into problems from machines breaking to scaling issues. This factory and its machinery back in its day was meant to be churning out thousands of rolls every day to meet demand. Demand, however much it has seen a resurgence lately, is not nearly as big as it was, and so to use the factory's full power would just be wasteful and not very cost effective. But despite that, the Ferrania team persevered and had a plan to scale appropriately.
So comes the kickstarter for their new film. I was not a backer, I didn't know about it at the time, but in 2015 or somewhere around there, Ferrania announced that they would begin crowd funding their operation to get everything up and running. Their goal was to bring back Ferrania's color film. They met their initial goal but ran into technical problems as mentioned before. Two years later they changed their game plan and instead decided to re release P30, one of Ferrania's famous black and white film stocks until they can release their color film. Some people were a bit unhappy about that but, for my sake, this is where I come in.
When I heard about a new film coming to market, I was pumped. I love film, as I am sure you have gathered by now. I will not get into the debate over which is better, film or digital, because I think both are wonderful and both have their merits. However, having more options when it comes to film is awesome in my book, so I was ready to fork over my money as soon as they announced that the film would go on sale, and that is what I did.
In March I put in my pre order and there was a tentative delivery date of April. Mind you, I said tentative. This delivery date was not met and instead I got my film in July. Yes, July. It wasn't so much the wait that ruffled my feathers, but rather the fact that some people were already getting their film and shooting it but others, like myself, were waiting months.
The wait aside, I accidentally put in my old address when I ordered my film. I quickly realized my mistake and e-mailed Ferrania asking them to correct the issue. They assured me that they cancelled the incorrect order, and to go ahead with a new one with my correct address. Ok, cool, end of story.
Four months later, I see an e-mail saying my film has been shipped. "Oh joyous day!" says I, and I click on the shipping tracker every day. One day I see that it has been delivered. Great! I run to the mailbox and... well, nothing. It was indeed shipped successfully. To the wrong address.
So, in my head I am thinking the following: First, "I am going to have to go and explain to a complete stranger that I used to live in this house and, 'May I please have my mail?'" Second, "What if they just throw it away?" and third, "Does Ferrania now have another order pending for me?" In that case I would be paying double to get only one set of film. At this point, I am pretty fed up, the pre order process was a disaster, and I gladly say as much in an e-mail to Ferrania.
Luckily enough Ferrania has some pretty awesome people working for them and they graciously corrected the issue. So all that to say, yes, Ferrania has some kinks to work out, but the important thing is the film, so how did it stack up?
Well, in not so many words, marvelously, and I mean that. This film has a look that you only see in old black and white movies. For good reason too, the film was originally a motion picture film stock. But the feeling you get from it just takes you to a place that you can only feel when watching those old black and white movies. It really has a special quality that I can't really explain in words. It's more of just a feeling.
Looking at it, I guess a bit technically, my first concern is with the blacks. Black and white film has to sort of tip toe this very fine line between really thick blacks, but still being able to retain shadow detail. These blacks are great and shadow detail can look fantastic. For whatever reason, my images looked a bit under exposed, but still, I could see the potential of the film in each image. One thing that did concern me though was dark skin tones. With this film it does seem you have to be really careful not to lose detail in someones face who may have a darker skin tone and be in, say, shade, for instance.
That being said, midtones and highlights are astounding. Midtones feel really... smooth. There is no other way to describe it. With the right lighting this film performs amazingly.
For those of you wondering, I developed this in Ilfosol 3 for 5 1/2 minutes. I wasn't really sure how to go about developing this film as the development times listed on their website do not have Ilfosol 3 listed yet. So, what I did is I looked at 3 different films that I knew the development times for. I used Ilford 100, TMax 100, and some other 80 speed film that Ilford had a time for. Those times were 5 minutes, 5 1/2, and 6 minutes respectively. I decided to try 5 1/2 minutes for this roll and see what it gave me. The results turned out nice, however, I do not have any other rolls to reference it to so next time I will try a shorter development time, and a longer one after that just to see the difference, if any.
