.. And The Infinite Taste for Travel and Infantile Adventures

Posts tagged “photography

Farewell Neopan 1600!

Fuji Neopan 1600 BW. Nikon F2. 50mm 1.4 prime

Shutter Speeds: 1/500- 1/1000

Aperture: 1.4

This set is basically a dream come true. I really wanted to also try shooting sports (on film format). I just didn’t have the chance to grab hold of a film that really fits the situation, until a few months ago! I used a Neopan 1600 iso high speed black and white film. Thanks to my good friend Eugene for developing this roll, and of course the scanner goes to Canoscan 4400F.  The Fuji Neopan 1600 iso film has been discontinued for practical reasons today. This is my fitting goodbye to the grainy high speed film. What better way than to test it in action inside the Hevtek United-Ancheta Jiu JItsu grind house. Due to the uneven lighting inside the gym, I used bracketing to get the right exposure.

The Fuji Neopan 1600 was discontinued because of the presence of its 400iso counterpart. According to the rules that they give when you are trying to push or pull the film during developing process, you could actually hike it or decrease it by two stops and the results will remain the same. In terms of economic practicality, it really makes a lot of sense. The price of 1600 Neopan is a bit more expensive than the 400 iso Neopan. Why have a 1600 if you could push the 400?

These are some of the outtakes and I’ll be posting more on Flickr in the coming days!



Reviewing The Nikon F2

I used the Nikon F2 for the Ilocos trip and so far I’m pretty much contented with the Nikkor 50mm 1.4 lens. Though no doubt, the F2 is such a great find; I just can’t stand the fact that wear and tear definitely manifested through the whole shooting process.

  1. On and off functionality of F stops 8-16.

I had the difficulty shooting outdoors because the shutter curtain won’t allow the light to get through UNLESS you press the depth of field preview button. I do not know if it is the 50 mm NIkkor lens to blame or it is the F2. If anyone knows what could be the cause of this ruckus, drop me a line.

  1. Faulty back cover lock.

It was quite frustrating to have some of your shots wiped off with the lock failing to keep the back cover tightly closed. Though the lock at the bottom of the camera was secured to “C”, it kept on opening ajar resulting to some frames being destroyed. Fortunately it didn’t damage a whole roll.

  1. The head definitely gives the F2 a trashy look

If you will read about the F2 it has several heads from the viewfinders that allow you to shoot from the waist to the typical eye level view finders. Mine has a wrecked front removing the “Nikon” logo upfront. It was mentioned that it is really common to cannibalize viewfinders or heads in order to fix other Nikon cameras. It is likely that my F2 was a victim of this probable theory.

Of course, you really don’t want to have all problems and no solutions. I finally narrowed three problems to one pressing problem, scratching the two others (as a non-issue for me). Since I really don’t want to destroy rolls of hard work and joy, I am going to reinforce the camera with electrical tape from this day on whenever I am shooting. It doesn’t matter if it is indoor or outdoor.


For more information on how the Nikon F2 works check this out!



Backpacking Ilocos 101: Vigan To Pagudpod

The next installation   of the Backpacking Ilcoos series is from Vigan headed ultimately to Pagudpod. We started from Vigan and headed to Pagudpod via Laoag by 9am. But in reality, if you want to go directly to the finest sands of Pagudpod, you can do so using GMT bus lines from Vigan, this way you skip the Laoag stop over. But for our part, we ended up going to Partas bus lines since we missed the GMT bus from the gas station.

Going to Laoag from Vigan typically goes from 2.5-3 hours. From Laoag, you can take the bus further up north to Pagudpod for another 2 hours. There are many sites you can see surrounding Pagudpod. You can in fact opt to see these places before you head directly to Pagudpod riding tricycles from one town to the other. The other option is to have a guide from the tricycle drivers of Pagudpod.

There are those tricycle drivers who are accredited by the Department of Tourism. Their rate would typically be 1,200 for both the Southward and Northward tours. The trusted driver who accompanied us was Marlito. You can contact him through his cell phone number (+63 9286618304) to get an easy accommodation especially during summer.

One of the best highlights of the trip is the Kabigan Falls. It will be a thirty minute walk back and forth to reach the falls but it is all worth it. Aside from the falls, you can also look forward to Bangui where you get to see 20 giant windmills that power two towns of Ilocos Norte.

Here are the complete list of itineraries broken down between the one headed north of Pagudpod and the ones headed south both being P600 respectively (good for 2-3pax).

