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Jtinseoul by Jtinseoul - 1M ago

Let me start by saying this is a complete and utter ripoff of one of my favourite blog posts by one of my favourite photography bloggers, Blake Andrews. Catch his original Camera as Artifact post with his Leica M6 (Post here).

Let’s get started on my homage:

The camera in question is the Bessa-R. Most people don’t even know I have this camera even though I think it has shot more rolls than any other camera I’ve owned. It’s kinda like survival of the fittest, I guess. My friend explained it to be by saying this camera has maximum fade-ability. That is to say, it fades into the background so it doesn’t get traded, sold, thrown out, or given away. It just survives.

So, Darwin here has been through a lot. Korea is extremely humid so when summer time comes Darwin gets used the most. He’s not afraid of sand, humidity, moisture, or drunkenness. Survival is his best attribute.

He’s also a bit of a thief, as you can see. My wife hasn’t noticed yet that Darwin stole all but one of the screws from the bottom of her X100. He wants a new bottom, but I keep telling him that it is only for him to sit on, why he need a new one?

The lens isn’t a particularly old for me but is quite exciting. Darwin’s dreamed about this lens for a while being one of the newest thread mount cameras. The Ricoh GR LTM lens. Considering my love for the Ricoh GR film cameras, getting this lens was absolutely a dream come true. First roll from it coming soon.

Again, thanks again to Blake Andrews for the original idea for this. I’ll make this a short series I believe.

Enjoy your weekend,

Iksan, 2019.

JT

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Jtinseoul by Jtinseoul - 3M ago
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.

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Jtinseoul by Jtinseoul - 4M ago
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!

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Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll probably know I’m a sucker for compact cameras. Many of you probably found me because of a compact camera of some sort. In fact, for my general street photography I have always preferred compact cameras. I haven’t used many lately, but the above generally holds true.

Iksan, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

So let me get the disclaimers out of the way before I continue:

  1. I work for the Leica Akademie here in Korea as organizer and head teacher.
  2. I am well aware there is a cheaper Panasonic version of this camera. In my humble opinion (work bias aside) I think the extra warranty, resale value (the Leica versions hold their value much better whether you think this is justified or not) and subjectively better looks are well worth the price difference.

Okay, now that that is out of the way let us continue with my Leica C-Lux 2019 first impressions.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think it is cute the handsome camera. I very much like the blue tones and leatherette grip. I also generally love a silver lens on a black body. Of course, the lens isn’t silver but the multifunction ring is. I quite dig it.

The camera itself has a bit of a weird lens for my normal tastes. It’s a 24-360 that is only f3.3 at the widest. I find the former a positive. First, as this will be a travel / video camera for me I appreciate the range more than I might on a dedicated street camera. Second, the f3.3 doesn’t make much of a difference to me as I wouldn’t buy a compact camera for “bokeh.” That said, bokeh can be had because of the zoom range if you don’t mind using your feet a bit.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

As a street camera, it performs great. Even with the crazy zoom range there is little to no distortion or what happens to be there is well controlled with the software. I love the fact that Panasonic and Leica always include the ability to zoom their lenses in steps. I find 24 a little wide these days so I have the camera set to turn on at 28mm. It is very fast to turn on and shoot.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

There are some convenience features I quite like as well. The camera uses a low powered bluetooth mode to send photos to my smartphone as I walk around shooting. This it makes quite easy to sit down and edit in a coffee shop when I need a break. All the photos here were edited in Snapseed. They might be a bit much for you, I just try to keep all my photos looking somewhat similar these days. This is as close as I can get to my film photos.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux. Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I included the normal version of the photo above for your reference. I like this photo. I asked the woman to look more into the light and then we got talking. She grew up very close to where I live now.