My main question, though, going into this was, "Is this a replacement for the films I currently use?" and the answer, for me at least, is, "No." But that is because of the way I think of film in general. I have my favorites, but I get bored of the same film roll after roll. This will, however, go right along side my two other favorite black and white films Ilford and Fuji Acros. This film produces a result that the other two does not, just as other black and white films do the same. P30 is a great film and I am so glad that I got to shoot it finally. I am looking forward to shooting my next roll and I might put it up against one of my other favorites just to compare them side by side. Stay tuned!
Below is the video I made. Yes, I am still trying to get into my vlogging groove, please be patient through the growing pains.
Hello everyone. I didn't upload a video for the past two weeks because of, well, reasons. I won't bore you with the details.
Last weekend, however, I had the opportunity to go to a pride celebration here in San Antonio. I must say it was pretty awesome.
First off, being at a pride festival as a straight guy can be a bit overwhelming if we're being honest. Really, though, it is just the fear of not knowing what to expect. But as soon as you just put on your big boy pants and realize that this celebration is about something bigger than yourself, the whole thing becomes a lot more fun. As I said in the video, which you can view at the end of this post, some of the most accepting and non judgmental people I have met have been part of the LGBTQ community. That is reason enough alone to support such a celebration. But that aside, just going to one of these events will show you that there isn't really a difference between people who are gay or straight.
In any case, I went to this celebration and it was fun, but I really wanted to shoot some film. Specifically, I wanted to shoot some Ektar pushed to 400. I originally was going to go with multiple rolls of one film stock. I also knew it had to be a color film. Using black and white at a pride celebration just didn't seem right. I had a roll of Ilford Hp5 loaded in another body just because but I didn't use it.
I thought I had read somewhere that Ektar really didn't like to be pushed. I'm not sure if I am just making that up or I read that about another film and just thought it was Ektar. However, I think it did pretty good being pushed two stops. On the other hand, though, I can't say I really liked the color rendition of the film, especially compared to the Fujifilm. Blues looked really saturated on the Ektar and reds not so much. Keep in mind though that I do use a flatbed scanner. Flatbeds are notoriously bad at scanning color film so that may be a lot of the reason I didn't like the results.
That being said, I can't say that I hate the Ektar look. In fact, I would love to try it out under different conditions with various subjects again. I can only imagine that the way the colors turn out could really add to certain projects.
As far as grain goes, I was expecting the Ektar to show some heavy grain in certain areas because it was pushed. From what I can tell though, the grain was quite normal. In fact, I felt like the grain was smoother than even some 400 speed films shot at 400 which is pretty remarkable. Any time you push a film, you start to get some degradation in the negatives. That is any film but the Ektar held up so bravo. Then again, this was a bright sunny day, so there is that.
Now onto the Fujifilm Pro400h. I must admit, this is the film that stole the show for me personally. I shot the film at its box speed of 400 and it just performed phenomenally. I loved the colors that came from the negatives. They felt very true to life and not over saturated. In fact, my complaint with this film is also a compliment. The images looked a little bit on the flat side. Take a look at this photo here to the left.
The colors in this photo look very realistic. However, for a photograph, I generally want to see a bit more contrast and colors to be just a tad more vibrant. The colors from this film just are not. But again, this is both a good and a bad for this film.
My biggest surprise was the accuracy of the skin tones. I have always thought that film has a difficulty accurately portraying skin tone, but the Fujifilm did an amazing job in this department.
Anyways, I could keep going on all day about film but I will spare you the headache. Just suffice to say that both of these films are great, if for different things. I would say that for portraiture, I would grab the fujifilm over the Ektar for sure though.
Now, about the video. I just have to say, please bear with me. If you go back and watch my vlogs while I was in Japan, I think you will see that I had a lot of fun making those. That is, well, because I did. I want to really get back into that type of video making again and I want to make videos that have something to do with photography. This video is an attempt at that, but I can't say it is all that great. I am just trying to find my stride again.
One thing is that I need to find a workflow and a format that works for me. I do not have someone following me around as I shoot photos, so I am doing everything myself and it gets quite overwhelming. I will figure it out soon, it is just going to take practice.