Northbound Tour

  1. Kabigan Falls
  2. Patapat Viaduct
  3. Agua Grande
  4. Paraiso ni Anton
  5. Timmangtang Rock
  6. Blue Lagoon
  7. Dos Hermanos

Southbound Tour

  1. Bangui Windmills
  2. Bangui View Deck
  3. Bojeador Lighthouse

We had our accommodation at Polaris beach resort in barangay Saud. If you are looking for a quiet place to stay in, this is the best spot out there. It is near the town proper so if anything goes wrong, you could simply get to the hospital or go and get some food. Comparing Blue Lagoon and Barangay Saud, the downside to the latter would have to be the waves. They have stronger waves than the one in Blue Lagoon (which is one of the reasons why it is sought after).

If you are on a budget, you could simply go and find a homestay within barangay Saud and Blue Lagoon. You could always ask Marlito to bring you to the best places within your budget. There are rooms that would cost P800 per night while there are also those resorts that would charge 2 grand a night.

To have a smoother transaction, it is highly suggested you contact Marlito: (+63 9286618304) or Polaris Beach Resort (+63-077-6760198)

Backpacking Ilocos 101: Manila to Vigan

This is my second time around in Ilocos and the place never fails to amaze me. We hopped from Vigan to Laoag to Pagudpod in a span of five days. I’ll give off some tips on how to get around Vigan and Pagudpod, the pocket friendly way. We basically survived with the average of less than P1,000 a day. This is the first part of the backpacking entries I’m going to post.

We basically started in Manila. We chose to go for Dominion Bus Lines and left for the 8:30pm ride. Manila to Vigan is around 8-9 hours so I’d rather sleep it off. You could in fact make use of different bus lines if you want to go to Vigan but Dominion Bus Lines is quite cheaper than what Viron Bus Lines is offering.

We arrived in Vigan at around 5am and went to El Juliana Hotel. I have to admit that the hotel 4 years ago was way better than what it is now. The place is literally falling apart not to mention the unmaintained pool that could already be a breeding ground of mosquitoes. They charged P900 for a room good for two. If you are on a tight budget, you could try the different homestays in the area. You could opt to have the one beside El Juliana hotel, or you could simply ask the tricycle drivers to bring you to one affordable homestay. I saw one sign that says P280/night, I don’t know if it goes per person or it is already good for one room.

Getting around Vigan is a great experience. The picturesque heritage village simply says it all. Plus the fact that you could get around the different sites of Vigan for P150/hour tour with the calesas. The tour typically covers the bell tower where the Panday fight scene was made, then the Hidden Garden, Burnay workshop, weaver’s workshop, Chavit Singson’s Baluarte and other museums that you could opt to skip or explore on your own. We covered the different areas   except the museums and we were done after 3 hours.

Aside from the trips and the sites to see, you should try the delicacies sold in the plaza. Though the Mc Donald’s is so tempting, try the Ilocano foods for a different experience.


Nikon F2: Test Shots

Before heading to the north armed with the Nikon F2, I just have to test it. I used to think that the YKL is the best film out there but this time around, I learned that what is true for Canon might not be universally true for the Nikon cameras. I am simply playing around with the camera enjoying its non-battery-demanding shooting functions.

So far, I love the way it shoots. The thing that I would like to change however is the fact that I need a different head for the Nikon F2. It would’ve been nice to have a TLR type of head. I think they call it waist level viewfinder which costs a solid $99-$125!

Jeez. Give me a break Nikon could really bust your pocket. Maybe I’ll just do some hunting again in the streets of Manila to find any remnants of the elusive “heads”. As you can see, my viewfinder really sucks from the outside. You can definitely call it a terminator. And for the record this is by far the ugliest yet most functionally sound camera I used.


(Overlapping shots scanned as one)

I still haven’t used it during the day with the sun as the natural light. I will have time for that in the next few days.

Requiem For An Online Store

I remember shooting the Holga for the very first time in Vigan. I was really amazed how medium format film worked and how they managed to turn into stunningly beautiful photographs with just a plastic lens. Lomo cameras were supposed to be cheap. It was a poor man’s camera until the online fad came along with the now barely breathing Multiply site. I remember Hidalgo stores selling a Holga FN for P1,800 but with the tendency of online stores to rip off “cheap cameras”, they priced it as high as P5,000 a pop.

