2019: Roll 3

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Already finished with my third roll of the year. That, if you haven’t been following me, is quick fast for me. Normally I shoot two rolls or so a month if I’ve nothing special to shoot.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Why? Well, not super easy to answer that. I think the main reason is my excitement to be committed to shooting film again. This “commitment” came from a realization I had during my regular yearly photo purge.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I should start by explaining the idea of the yearly purge. Every year, during the last week of December I sit down and delete all the photos I took during that year aside from 40. I use the number 40 because to me it is basically like a roll of film. I throw out the other negatives (aside from those on either side of one of the forty) and get rid of the backups of digital files.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I should say this doesn’t really include stuff like iPhone photos or selfies with my wife. That being said, in the forty I choose I have generally become more nostalgic. I am more likely to choose one like the above of my wife playing a board game because of the way the photo makes ME feel.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Getting back to my commitment to film. When I went through last years photos I felt something different about the film photos. They felt more real. It is hipster dumbness, maybe, but I really loved the idea that the actual film negative was there with me at the moment I took the photo.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I also think that for me personally I have a great sense of discipline when I shoot film. I have a terrible habit of looking at my photos the first cafe I get to or break I have on the subway.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I am well aware that this is a mental problem. Something I could easily fix with some discipline. I think I shoot differently when I shoot film. I look for different things and ignore others. I don’t take photos for the sake of taking them.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Same old shit you’ve read on countless blogs or seen in countless YouTube videos I know. I apologize for that. It is just the truth though. It does really make me feel different.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

That isn’t even to mention to fact that I have grown to love the developing part. I once hated it. I was too impatient. Now, I really enjoy it. It is the only time I let me cats into my darkroom. They come and play while I drink a glass of wine and listen to an audiobook or podcast.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

What about the scanning? Well, scanning also has kind of become a bit of a routine for me. I have grown to enjoy it. I am in fact scanning these while I write this and inserting them while I do. By the time 6 finish I am ready to add the next group. It works for me.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

You may be asking why they are bouncing between Seoul and Iksan so much. Basically I bounce between Seoul and Iksan a lot. I don’t take so many photos so you might see a couple days gap in between some of these where the camera was around my neck but I didn’t actually shoot anything.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Ah, to answer some questions:

What film do you use? I thought you used Tmax?

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I also loved Tmax. It was like my first girlfriend in film. I never liked TriX at all. The grain was too much. The contrast was too much. The tones between black and white were too abrupt. Tmax was a lot better for me. The feeling was more nostalgic. More akin to my mind’s eye.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Now I shoot HP5. There are some simple reasons for this.. but the most important one is price. HP5 costs about 15% less a roll here than Tmax. The second reason I shoot HP5 is somehow I feel like Ilford cares more about us (film photographers). I could be wrong, but I do feel that. HP5 at 3200 still has a nice look for me. It is somewhere between Tmax and Trix. Sometimes the tones can be a bit abrupt, but not so much as Trix. Ugh, I hate Trix.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

What developer do you use? 

This I am more strict about than with film, strangely. Tmax developer is the only developer in my book. I don’t know about others and care not to know, ha.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Forgot the scan the above first time around. Not sure how that happened.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

It’s a big holiday here in Korea. I think we are exhausted. Good to have a day to do nothing but develop some film and write a blog post. I’m counting down the minutes until 2:00PM when I think it seems late enough to have a beer.

Vlog camera test.

What about this YouTube? 

Coming soon 😉 I already made my first couple of videos and have them on my Instagram. Tomorrow I’m going to the nearby historic city of Jeonju with a videographer and her assistant. Also have my vlogging setup nearly complete. I received the 11-22mm lens from Canon for my M50 right before the holiday and it seems to make things a whole lot easier when filming myself. Smallish tripod also on the way.

Seoul, South Korea.

Anyway, that is about it for this roll. Catch you all on the flip side 😉

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Coming Up

Seoul, South Korea. Canon M50, 14-45mm.

So today’s blog post is going to be something a little different. It’s my last Monday off for a while. I’d kinda gotten used to Monday being a vlogging / blogging day. Alas, looks like my Monday will soon be busy again.

For today, I didn’t really have enough of anything to post yet I wanted to post something anyway. I guess you could consider this a little bit of a what’s up next preview.

Vlog life. Iksan, South Korea.

As you can probably tell from the above, I’m going pretty hard on the vlogging these days. I wouldn’t consider myself exactly good at it. I am basically trying to transfer what I do here into a video format. It’s coming along but not quite ready for prime time yet.

I bought the Canon M50 on recommendation from some “vloggers” that I knew and/or reached out to. Interestingly, it seemed the overwhelming choice for something “starting” out. I kinda cheaped out and only got the 14-45 kit lens with the body and a mic. I’d been trying to use an Olympus camera but after a couple of attempts at using it I realized quickly it wasn’t very easy to work with considering my limited video skill.

Getting ready for Seoul.

After just a couple of hours with the Canon I started to understand why it was so highly recommended. I’m not planning on shooting in 4K and I guess that is its biggest weakness. In 1080p the auto-focus in video is borderline incredible.

I filmed my first “test” video the night I received the camera and it was a simple packing of my bag for a trip to Seoul (video is on my IGTV if you’re interested). While it turned out to be way longer than I’d anticipated and I only had one camera angle I was happy with the workflow. I’m editing in the iPad LumaFusion app and it has been great for someone with limited editing experience.

