Sunday, 1 December 2013

Minolta #1

Something I've been meaning to share with you guys for quite a while now :D -- I bought my first proper film camera a few months back! And boy, has it been such a joy ride shooting film. I had been meaning to get myself a film camera (in fact, I remember spending hours at lectures towards the final months leading up to the exams, googling film cameras and pondering about just which one to get as a starter. the more boring the lecture/the most stressed I felt, the more frantic the googling and the wilder those internal flights of fancy would be) and it just felt like my graduation trip (s) would be the perfect time to make use of one. So I ended up getting a Minolta- X370 off eBay and thankkkk goodnessss it's in great working condition. There WAS a period of time when it got a little wonky causing a 'capping' problem (i actually googled - 'what causes the photos to have a portion unexposed and black??') but miraculously that seemed to have resolved by itself. The camera doctor I brought my baby to see actually said there was nothing wrong physically wrong with it and that I would just have to continue and see how it went, "as that is the nature of film". I remember walking out of The Camera Hospital (trust me, I'm not kidding about the name. ;p) feeling slightly perturbed and more than a little worried. After all, I didn't want to keep shooting if it would only result in close to half the shots cut off and unexposed. But then, amazingly, that problem hasn't really surfaced very much at all anymore. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that when it's extremely bright outside, I tend to make the shutter speed its maximum 1000 rather than leave it to Auto. Who knows? I'm hoping it'll continue performing admirably as it has all this while. :)

There's something incredibly addictive about shooting film. Granted, it IS a more expensive hobby but there are so many facets to it that make it worthwhile. First of all, it's all about delayed gratification. That was something I took awhile to get used to at the beginning. That flustered feeling of uncertainty as the thoughts 'did I manage to capture that shot the way I wanted to??' whizzed through my head. There are times still when I take a second shot if I really REALLY want to capture that moment and I wasn't sure if the first one was taken well or not. Because with film, there really isn't the opportunity for second chances. Each shot is the final product in itself (to a large extent). But in that uncertainty, lies the allure. Because each shot is its end in itself, every shot is unique and cannot be duplicated. With digital cameras, you can take a multitude of shots, often carelessly and in a trigger-happy fashion because there is very minimal opportunity cost in taking yet another, less well-thought through shot. There's always the delete button and there's photoshop. But with film, since every shot does cost that extra bit of money and IS that much more precious, I realised that I started to really think about my shots. I started asking myself each time, is this something worth capturing? Does this moment mean enough for me to want to capture? Am I taking the best shot I can take? Should I take a step back and make sure that the framing and composition is better before I press the button? And in asking these questions, I think I've become a more careful, deliberate photographer. Every photo has to mean something. Every photo that I capture on film has to be a moment or feeling special enough for me to want to hold on to and look back on for years to come. So with the photos I take with film, I tend to be able to associate my feelings about that memory more easily because of all the extra thought I put into it before taking that shot. :) It's definitely a different feeling. For sure, shooting digital is way more convenient and cheaper, but there's a discipline that comes with shooting film that probably benefits me as a someone hoping to grow as a photographer...and as a person.

Plus, with film, I don't feel the need to edit my photos very much. I'm usually really pleased with the colours and the way the photos turn out that after getting them scanned in, usually the most I do is bump up the brightness...maybe tinker with the contrast/exposure a little. Pretty minimal changes. In a way, I just want to keep those photos are authentic as possible. I like the raw feeling of film. It is what is it, for everyone to see.

So here we go, some shots from my very first roll of film. :)

 photo roomsmaller_zpsa69acefa.jpg

#1. Living Room. (In my best friend's place in Heidelberg)

 photo f7dffab0-9edf-4399-9730-0ad064aa35b9_zps66098db5.jpg

#2. Buck. (The sweetest, calmest, and possibly oldest, dog that I've known so far.  He belongs to my best friend. I hope he's still going strong now. I love how he always chills on his doggy mattress in a patch of sunlight after breakfast. That's the life.)

 photo 4640b4af-bbc9-4b0d-8150-cf31efdad4bd_zpsb313a7b1.jpg

#3. Waiting. (In a great cafe called Cafe Nerd in downtown Heidelberg.)

