The semester was finally over and I had started to commit more of my time to my hobby of film photography. I’d recently got myself my first SLR: a Seagull DF-300A (a licensed third party copy of the Minolta’s X-300), which came with a not-so-sharp 50mm f/1.8 lens (the Seagull-610 MC) but that didn’t bother me too much.
I also got myself some Kodak Pro Image 100 which was a film stock I had not heard of before and the price tag quickly let me know it was for “Professional” use. Lastly, I managed to wrangle up some friends to model for me since we recently found a nice and quiet rooftop location to shoot in. It was all coming together.
All these images were shot in late February 202, which of course means a certain something was on the rise. It wasn’t as prevalent where we were, yet. There were some warnings and rumors going around about an outbreak overseas, but nobody was really sure of any of it. Which, and this may sound pretty dumb, made us want to go out and do this shoot even more. We all felt on some level that this one day was our fleeting chance at doing this; our first “legitimate photoshoot”!
One of my friends scouted the location because, well, he lived there and told us the rooftop was always open and a great location. We definitely got lucky because on the day of the shoot the entire space was completely empty which meant that we had all the freedom to take our time, finish our photoshoot in peace and have fun too.
Having never shot on a film SLR before, getting used to manually focusing, shooting on shutter priority or even just getting used to the thin focal plane at f/1.8 was a bit of a struggle at first but I quickly got into the swing of it. Not that it was suddenly a pro or anything, there were some shots on that roll that make me grateful this isn’t called “36 Frames With”.
[EM: Rizan, you could post the whole roll here, you know… 😉 ]
Shooting with a film stock I never even heard of was exciting and daunting at the same time. I can say for sure though that I will be using this stock again — when I can anyway. From just the images on the packaging, I can tell it’s definitely meant to be used in a studio setting with good, controlled lighting. But I’m sure the results speak for themselves because the colours just look amazing, almost like Kodak Portra but with a cooler white balance.
It’s like the love child of Kodak Portra and Fuji Pro 400H.
This may seem like a strange choice but my favourite photo from the entire shoot is this one of my friend where I very obviously missed the mark in focusing. But I’m kind of glad I did because it gives the image a lot more depth (ironic considering it was shot at f/1.8) and atmosphere — peaceful almost.
Sure, not all the pictures are as sharp as could be but I unbiasedly (if that’s even possible) love how the pictures turned out, and my friends who joined me in the shoot share this sentiment. Not only because we like the pictures but especially considering the fact that this was back in February. At the time of writing in late June 2020 we’ve already almost finished an entire semester at uni since then, and we haven’t met or seen each other in months.
I’m sure many people have realised this but I’d like to reiterate how important it is — moving forward — to really make the most of every single day we have an opportunity to do something, anything. Because you never know when you might suddenly be stuck overseas or living in your apartment without leaving it more than once a week for months and months on end.
Stay safe everyone, we’ll get through this.
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