Wotancraft Trooper XL.

Before I go too far I should say the video in question stemmed from the amount of comments I’d gotten on Instagram regarding my (new) bag, the Wotancraft Trooper XL. I’d long wanted to graduate from the backpack style bags I’d been using for years. I’ve tried so many things. This one, however, has been the one. The next post I make will be a review of this bag.

Spoiler: I highly recommend it. I fecking love it.

Seoul, South Korea. Canon M50, 14-45mm.
Seoul, South Korea. Canon M50, 14-45.

Aside from that I have several other things in the works. As per another Instagram request I’ve started working on a review of the M50 for stills. I think this is important as for a lot of people the M50 would be their only camera. I may not be qualified to judge its video prowess but I think I can comment a little on its merits as a stills camera. I plan on doing the review mostly with the kit lens and perhaps an adapted Leica lens for comparison.

Iksan Bus Terminal, Iksan South Korea. Canon M50, 14-45.

To be honest, so far I think it is quite a good camera. There are some things I don’t like mainly its horrible sounding shutter. I don’t mean it is loud, I don’t care much about that, but it just sounds so “ugly.” Otherwise, it has proven itself to be a pleasant little camera.

The other things I’m working on at the moment are reviews of the iPad (6th generation 2018), the Google Pixel 3 for photography, some medium format film stuff, and the launch of my next zine (Neverland Volume II.)

The Pixel 3 has quite honestly blown me away with its photo capabilities. I suppose you can wait for the full review but needless to say it is insane what it does with software.

Iksan, South Korea. Google Pixel 3.
Iksan, South Korea. Google Pixel 3.

Considering the above photo was shot in candlelight in a pitch black room at ISO 3000 something on a smartphone is basically impossible in my brain. She literally moved as I was shooting this and I thought “well, there goes that shot” and yet it turned out TACK sharp. Insanity.

Anyway, I digress. More to come! Hope you enjoyed my slightly frantic post about nothing. One thing I will say, I’m really enjoying posting frequently again. I hope I find a way to translate all this into videos soon. And for those of you who prefer to read, I will consider the posts as a kind of script for the videos so no need to consume both, haha.

Stay tuned!

Five Goals For 2019

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

So, it is 2019. How time flies. I can’t believe last year went by so quickly. Was shocking to me. Was really one of the best years in my life. That is, at least personally. It almost felt like a vacation of a year. 2019 is here and I need to buckle down and get productive. Here are my five goals for 2019:

They rarely leave me alone.. 😉

Number One: Blog More

This one is kind of a must. The beginning of all this photography stuff from me came from my blog. I’ve become more lazy when it comes to my blog. I posted five or six times all of last year. That isn’t enough. I need to be better.

I plan to blog at least once a week, rain or shine. Some of the posts may very well be boring. I am still going to write them though. It is something I need to do for me.

I purchased a domain for the first time in my life today: jtinseoul.com.


Iksan, South Korea. Sometime in 2018.

Number Two: Take More Photos

This one may seem obvious. I took around 500 photos last year. That is down from the 800 the year before. Down again from the 1100 in 2016. I need to be better at this too. I think this goes hand in hand with my blog posts being down. I write my blog posts based on my photos and not the other way round.

I have started walking in the mornings with my camera. This isn’t something I’d done in a really long time. I very rarely just take photos. I always needed to have a purpose. Another purpose. I consider my other purpose to be getting in better shape.

Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

Number Three: Get in Better Shape

Well, how about that for a segway. I have gained 15kgs since 2016. Not good. Basically the happier I am the lazier I am. Also not good. Last year was a happy year. That means lots of beer, good food, and very little exercise. Time to change that. I plan on doing those morning walks every day. It may not seem like much but it is a hell of a lot more than I’ve been doing for about 18 months. Hopefully I can keep this up. I promised my wife I would lose weight this year. I have to keep my promise. She literally dances like a ballerina while she cleans (see above picture) so I have a tough critic to please.

Maybe they should be the stars…

Number Four: Actually Start my YouTube Channel

This one I have been promising for years. I have tried several times to get it going but have never had the gumption nor the equipment to do it properly. Truth be told I was never really sure how to start. I was never really sure what content you guys may want. I will gladly take advice on this! I filmed a video last week about a laptop I got from Samsung. An unboxing, of sorts. Not sure how well it turned out yet. I’m scared to sit down and edit it, haha. I will do so this week. It won’t be the first video I post, however. I plan on shooting a channel introduction this week as well. I even hired someone to help me shoot it. No turning back now!

On the way to Busan.

Number Five: Transitional Year

During this year one thing I really want to do is transition into an artist. Sounds cliche. Sounds stupid even. I’ve never given this lifestyle a real chance. I have never really taken this whole thing very seriously. I know it isn’t easy. I know it is in fact, really hard. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. I feel I owe it to myself to try. So, I will do so! I have already started the remodeling process of a darkroom and studio in my house. I have always dreamed about having an analogue studio in my house and I am going to make it happen. I am most excited about this of all the things I’ve mentioned so far.

This is perhaps the biggest of these goals. Again, I’m open to advice! In fact, I really enjoyed reading the advice from some of you after my post last weekend. It all helps.

Up Next: My favourite 10 Photos of 2018. Stay tuned 😉 One of the photos in this post is on the list.. can you guess which? haha.