The other thing is that I am actually a bit worried about vlogging in the U.S. When I am abroad, no one bothers me because people tend to keep their nose in their own business. But here in the U.S. I have tried many times to vlog and once I was followed by a car full of gangsters who stopped and threatened me, and many other times I have had people get angry that I was filming them. Spoiler alert, I wasn't. But that is my experience with vlogging in the U.S. I am constantly worried about who is going to be offended about me doing my own thing, and that negatively impacts my ability to make a fun video. Again, I will figure it out, just bear with me please.
Oh yeah, and about the video just cutting off at the end... I don't know.
Here is the second week's set of images from my personal one roll a week project. The video is below.
This week I went out to Boerne Texas which is about 45 minutes to an hour outside of San Antonio. I work in this town, but I have never really explored it except once a few years ago for a car show. This town, though, is really photogenic even though it is a pretty small place. When you walk around their "downtown" area, you get an old American vibe, and a yearning for a yesteryear. That is not coincidence either, they make it a point to try and preserve that old small town feel, and it has paid off spectacularly.
On this occasion I walked the river that runs through Boerne. It was sunny, hot, and a eprfect day to be out on the river. People were fishing, ducks were quacking, and my favorite part of all, there are always lots of turtles in this river. After a bit of time in the sun I stopped to get some really great frozen yogurt, and while I was sitting there enjoying it, I kept seeing a bunch of really nice cars pass by. This isn't necessarily uncommon in Boerne, there is also a lot of money in Boerne, so nice cars are plentiful. But this was simply too many to be a typical day. I was curious, and so I walked down the street in the direction they were all headed. To my pleasant surprise, there was a Saturday car meet up going on. Me being the car guy I am, I jumped in my car and parked it too. It was a lot of fun, especially seeing a whole bunch of cars, new and old, that are worth double or more what mine is.
Anyways I shot this all on a 35mm roll of Ilford HP5 400 film. I wanted to push the film a stop but it was just way too sunny for that. As is, at 400 I was getting shutter speeds way into the 1/2000 range even at f4.5 and smaller. In any case, it is always a joy shooting on ilford film. It is my go to when I want to shoot some film but don't want to be left wondering what it is going to turn out like. I know how it looks, and I am always pleased by it.
I am, however, very careless with my negatives. Since I develop and scan all my film myself, often I end up with a lot of scratches and lint on the negatives. I don't usually mind, but sometimes it is a pain to clean it all up after the fact in lightroom. So my point is, if you see weird spots, or lint on these images, it is because I am lazy and can never keep my negatives clean. Yep...
Thanks for taking a look at this week's roll. If you have any questions, please message me here, on Youtube, Instagram, or anywhere else you can find me. I will say that I am always open to suggestions for new film stocks.
Until next week, see ya.
You can buy Ilford HP5 here: https://goo.gl/n4r7K3
You can buy a Nikon f100 camera here: https://goo.gl/grMsx5
Ok so the first one is up... a day late. Yeah, already starting off on the wrong foot but I had a lot of technical difficulties which I hop have been worked out. Fingers crossed. Below is the video.
This week I used Fuji Neopan Acros 100 medium format film pushed two stops. For the camera, I used my Yashica Mat 124G and I developed in Ilfosol 3. There is a little lightroom processing done after they were scanned mostly for contrast. No sharpening or anything too crazy was done to the scans.
My Yashica Mat has two problems. First I can't find a battery to fit for the light meter so I am going off of a cell phone app. Second, I feel like the shutter isn't exactly precise and it seems to overexpose all the images just a little bit. So that is why there are a couple of weird exposures in there.
Please keep in mind that this is simply a project for me to keep practicing, that is part of why I am also showing the mistakes. Also, I hope that this will find its way into the hands of someone perhaps looking into buying certain film stocks, but not sure what they look like. I know I like to do a lot of research on different films before I buy them so I hope others can see what it can do.
Because of all that, please don't expect the most amazing images ever. This is really just for fun and practice. If you like them though, please do leave me some feedback! (Also, I don't know about the music. Tell me if it fits or if it is cheesy. I had to put something!)
I am going to try and start a new personal photography project which I am going to call "One Roll a Week."
I was inspired to do this by a photographer named Eduardo Pavez Goye. He has a YouTube channel and he challenged himself to do a "30 Rolls in 30 Days" project. I will link to his channel >>here<<.