Some really made a fortune of the film camera resurgence plus the Lomo fad coming into bourgeoisie consciousness. At that time, I was just starting with photography as a hobby. Until I accidentally discovered a sweet spot where people pawn their old stuff to get instant moolah. This was when I decided to open up the now forgotten Hidalgo Online. The very first camera I bought from them was an AE-1 Program. If you are going to buy the camera from Hidalgo, they usually charge you by as much as P6,000 for it. But with the site I opened, I sold it for more than half the price but still keeping a good deal of mark up. It became an instant hit, selling two to three cameras a week. Considering I spent most of my time in school, my cameras were everywhere. I delivered cameras to Bicol, to Cebu, to Davao and to different parts of Manila. It was my very first taste of “commercial success”, or how else you might want to call it.

I established friends over time within the pawn areas. I forged deals and good buys from the different pawn dealers within the area. As the site grew in popularity for around a year, getting my own juice on a regular basis, then Facebook came. That’s when I realized how the Video killed the Radio Star. But this time around, Facebook committed genocide over Multiply businesses and the sad part was Hidalgo Online was one of them. This is probably the requiem for the Hidalgo Online, which I never officially declared dead but was long gone. It’s always hard to say goodbyes but really we could learn a lot from the changing times and how fast internet propensities change over the past years.

We tried to order a bulk of old cameras from Japan just to get Hidalgo Online back on track. But with tax ruckus that everyone is afraid of, this idea didn’t remained just as an idea. We were supposed to be shipping EF mount lenses for cheaper prices but we were too afraid to be ripped of by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Though Hidalgo Online is active no more, I could really say to myself that I tried my best to keep the prices lower for everybody to have a chance to shoot some analog film cameras. For all those who supported the analog scene and to all those who are still continuing to shoot film and buying from the remaining survivors of Multiply to Facebook diaspora; I salute you!

When Plans Go Shitty

Canon QL19, Neopan 400, 5.6 Aperture, 250 shutter speed

If you believe in dreams and you stick to them with every ditch of your effort, I really can’t blame you if you end up frustrated and drained half way. For years, I really dreamed to be part of the Medical Profession, making my four years in premed, taking a BSN degree and then pursuing Medicine right after the four years. Well that was the plan. If you ever believe in the adage: “Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan”, it should have said: “Plan Your Work (If you have money), Work Your Plan (If you have money)”

Most kids these days are programmed to enter College and end up getting a lucrative profession (at least for Philippine, third world country standards) outside the country. Most Some people would work their asses off from the very first time they conquered separation anxiety in elementary school to the time they already conquered awkward years in high school only to find out right after college that the real world really don’t think highly of accolades like: upper 10% rank on your high school batch, member of the chess team, highest pitch award in a singing contest, fastest lunch eater, longest nail in the class, etc.

When it comes to the real world, you are simply a statistic waiting and falling in line.

There needs something to be done in the high school and over all curriculum of the whole school system for both public and private schools in order to at least change the mindset of individuals when it comes to life after school. If there is something I learned after College that I wished I learned a decade back; it is the need for a long term, mid term and short term goal. Not to mention the fact you always need a plan B, plan C and don’t go for broke on something that could go 50/50 along the way.

Before anything else, Nursing is a noble profession and a very good premed degree. The bastardization of this profession however started long before when I started to enter college. When everyone was caught in the fad of going to the profession that would serve as their one way ticket out of the shit hole; not only did it attract thousands, it attracted hoards of hopeless to hopefuls to hope-FOOLs to enter the field without thinking of the possible repercussions or the responsibilities that come with it.

If there is any logic that justifies the fees you pay for just to have “training” and “hospital experience” while you shove the possibility of being hired as a chance to win the lottery or the chance to have an alien abduction or a meet and greet with La Chupacabra; something has to be checked inside your cranium.

Something really went wrong with finances that I somehow couldn’t continue to go to med school right after the completion of my Nursing Bachelor’s Degree. And when you have no other choice but to practice, you really wished you knew sooner that shitty things come with fad degrees. Fad degrees generate money tons of money for Universities and flyby night schools. And when these hot pancakes go stale, thousands of monkeys are left searching and left with no options.

Presently, I write since I really don’t want to accept the fact that you have to work not just for free but for a fee. I don’t have the talent in speaking with different hot headed people just to earn some cash so that really disqualifies me from being a sales representative. I also want to make a comeback that would really hurt the nine to five’s ass balls. But I want to make my plans to be something personal and far from the touch of cyberworld press release just like this. If I want to make this work, I’m roughly 30 days shy from my 23rd birthday, so I really have to sprint in the next years to come.