Another feature I love about the C-Lux is its ability to charge via USB. I can charge it on the go with my laptop or a battery bank. I really, really wish it were USB-C but I guess we are a ways off of that on cameras yet. Maybe next year.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I didn’t find myself using the zoom very much during the first day of shooting. I did take a portrait of my wife with it later at night that I am saving for the full review. Much like the need for a viewfinder I find the need for a prime lens when shooting street photography to be a bunch of hipster nonsense. The only actual reason I see for this is size. With a camera like this it matters very little.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

One thing I won’t really talk about a lot until the main review is the flash. It is a bounce type flash that is similar to that on the RX100 series. Because of the zoom range the flash on the C-Lux is quite strong for its size. This is important if you want that Daido Moriyama high constrast blow out the highlights kinda look. I didn’t do much testing of this yet aside from a couple of shots around my house. Expect more in the review.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think the reason I like compact cameras so much is they so perfectly match the “moment” of capture to me. The photos I take with a compact camera almost always seem to be closer to my mind’s eye. I don’t think this is exclusive to any particular compact camera just those cameras in general.

So, surely I am not saying you go and buy this camera. I will say it ticks all the boxes I want in a modern compact camera. It has a 1 inch sensor, viewfinder, strong flash, nice looks, touch screen(also in the menus) self contained lens cap, bluetooth, and usb charging. The video is a big bonus since I have started to do a lot more of that.

Anyway, that is all for my first impression of the Leica C-Lux. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.

Upcoming reviews include the C-lux, the Leica MP (film), the Wotancraft Trooper, and the Pixel 3.

Much love from Korea,

Josh.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.
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Jtinseoul by Jtinseoul - 4M ago
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.

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Jtinseoul by Jtinseoul - 4M ago
Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

5

This is a photo of my mom. My mom came to Korea for the first time in 2018. I cherished that time with her. We didn’t have a great relationship when I was young. She’s a bit like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Tons of heart but extremely strict and can be borderline scary. She was a high school teacher and the type that you’d imagine still might have a belt lying around. That said, she has softened much in her old age. I took this after my wedding reception. She was hungover. My mom literally never drinks. Well, Junku bro and friends had her drinking at my reception and she was feeling the effects. She stayed like this for a whole day. She’s coming back this may. I can’t wait.

Iksan, South Korea. July 2018.

4

I shared this in my last post as well. I absolutely love this photo. When my wife cleans the floors she dances like a ballerina. It is one of the most beautiful and graceful things I’ve ever seen. She clears the floors of obstructions, plays a classical piano arrangement and floats through the rooms with a cloth and some water. I’d never been able to get a very good photo during the routine. She’s embarrassed by it. I haven’t a clue why.

Iksan, South Korea. February 2018.

3

This was also taken during the unusual snow storms that plagued Iksan for a couple of days in 2018. I was on my way to class when I saw this loan man just kind of standing there contemplating his plight. I took this without much care to be honest. I was cold and had no gloves so I wasn’t much in the mood to be taking photos. I’m glad I did. Prints of this now hang in many countries throughout the world. It was my most requested photo from this year. Generally I don’t agree with those numbers but in this case, I love this photo.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

2

So the last two photos were taken one right after the other with the above having been taken second.

I took this photo of my wife on our wedding day. I didn’t take many photos during the day, perhaps 10. Every time I see this photo I am filled with happiness. She was talking to a friend or something but I couldn’t see anything but her.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

1

This is my favourite photo of 2018. It isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken technically. It is a photo that I would describe as an amalgamation of compromises. I took the photo in our then unfinished living room. The lighting was a simple placeholder light that struggled to light the entire room. I had 400 speed Ilford film loaded in my camera and no flash. I’d shot the previous 15 photos on the roll at 400 because I’d dreamed of my wedding photos being “clean.” Realizing this wasn’t going to work I just said f%$k it and decided to shoot this at what I’d thought to be 3200 (no meter on my camera). I think continued to take 6 photos of her during the next 3-5 minutes (number 2 on this list being also taken during that time) at what I judged to be 3200. I developed the film as such and just threw out the rest of the negatives. I only wanted these photos. They are grainy, and show the lack of dynamic range in the film at 3200. I don’t care. I wanted to get those photos. Do I wish they were digital? Not at all. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me to look through my book of negatives and see these photos. Those pieces of film were there with me at that moment. Cheesy? Maybe.

I could give a f%$k.

Hope you enjoyed this year’s top 10. I didn’t take many photos this year. Around 500 in total. That’s okay. I love the photos I did get. Nowadays I’m more than happy to get 2-3 photos a year I consider to be good.

Much love.

Josh

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