I thought that was a wonderful idea. After he was done with it he gave a little insight on how difficult this project actually was, specifically because of time. His schedule allowed him to shoot a roll during his lunch hour at work and not much else.
So why is mine only 1 roll a week instead of 30 rolls in 30 days? Well, part of that lies in the same reason I haven't been shooting anything or updating this blog. I simply work too much. I work more than full time each week and I am on the graveyard shift. My job also does not allow any lunch breaks. Add school on top of that, and I just have no time at all. So, I am going to try and carve out time, but I must be realistic. 30 rolls in 30 days, as much as I would love to do that, simply does not fit into my schedule at the moment. But I do think I can squeeze out 1 roll a week.
The whole point of this project is not to put out amazing photos every week. In fact, I am sure many of them will be terrible and you will see any and all mistakes I make included in each week's roll. It is simply an exercise to get me back into doing what I love, and that is photography. It is also to get some practice in more than anything. I have gotten incredibly rusty since I have been back in the states.
So the rules I have set for myself are as follows: I will shoot one roll of film every week. When I feel like using digital instead, I will limit myself to either black and white, or color for all the photos and I will limit myself to one ISO setting just like film. For the days that I shoot film, the number of photos I will be uploading will be determined by the roll size of course. 120 film only gets 12 shots per roll, where as 35mm can get anywhere from 24 to 36 per roll. So when I use digital, I will make sure to shoot anywhere from 24 to 32 images. After that I will upload a kind of slideshow to YouTube just like Eduardo did. However, if I leave out an image, it is probably because either someone asked me not to upload their photo, or there is some other privacy concern. I don't want to step on too many toes...
That's it. I don't know how many weeks I will do this for, but I think for now I will aim for 2 months. I really wish I could do the 30 rolls in 30 days though. It sounds like a lot of fun. In any case, I hope you enjoy the photos and you can follow along with me as I struggle through this personal challenge.
Be sure to take a look at my YouTube channel every Monday as that is when I will post each week. Or if it's easier, just come back here and I will have the video posted.
Sorry to break it to you but your photography, and any other art you produce, sucks. Mine does too. That is the truth.
Don't let that discourage you though. Take it, chew on it, think on it, let it make you angry, and then prove me wrong. The point is that your art, my art, sucks in someone's eyes and we must accept that. "You can't please everyone." That saying has never been more true than in the art world. What is art? Who says what is good and bad? I can tell you what I like and what I don't, but who am I to say what is good and what is bad?
I think at some point we all struggle with this. Art is a very subjective thing. Human beings are remarkably different in every way and our tastes vary vastly. So then, do we throw our paintbrushes in the trash, break our charcoal sticks, and smash our lenses? I mean, there is no point if we cannot please our audience. If not, then how do we make art that is "good?"
I would argue that "good" art is whatever makes you feel good. You, the creator, not the person on the other side of the screen clicking the "like" button. If your art makes you feel good, then that really is all that matters. This isn't some feel good self help crap, I think that with today's obsession with social media, we forget that we need to create art for ourselves. It is nice to create something that is liked by many, but it is not as important as creating for yourself first. Once we can create for ourselves, we can only hope that it will inspire and help others in some way.
That is why I keep this blog going. For a long time I was really bummed out about the time and effort I spent putting together some of these posts only to get a total of... 0 comments. These posts really do take a lot of time and effort. But, as I said from my very first blog post, this is for me. I forget that along the way sometimes, but in the end that is what it is about. That's what my photography is too.
That being said, I appreciate you coming to my site and reading my rambling. I hope that somewhere along the way, one of these posts will strike a chord with you. I also hope that I have inspired you to take a second look at your work and realize that your stuff really doesn't suck. Not unless you really think that it does.
Well, not all of us I guess, but a lot of us. Ever heard the stories of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel? Or any other artist for that matter. Many seem to have something about them that makes them hard to get along with. I am no different, and recently I started trying to figure out why that is. I'll share my thoughts though I cannot speak for everyone.
Before I begin, lets forget about artists being introverts. While that is true for many, that is definitely not true for all. I have known plenty of artists who were the very definition of extroverted. Also, I hate using the word introverted because EVERYONE thinks they are an introvert. Just because you are shy sometimes or want your alone time now and then does not mean you are introverted. I have a whole blog post about that which you can find here. So anyways...
