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!

First Roll of 2019

Frame 1: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

This was the first frame I took this year. My cat sits on the air purifier while I sit at my desk. I guess she likes the fan. We should have called her Marilyn. The light from the window to her left was particularly strong. I’m happy I got a full frame from this considering it was first. My wife said “how can you make the cutest kitten in the world look so scary?..”

Frame 7: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

So my plan for this post was simply to go through most of the photos from my first roll of the year. I had a bit of a contemplation during the end of last year. One thing that continually came to me was how much I needed to shoot film. I don’t know what it is honestly. It isn’t some hipster nonsense “look” or anything of the sort. It just works for my brain. I was sitting down last night scanning these mediocre photos and I felt near-on giddy.


Frame 3: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

These photos aren’t in any particular order. I’ll probably share 20 or so. The way I shoot film is I shoot 4 to 5 frames of most scenes. Even mundane stuff like my lunch (the Soju bottle actually houses sesame oil ;)). I got in the habit of doing this because I shoot without a meter. I guess you can call it self bracketing.

Frame 5: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Would I benefit from a camera with a meter? Maybe. I never end up using them after the battery dies. I never agree with the meters either. Maybe I’m weird. I end up second guessing myself with a meter. I prefer to just trust that I’m right.

Frame 18: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 19: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

My way of developing is quite strange too. I develop a roll based on my brain’s version of what it thinks the roll was shot like. For example, if I feel I slightly over exposed the more memorable photos in the roll I will develop the roll slightly less than I might normally do.

Frame 9: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

People hate watching me develop because I don’t use a thermometer, don’t clean my negatives, and only use a wall clock for timing things.

Frame 10: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

As I developed this roll a friend from Seoul was watching me. He was cringing the whole time constantly saying I’m crazy. I changed the developing time midway because I remembered something from the roll. He wanted to bet with me that they wouldn’t turn out.

Frame 24: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 25: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I don’t want this to come off as I’m some kind of mad genius. In fact, I’m quite lazy, hate maths, and lost my thermometer years ago. The fact of the matter is, black and white film is so forgiving that it is a joke to care so much. At least for me.

Frame 27: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

One thing I’d say is clean your negatives before you develop. I never do aside from a slight dip in my magic sauce (classified information and no dirty ideas it is safe for work ;)). This is basically the reason for the cloudy look of my negatives.

Frame 14: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Well, that is what has been hypothesized by those whom have watched me develop. Who knows. I just keep doing the same thing. I hate being introduced to new developers or fixers. I’m too lazy to learn something new.

Frame 15: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Ah, I guess then I should tell you what I do use. I use T-max developer and Ilford fixer. I love Tmax with Tmax film but these days it has just become too expensive. It is also okay with HP5 like this roll was.

Frame 21: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I didn’t shoot much street on this roll. It was the first roll with a camera I wasn’t used to. Wish I would have shot more “normally” though considering every frame (exposure / focus wise) came out great.

Frame 22: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Forgot to mention some big news! Yesterday I started shooting the introduction for my YouTube channel. I know I’ve promised this many times. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever taken it seriously.

Frame 23: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I even hired someone to take care of the filming outside. Yesterday was supposedly the “practice” session but there was lots of useable footage from the day.

And yes, I know you video guys are going to tell my the Olympus camera I have sucks for video. I’m sure it does. Basically it is what I have and it works. The footage looked fine to me. Maybe later I’ll get something “better.”

Frame 30: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

That’s about it for today.

What’s up next?

Well, I’m waiting on my 40mm Summicron to come back from service to shoot another roll of film. In the meantime, I’ve got two reviews coming up. One of the Leica C-Lux and another of the Google Pixel 3.

You can expect the Pixel review by the end of the week. Small spoiler, the camera is really, really good. Really good. Like, really. The Pixel has never been available in Korea so I’d never even held one until recently. I don’t know how I can go back to anything else.

Friends in Japan wanna be on call to send me one when needed ๐Ÿ˜‰ ?

Anyway, kitten picture to end the day.

Manbo. Google Pixel 3, Portrait Mode.

Peace kids.

-Jt