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.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Trust me on the sunscreen.

January 20, 2013. Today's as good as any to have a listen... Way to start off the day. ;p

Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99 If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh nevermind,
you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.

But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now

how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked…

You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future or worry,
but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind

the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts,
don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy
sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…

the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults
if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…
the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives,

some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t,
maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t,

maybe you’ll divorce at 40,

maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…
what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either

your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…
don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it,

it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own...

even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard
live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, 
prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old,

and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young

prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse

but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia,

dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…