First off, as an artist, we think differently. We even think differently from other artists. We are not necessarily more intelligent than anyone, we just see things a different way. What this means is, we often do not see eye to eye with many other people on certain topics. This bleeds over into a lot of things, not just art. We have different work ethics, different political views, and so on. Some people may see this as just trying to be difficult when often we are not trying to be.
Sometimes we don't listen to people. I know that whenever I am on an assignment, paid or not, I do not listen. People will often try to ask me about my photography, my cameras, this and that, and I just cannot focus on them. I am not trying to be rude, but I guess you could say I get into a "zone." Many artists experience this feeling when they are working. It is such a strong feeling that it is really hard to focus on anything except whatever it is they are doing. As with the above idea, this too bleeds over into personal life. Just last week I was covering an event and someone was trying to talk to me about lenses or something. I feel bad now that I have time to think about it, but in the moment I didn't think twice before turning my back and walking away without saying anything. So, a word to the wise, don't stop me for too long when I have my camera out and if you do, don't take it personal if I don't acknowledge what you're saying. I probably didn't even hear it.
There is something that bugs me to no end and I am not sure if it is the same for other people. I feel like it might be specific to photography too. If you ask me to do a job for you, DO NOT have other photographers at the same event. Yes, some events will have multiple photographers, but each is fulfilling a different client's needs. I take real issue with this. Think about it, would you have two chefs cooking the same steak? No. Why? Because it's pointless, and besides, what if one messes up? Well then you have a crappy steak. Same with photography, do not disrespect me by getting a guy with a point and shoot to get in my way.
We tend to be much more in touch with our emotions than other people. I have said this before but a good artist feels more than most. Bad situations are worse for us, good situations better, and memories are more vivid. We use this like a 6th sense to harness and channel our emotions into our art. But being more in touch with our emotions also means that we find it harder to hide our annoyance, anger, happiness, or other emotions than anyone else.
There are many other reasons why we might come off as jerks. These are just some. It boils down to the fact that we can be a bit eccentric when it comes to our art, whatever that may be. That doesn't always translate well into a social environment and can sometimes lead to us coming off as jerks. It takes a certain focus and attitude to pull off some of the things we do. It's not as easy as pushing a button, making a mark on paper, or painting a pretty scene. There is so much more that goes through our heads to create something and that gets in the way of our ability to be socially acceptable. So next time you see someone creating, give them a little space. It's like not touching a dog when they are eating, you may get snapped at.
So it has been a while since I broke out the camera. I really needed a rest from it just to recharge my batteries a little bit. The battery in my head, not my camera batteries... but I'm sure you get that.
Recently I had the opportunity to cover an event hosted by the East Asia Institute at UTSA. In the event the Consul General of the Republic of Korea gave a lecture about Korean and U.S. relations. There was also recognition for U.S. military veterans who were in Korea during the war.
This was nice for a few reasons. First off, it was something interested in having lived in Korea. I liked having the opportunity to help out in any way possible. Seeing war veterans of the time was humbling for sure, and lastly because I simply was able to get behind the camera again.
Unfortunately I think I took too much of a break from my art form. You don't forget how to do what you do, at least not in a couple of months, but you do fall out of a certain groove and it's tough to get back into it sometimes. I really struggled with this event creatively.
I must confess, it wasn't only the break I took from photography that made this event difficult. My life has been really busy recently and I am working more than full time, plus going to school full time, trying to get a teacher's certification, became the membership leader/chair/supervisor (however you want to call it) of JASSA, and so much more. Because of all this I have had so little time to myself that I am having to prioritize either eating or sleeping every day. That is not an exaggeration as I have less than 6 hours every day to do either. So I went to this event on far less than 8 hours of sleep and I was feeling it.
So this event reminded me just how important it is to keep practicing your art form no matter what. It also taught me the importance of being in the right frame of mind when you are trying to create. Art is emotion personified and if your emotions are all over the place, it will show in your work, for better or worse.
In case you are interested, I am writing up a quick update for my blog here. Nothing really ground breaking but for those of you who read my blog, I imagine you'd like to know what's coming up.
