Monday, February 16, 2015

The Hero

Mobile Photography. It's been around for quite some time now. Ever since they started slapping decent cameras into mobile phones, people just started using them. Arguably, it became mainstream with the introduction of the iPhone and the emergence of social media. For me however, it all started with my first ever smartphone, an HTC Hero. Yes, an Android (never was an iPhone fan). 

I was already into taking pictures before smartphones. The first camera I ever bought was a Sony H7. Then I bought my first DSLR in Japan, a Canon Rebel XTi. Having already 2 cameras, I never bought the Hero with photography in mind. It was just a cool phone that can do cool stuff. I never intended to shoot with it regularly. But then I discovered mobile photography, and it just made sense.

5 megapixels. That's all there is to work with. It was a lot at that time... for a phone. But what can I say? The camera on this thing had character. I've gone through 2 other smart phones since then, but nothing still compares to the pictures from the Hero. Don't get me wrong, the new phones produce higher quality images, specs-wise. But, again, none of them produced the same character in pictures as the HTC Hero.

Mobile photography has evolved so much since then. More and more people are getting into it, even becoming a part of the daily routine. It has hit another all-time high with the popularity of instagram. Cameras on phones are getting more and more at par with dedicated shooters. Heck, some phones are even more camera than phone. It has taken photography into a whole other space, one where previous cameras were unable to go. It has produced photographs that are more personal, fast-paced, and social. In some ways, it has taken photography into the future and has made it accessible to a whole lot more people.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Going Back

Cheers for 2014! #GoodJobGrowingUp

For the past couple of years I have been writing my year end thoughts. Missed last year’s and I don’t even remember not doing it. Guess I was too busy with the wedding preparations and thought I would always get back to it at some point. Turned out I did not. I promise myself now that I will never miss it again. Through the past years, it has always been New Year’s. Not anymore. From now on my year starts and ends on this day, January 23rd, our day.

2014. What can I say? It was a year of growing up; tying the knot, getting our own place, with a baby on the way. Well we really outdid ourselves this time. I almost feel overwhelmed... almost, but surprisingly not quite. It’s a lot to be thankful for in just one year. I guess it’s that part of life where everything happens all at once. One thing follows another and everything just kind of flows from there.

We started the year with a promise. On a cold and windy January morning, Carina and I finally said our vows in a quiet little church in Tagaytay. That alone already made my year. But we both knew it was only the beginning… of the year… and of the rest of our lives.

It was a carefree stretch after that. We had a plan but really had no idea how to go about life after. We already got a place ready, but we sure took our sweet time before finally moving out of my parents’. It was rainy July that the final moving box was unpacked and we were on our own… without a bed (Don’t worry, it came in after ;p). House chores, household bills, and furniture shopping was what occupied most of our time after that. We have finally settled in. “Welcome home”.

A last pleasant surprise was waiting for us though. And it came about one lazy August weekend. There it was, clear as day; two horizontal lines. You were coming into our lives and both of us knew it was going be a wonderful life ahead.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

comfort food

curry noodles

Comfort food... It's not always about taste.  It is something as simple as food taking you back to a memory. A happy place or time in your life that will always be with you.

...Or it may just be junk food.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Rangefinder

After finishing a roll with the Konica Auto S3, I finally understood what all the fuss was about rangefinders. It's a very different experience from using an SLR. Maybe it's the small size or the silent shutter. There's just something in the Auto S3 that makes taking pictures feel like a part of every day life.

The small size does help. It's easy to carry around and most of the time you would forget you even have the thing hanging on your neck. It's compact and stealthy and it gets you right smack into the middle of the action without turning heads. You consciously know you're not using an SLR. That alone lifts off some seriousness in your shooting. It just feels casual and even your subjects react that way. 

Add in the super silent shutter and you have a very sneaky combination. Your subjects will never know you already took that photo.

The key difference you will immediately notice coming from an SLR is of course the viewfinder. You're loosing that through the lens (TTL) view, and instead you get an offset view from the rangefinder on the top left of the unit. That means you always see things away from the lens; you cannot see the filter effects, and most evident, you will always most certainly forget that you still have your lens cap on. 

The focus mechanism is interesting and is really the component that gives the rangefinder experience. It gives a split image in the middle of the viewfinder that you have to align to have things in focus. You then adjust your frame to compose your shot.

There is a reason why most street shooters prefer a rangefinder and I get what they're going for. It's slick and stealthy, never wanting the public attention unlike SLRs. People don't take you seriously when taking pictures giving you freedom to shoot away. The silent shutter never gives a clue your taking your shot. And the rangefinder focus keeps it all fun to use. You still have all your manual controls to tweak to your content, but somehow, shooting with a rangefinder takes away the seriousness and concentration that an SLR demands.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

On Shooting Film

what's in the bag, originally uploaded by bR!@n.