 photo bicyclesmaller_zpsfc97c92e.jpg

#4. Bicycles. (Spotted along a street in Rio Maggiore, one of the 5 towns that make up the seaside towns of Cinque Terre in Italy.)

 photo 3f4fb22a-c5b4-4ccf-9f41-da7c10e3ad1a_zpsb72d41ef.jpg

#5. Manarola. (I was soooo happy when I was able to capture this shot! :) I'd seen the shot of these incredible houses in the town of Manarola when researching on Cinque Terre for my graduation trip. It was a dream to take a similar shot of all these colorful houses by the cliffside. That day, it happened to be drizzling and my mum and I were trudging along the hiking path, trying to take whatever photos that we could amidst the drizzle. Then as we reached this vantage point, the rain stopped (almost miraculously so!) and out came the sun, bathing everything in a gorgeous patch of sunlight. It couldn't have been more fortuitous.)

 photo 37497b48-2d2b-4a76-a02e-927ba1bde859_zps57653df3.jpg

#6. The crashing of waves. (At one of the Cinque Terre towns.)

 photo cinque1small_zps170b5602.jpg

#7. Stairs toward the marina in the town of Corniglia. (Man those stairs were a killer. But they were so, so pretty. There was practically no one taking the same trail so it was a quiet, beautiful, peaceful walk. Those walks where the times when I really got the chance to catch up with my mommers and bond during the trip :))

 photo flowerssmaller_zps09394cb8.jpg

#8. Manarola flowers. (There were so many lovely flowers all over the Cinque Terre towns! This was at the vantage point in Manarola... where I also happened to bump into a classmate from school. What were the odds eh? But it's a small world after all.)

 photo gardensmaller_zps0264721c.jpg

#9. Rose garden in Corniglia.

 photo birdysmaller_zps6c83973f.jpg

#10. Manarola bird.

 photo kittysmaller_zps5b938fdf.jpg

#11. Sleepy Corniglia cat.

 photo parisprettysmall_zps53d21e67.jpg

#12. View from our hotel in Paris. 

 photo parisstreet1small_zps965b7a9e.jpg

#13. Just another Parisian street. (I love how so many buildings are many beautiful with the intricately designed grills outside windows.)

 photo sgwalk1small_zps6f1660bb.jpg

#14. A little closer to home.

 photo homesmall_zps4f292d13.jpg

#15. Lost, possibly forgotten. (After a trip to 7-11.) 

That was just the first of many rolls of film I've taken so far. :) Nowadays I just end up using my Minolta whenever I go out because most of the time even if I do take photos with my digital camera I end up not having the time to edit them quickly enough and they end up in the memory card for months down the road (as you probably have noticed). But with film, I'm always soooooo eager to develop them to find out exactly how they turned out. Each roll is a surprise - not all have turned out right (I'm still working on my focusing since it's a manual lens) but whenever there are a few shots that come out just the way I'd hoped for... it's such a great feeling. 

More soon. :) 

Though I had to work both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, it was still pretty great in the after-work hours. It's really only when your weekends aren't guaranteed off that you appreciate every single second off work to the absolute core. I suppose there is some truth to how life's greatest happiness can only be tasted after going through suffering. I never used to like that idea because if there's an option, I'd rather not suffer at all. But there's nothing like the feeling/thrill of fleeing the workplace/switching off the work phone and going off to finally have some fun after work. This weekend I managed to go to this really great exhibition called Google Translating Tokyoto, by the family/art collective, :P Don't you just love the name? It was held in this gorgeous space in Temporium a place that's part gallery/part cafe/part retail store and has possibly one of the prettiest cafes I've been into so far. I've taken a few photos with my minolta and hopefully they come out nicely. It was a cozy exhibition about the family's first trip to Tokyo with their two young kids and armed with a point and shoot camera each, they decided to document their travels and eventual came up with a family zine (FAMzine) to share with others. I think it's such a great idea. And the kids are totally creative and darling. But more on that with photos soon. :) 

Here's to a great week ahead.


  1. I think this first roll turned out fantastic! I also have a minolta and it is by far my favorite film camera. I should use it more though!

  2. Hi Lynnette! Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog!

    I'm truly in love with your film photos, and now I'm quite curious to try a Minolta. Keep going! :)

  3. I love this melancholic feel <3