Since I have been back in the U.S. I have shot 1 frame. Seriously 1 frame. One single image. I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off and just haven't had the time for photography.
In many ways that makes me feel bad. This is my art and my passion. But on the other hand, I kind of don't mind this small lapse. I am chomping at the bit to get back out there, but I am okay for right now just giving my camera a rest.
That being said, I do have an event coming up next month. I think I may have at least one more before that too. I am not really sure. But I also have to develop some of the photos I shot in Japan. I am really excited to do that but I want to do it when I have a lot of time. Of course, I will post at least some of those images here.
Anyways that's it. I'll probably get tired of not creating soon so I will undoubtedly have new images up when I do.
Some of you may know, and some of you may not, but I am back in the U.S. as of Friday. I will talk more about being back in the future though.
As for my site, it has long needed a contact and about me section.
But I must say... writing an "About Me" is harder than it seems. Of course I know more about myself than anyone else (I think) but trying to put your best in front of someone without sounding like you are bragging or blabbing is really difficult. I am a really modest person by nature and an about me feels very much against that.
Anyways you can view it here This is where people will come to see who runs the blog and hopefully the photographer they wish to hire. Fingers crossed.
That's it for today. More later, I have a few things to talk about.
Here is my backpack. I'd say this bag is about 10 years old if not older. It looks it too, this thing is so torn up it is crazy.
In the past I have tried getting rid of this backpack but I simply can't. Recently I tried getting rid of it for a smaller bag and I ended up getting in a motorcycle accident which tore it to shreds. So I was back to this one, and recently I have realized how dumb I was for trying to get rid of it.
For one thing this bag has been to the other side of the world with me... twice. It has seen many countries and been put through a lot. Yet still this thing just keeps going. I have had to sew it quite a few times but I think it gives it character. Mind you, I am not very good at sewing, I just do a good enough job to fix my crap.
So you might be wondering why I go through the trouble. Well, as I said before, I did try to get rid of it plenty of times in the past 10 or so years but it keeps finding it's way back into my life like a stalking ex girlfriend.
But beyond that it really has sentimental value.
I got this bag from my Mom when I was a freshman or something. I remember wanting this bag so bad. I was really into skateboarding at the time (still am just too lazy to get back on a board) and besides this being from a skate brand I liked, it was also built with skateboards in mind. Every time I went to the mall I would go and just drool over this in the skateshop.
But of course this was way overpriced and besides that our family was going through a pretty big rough patch around that time. I knew all I could ever do was drool over it. I never really asked for it I just fantasized about it. However, my Mom being who she is, she picked up on it and one school supply trip, she got it for me. I couldn't believe it, I was amazed because I knew then, and really know now, that I didn't quite deserve it and besides that we really couldn't afford it.
Looking back now it was such a dumb thing to want. I could have done with any old back pack, but this is the one I had my eyes on, and this is the one my Mom got me. Little things like that leave an impact much bigger than what the item really is.
So anyways, I guess now I can say I didn't let my Mom's hard earned money go to waste. This bag has seen everything I have really. I will eventually have other bags, but this one I plan to keep until it simply disintegrates.
I don't know... I was just sewing it for the 4th time and thinking about how I got this bag and what it meant to me. Still means to me. Not really the bag itself, but the experience surrounding it.
I actually enjoy sewing it now. I sew it with different colored thread to show off it's battle scars!
Okay that's it.
Recently I have been thinking about a way to showcase more of my every day photos on my site. I wasn't really sure how to go about that. I mean, I share my photos when I post a new blog, but I don't post a new blog every day. I do, however, create new images almost daily.
I have been posting those images on Instagram one photo a day. I like doing that, but that means that I am putting content on something else other than my website each day and that feels kind of like a waste. I will still continue to put a photo up every day (or as close to every day as possible) on Instagram, and some photos will only make it to Instagram, but I want to have a section dedicated to my most recent images on the site. This page will be called "Recent Scenes" and will be the new main navigation page after the splash page for the site.
The images on that page may or may not go into the main sections of the site like the Korea, Taiwan, and Japan pages (and others in the future). Those pages are much more rigid in that they are reserved for what I feel showcases only my best work. That may mean that photos from "Recent Scenes" get pulled into those pages, but they don't necessarily need to be.