Film is not for everybody. It has its own appeal and purpose.

If you shoot for perfection (you know, getting that perfect shot every time) then film is not for you. Shooting film entails a certain openness and attitude. Going its way means being open to mistakes and being humble enough to learn from them. You accept that everything you do will have a flaw, but you give it your best just the same. You will have your chance at correcting those mistakes eventually, it's just gonna have to wait another roll.


You don't really shoot film for the final output (that's how I see it, at least) but more on for the experience of it. Kind of like "its not the destination that matters, its how you get there" kind of stuff. There's something about being involved in the whole process of taking a photograph that just gets you hooked. So much so that sometimes how you take the picture becomes as important as what outcome you produce in the end. You're involved in everything that gets put into that frame, and it's all you. No auto focus, no sensor processing, no metering compensation. Everything in there was your decision and that just makes the image much more personal.


Shooting film slows you down. If you're a trigger happy kind of shooter producing hundreds of pictures in a single run, well that's just not practical when you use film. You can buy lots of rolls but every shot costs you money. Between buying film, developing, and scanning or printing, each frame may cost you a couple of dollars depending on how you do it. Using film teaches you to take your time and think twice on each shot, but it also teaches you how to make quick decisions when you have to.


Patience is one other thing that film teaches you. In this day and age where everything is instant, people often times are very impatient. We always want to get things in real time; news feeds, live streaming, social media. If you take pictures and need it to be instantly seen by the world (or even just you), then film will not be able to do that for you. Some things do still take time. Film gives you the opportunity to step back from that busy world and just.. take your sweet time. Some times it's hard when you take a picture and you don't really know what you got, but that's actually part of the appeal of film. It's like the excitement of opening a present not knowing what's inside compared to opening a box from Amazon containing that thing that you handpicked from their website. Of course, as of all gifts, expect to be disappointed every now and then.


In the end, it's all about having fun. (I'm assuming that's why you take pictures anyway.) Each person will have their own preference of shooting, their own style. What's important is whatever style of shooting you choose, it's the one that you enjoy doing. Having just recently try out film photography, I must say that shooting digital will never be the same. It makes you appreciate the technological advances that most of the time we take for granted. But at the same time, it's also liberating knowing you can operate on your own, knowing that what you produce in the end is all you. It takes the process of shooting a picture to another level of experience. And I just find it more fun than just composing and clicking the shutter. But, again, that's just me.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Going Back to School

The last time I had experience using film was the first time I tried my hand in photography. Complete.. utter.. fail. (

I had my share of using film before. We had a film camera growing up and I remember always having a roll of film and a Kodak camera on my backpack back in high school. It was just all for fun back then, taking pictures of silly stuff we did. I remember just shooting every where.. in the school library, the classroom while taking exams, just fooling around inside and outside campus. (it's fun to pop out the flash when things get boring during class ;p) Anyway, I don't remember putting much thought into it back then. All I wanted was to capture fun things that everyone can enjoy.

And so now I decided to take another crack at film. Why? Because my old 400D has died on me a few months ago, I'm stuck here in the US for six months without a proper camera, and the new one I want, well.. let's just say it's currently "out of the budget". I will still be saving for that OM-D, but for now I have my OM10 to keep me busy ;p.

Got this one off of ebay, used of course, but in pristine condition. I may need to replace my light seals later on but aside from that, almost like new. It came with a 50mm Zuiko, a 135mm Makinon, and its original receipt! (Dated 7/23/1984, it's just a little bit younger than I am.) Very impressed with the build of these things. First released in the late 70's, everything was metal heavy. Very solid and stable. They just don't make SLRs like this anymore.

I'm currently two-thirds through my first roll and I'm not expecting anything special. I'm looking forward though to actually seeing the results. This may very well be a test roll to just test out the camera.. And my first lessons on working full manual.

It's quite a bit of an adjustment from digital; working with a fixed ISO, advancing the film lever, using the focus and aperture rings on the lense, setting the shutter speed, getting your metering right, and finally hitting that shutter button. It's that one fluid process of taking a shot, waiting for everything to fall into place. It has a certain calmness into it.

The experience here is pure photography. All you're working with is light, glass, and film. There's no image processor to auto-correct your images, no auto-focus mechanism. Instead you have to be quick with your hands and your eye. There are a lot of decisions to be made in that decisive moment before pressing the shutter, and all of them has to be right. :)

prints!, originally uploaded by bR!@n.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


out of reach, originally uploaded by bR!@n.

Give me something to do and I'll do it. Leave me with nothing to do and I'll do something better.