07 July 2010

Visitation of the Past

It was an extremely impulsive buy. After more than three years of trying to have my dad's SLR repaired to no avail, I chanced upon a repairman who offered me the same unit as dad's Canon T70 for a reasonable and pocket-friendly price.

He informed me that my dad's camera has undergone far too long a period of disuse and that its mechanisms would no longer be responsive to any manipulation he can attempt do. This same reason has been given to me by the many shops I've tried to have the SLR done, that it no longer surprised me when he relayed me of that sad reality - he adds, the best possible purpose for my dad's obsolete camera is for display.

Having bought a Canon T70, a film reliant single lens reflex camera, during this time of the great digital revolution - I do feel a bit out of place. And still, the almost sentimental feeling of using a camera similar to my dad's, was sufficient reason for me to carry on.

With little practice and hardly remembering any of the vital rules my teachers have imparted to me back in college, I am back in square one - relearning all my photography how-to.

Last Sunday (July 4), during our weekly visit to Manila Memorial at Cavite, to pay our respects to our dear grandmother, I brought the camera along with me to try some shots. Loaded with a FUJI ISO 100 film, the following are some of the photos that I've managed to take.

Below is my new desktop background photo. Although it's a typical photograph to many, something about it just speaks to me. How the trees can be so plenty, and yet seem so frail and lonely. Under the heat of the afternoon sun, they stand there painfully, seeming to wait for the day to die away. There are days when I share their sentiments. There is just something absolutely and deliciously romantic about film.

The sun was immensely bright during this time of the day, which makes it perfectly compatible with the ISO of my film. Despite being taught never to shoot directly at the sun, at it may overexpose the photo, I was tempted to try it out. At 1/1000 second shutter speed, this was the image that manifested from that trial shot. Edited minimally with Photoshop, I like the overexposed effect.

I used to say that my ideal date would be in a cemetery, the peace among the silenced. Most people found me odd confessing such a fancy, but I do enjoy moments when you can be alone with the one you love - when the world mattered not. When you have managed to steal away into a sanctuary where you can be as yourselves. With tamed nature around you, or architectural delights and stories surrounding you, without care whether you interpret or misinterpret them the way you wish. A solitude that sits like a refined companion betwixt the two of you, nodding agreeably to your conversations without desire to whisper it to the gossiping wind.

A pile of discarded garbage laid on the street, bunched together with the dried leaves. Looking at things through a viewfinder, everything felt so ephemeral and nostalgic - the magical effect of photogenie. I was just tempted to take a photo, and oddly, I'm pretty pleased at how it came out.
In general, the short photo shoot refreshed me - hopefully with a few more trials my skills would be sharpened a bit. As a note, I've tried to have my films developed and was turned down by a few mall based stores informing me that the soonest they can return my photos would be in a week since they no longer carry chemicals for film processing.

Thankfully, I found a Fuji store who finished the developing in an hour's time. I have requested to have the prints saved in a CD, which they obliged. A cost of 140 for each film (to be processed and saved as a .jpeg) seems a bit pricey for 36 shots contrasted against the trigger happy shooting using digital SLRs. Still, I am optimistic that using film would train me to be more quick and resolute with my shots, and not relying on pure luck for the pictures I want to achieve.

As I've mentioned earlier, there is something romantic in the use of film - similar to the birth of a child, the half-blind hope that your photos will come out alright, the brimming anticipation of having it developed, the giddy butterflies in your stomach as you see them manifested into actual photos. Ahhh.. Film.

Fuji photos have also surprised me as they turned out to be highly saturated with very strong contrast among its colors. They also have a tendency to be very grainy - although I am not sure if this is a desirable attribute among photos, I am particularly happy with how it effected upon my photographs.

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