Lastly, this page will have a max of 20 photos I think. These will be 20 of my most recent photos and once I add to it, the oldest photos will be removed first.
So that's it, I will try it out for a bit and see how it feels. This site is always a work in progress and I like sharing the changes I make with those reading my blog.
Also, if you are viewing my site on a mobile device, this site should be optimized for it. However, that being said, my photos are always meant to be viewed on a larger screen. So, if you like my photos, it would be best to look at my "Recent Scenes" page every once in a while on a laptop or larger screen.
As always, thank you for taking a look at the site.
...that I am in Japan again for a couple weeks? Well I am and I love it just the same as I ever did.
The trip here was interesting. I kind of planned poorly (big surprise) and had to lug 2 large luggage containers and a really heavy backpack around Seoul all day until my flight left later that night. Then I get here and realize that the last train runs at 11:40 and there was no way I was going to make it in time. Instead I took a bus that I had to wait for until 1:30am. By the time I got to my Airbnb I was completely exhausted. I had been up for like 23 hours at that point and dragging around heavy bags through Korea's and Japan's unforgivable summer weather. Finally once I got here I realize the door is locked and there was no way I was going to bring myself to knock and wake people up at almost 4am. So I lugged my crap back up the street to a hotel for the night... I payed for a hotel and an airbnb for my first night in Tokyo! To make matters worse, I realized the next day the owner actually e-mailed me a code to unlock the door myself and I never saw it...
But all of that aside, this trip has been fun so far. I went crazy and finally bought the film camera I have been lusting over for a while now. Which, of course, I paid too much for and found a cheaper one at another store the next day. To be fair, the one I bought looks like it just came from the factory even though Nikon doesn't make them anymore. Anyways...
I will of course have lots of photos to share if you are interested. Please check here often and also follow my Instagram (@the_alex_scene). I try to post there once a day with a new photo. That's it, nothing much to say besides that.
Except that it is so hot...
Today I walked away from Yecheon Dongbu elementary knowing that I will never return. That realization hit me like a ton of bricks.
For one year I have taught these kids and for a year I have learned so much more from them than they could ever learn from me. You can't begin to imagine what I am feeling right now.
It's amazing what one year used to mean to me. Years ago the thought of doing anything for a year was such a long commitment. Now, a year teaching these children felt like a day. I feel like just yesterday I was flying to Korea with no idea what I was headed for. Now I am looking back and wondering where it all went.
About a year ago I made another post just as I was finishing my training and facing the reality that I, myself, was going to be teaching children. I was afraid of failing them, as many other teachers had failed me. Now I know the truth of it. The truth is that everyday I did fail them. Not because I was not able to do my job, but because I failed to give them the world, and the world is exactly what every child deserves. I hope that what little I could do for them, it will help them along in life in some small way.
I will miss them so much. I don't have children of my own, but these children became my kids nonetheless. Being a teacher isn't about writing stuff on the board and assigning homework. Teaching is about caring for a human being that is looking to you as a leader. In some ways you become like family to them. I know they definitely became family to me. My love for them is unconditional.
Goodbye silly kids.
Hey everyone, it's been almost a month since I last posted anything but I promise I haven't died.
I have been pretty busy with this and that seeing as how the semester is coming to a close. That also means that my stay here in Korea is coming to an end as well.
As such I decided to do a bit of housekeeping on the website. When I return to the U.S. I can legally accept money for my photography again and for that I need my website to have a bit more shine.
I've done some small things. I added a few more photos to the "Korea" section. I originally wanted to keep the photo pages really short and concise, staying within 10 photos per page, but I decided it looked a little bare. I still don't want too many photos but more than 10 is good I think.
I also added more social buttons to the main page. On there will now be my Youtube channel, Twitter, and other stuff. I have also added a contact me page if anyone wants to do that.
Finally I made a simple logo which you can see above. I am not sure if I am completely happy with it but I do like that it is very minimal. I'll try it out for a bit and see how I like it.
In the near future I will be adding more photos to the "Japan" section and an "About me" page.
That's it, just thought I'd share all that with my readers.