July 9, 2017

jch streetpan 400 in japan

Always curious and excited for new film, I tried out the new JCH StreetPan 400 film last month.

It was last year when the famous camera collector, Bellamy Hunt (aka JapanCameraHunter), launched his own black and white film. It's great to know how some people and companies still work hard to keep film alive. Although they always come with a price, it's very important to support the makers, because after all film doesn't grow on trees.

Early this year, I asked my good friend Gretzen, who is currently based in Tokyo for work, to buy me a couple of rolls of this film. Be grateful for friends who are willing to support your love for film :)

I thought, where's the best place to use JCH StreetPan 400? Hmm.. In Japan, of course ;)


I only had a few days to spend in Osaka, and barely had a moment to marinate myself in this city, so my approach was just to dive in and take snapshots of what's presented at me. I had very limited to time even think of composition.

Most shots were underexposed because, well, I am me. (It's frustrating when you use a straightforward P&S camera with the only thing you need to set is the aperture, and still not nail the exposure).

But in some photos where I had decent exposure, I simply like how the contrast just punch in you the face :)

Cool girls in Nipponbashi

In the narrow alleys of Gion :)

Damn, contrast!

Taxis in Gion <3

Tori gates in Fushimi Inari at Kyoto

Midnight crossing at Osaka, which brings such great memories <3

July 2, 2017

what drives me to shoot film

Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan

Depth. Character. Chemistry. These are the things that I would normally answer if someone would ask me why I shoot film.

But behind these "artistic" answers ─ lies the brutal truth: Frustration is what drives me to keep shooting film. Haha.

Frustration that comes from buying an expensive film, thinking you will shoot stunning photos with it, only to find out in the end that your vision is still the same from Day 1.

Takoyaki in the making

This is Cinestill 800T film. More expensive than the films that I shoot with, which are already expensive in the first place. Bought it for Php625 per roll (around $12), 36 shots, at Film Folk.

This is not to say that I'm complaining about how film makers and shops mark the price on their product; I totally accept it, and thankful for their existence and will to keep film alive. I'm frustrated at myself — for creating an illusion that a good film would somehow affect and improve my vision.

I cannot remember the last time I was exceptionally satisfied with my photos. Maybe I'm overthinking here, but I used to be over the moon with my own photos (lol self-absorbed much). These days, my satisfaction ratings usually are Okay to Meh to Why Did I Even Bother?

Pretty flowers in front of a temple in Kyoto.

Grilled scallops and the sungit scallop guy :p

My brain is so used to document memories, I usually just click away whenever I feel like it. I wish I could learn more to get into that creating mode.

A helpful Ate Gurl/Train Guide at a Shinkansen station

Kyoto rails

Though, when I think about it, it's not that bad if frustration is my driving factor. I keep on doing it anyway despite it. I guess, I wish that I was shooting because I'm creating photos that I like, instead of shooting away because I keep on chasing at least one good photo.

(Anyway..... Ang dami kong sinabi di ba? Pero ang ending I really do love film :) I keep it alive, because it makes me feel alive wow pinagsasabe, lol)

Anyway, on to a brief Cinestill 800T thoughts..

They're just thoughts because I'm not knowledgeable to talk about a film technically to call it a review. I mean, I literally, just shoot film.

  • I did not expect the cool tones during daylight. I'm usually inclined to appreciate a photo for the warm colors, but the blues worked for me in this case.
  • I feel stupid for discovering that I did not shoot an ISO 800 film during the night. I'll take note of this next time!
  • I like the grain. Some shots are particularly grainy because of my miscalculation in metering, but in most shots where I think my exposure is acceptable, the grain doesn't make me want to jump off a cliff.

Japanese taxis are so elegant-looking, I could not keep my eyes off them when they're around.

June 18, 2017

my first roll of redscale film

It was my first time to shoot redscale film even after shooting film for four years. I'm telling you, I'm not experimental on things. I've said this before, I'm sure. I do things, and when I see that the way I do them works, I will stick to it for as long as I can.

I never bought any redscale film for a simple reason: I don't dig the red-stricken photos. So, it was only sensible that I spend my hard-earned money on films that I already enjoy or aspire shooting with, than on film that I'm not interested that much.

Good thing that last December, my Emulsive Secret Santa got me a loot of film photography goodies with a roll of Rollei Redbird in it. I've asked around the #believeinfilm community in Twitter (basically a bunch of awesome, helpful people) and researched a bit about it before popping it into my Minolta X-500 (my latest acquired SLR camera!)

Redbird was fresh and rated at 400, but to consider that I was going to shoot the other side of the film where there is a lot less of transparency (hence, the red tint), I shot it at ISO 100. Now that I've tried it, I was proven otherwise. I enjoy seeing the results :)

I did not know I would like seeing red and yellow until I saw them on my own photos. Ahh, science <3

And to add more fascination, I also got this awesome bluish tint on some of the frames. I'm trying to remember the settings I shot them with so I'd take note of it for my next redscale film. I really like this blue wash :)

If I get the chance to shoot with another redscale film, I would probably spend shooting the entire roll outdoors, in landscape and architecture, where there are a lot more details and shadows to play with.

In the end, I'm glad I get to try it. On a normal shooting day, I would enjoy more the actual shoot than seeing the results. But with redscale, it was the other way around. Variety is good, sometimes :) Note to self.

June 12, 2017


Yikes, I know.

I haven't posted anything here in two months. But let's be honest, my mind wasn't into this blog anymore since the last few months of 2016.

What happened then:

  • I didn't renew my then domain, grewlegs.com
  • I quit being grewlegs.. because I can lol
  • I started over with a new pseudo, harayaphoto on Instagram and nowharaya on Twitter

No reason in particular. I guess that's how I detoxify in the virtual world, get rid of everything completely. One thing that only makes me a bit sad is that, although I've been vocal on my former blogname that I'm growing tired of it, I didn't give any proper goodbye to the few people who knew that domain. I simply disappeared.

I remember one person sending me an email, wondering where the blog has gone.. It was only one person, but I didn't think someone would go out of their way to hunt me.

So, if you've been following me before, and still following me now, I sincerely thank you for sticking around..

Well, we're here now in 2017, and let me tell you, this year is tough.

I've allowed some changes to take place, and as a Taurus, boy, you don't know how we hate change. 3 years after my first attempt, I've decided to go to graduate school again.

And then probably only 2 weeks later, I was surprisingly offered with a new position in my company. I was given only a few days to decide if I'm going to take it or not. Going back to school is already a big task in itself, what more juggling it with a new job?

In the end, I did take the new job with eyes closed.

Gradually, studying and working on a new path took away the time I used to allot for the things I enjoy: reading, writing, taking photos. And even telling my usual, nonsensical things here or in Twitter, I had no time for.

But lately, I've been feeling it.

The need to do the simple things again. But if they were the simple ones, why did I have to let go of them first?

..things I ask myself.