Creativity in bursts by Simmon Li

As I've been trying to keep up with my photography, I sometimes feel guilty that I'm not shooting every day. I keep notes about my film shooting (especially), but even with my digital shoots the dates are automatically aded to the photos. Sometimes, when I'm editing or otherwise dealing with my collection it's like "oh damn, you didn't do ANYTHING for a week."

Thankfully, those moments are almost entirely self-generated. In fact, the longest stretch I went without shooting in recent memory was 6 days (barely a week), and it was during a bit of a hectic time for me, so it makes a lot of sense.

I've also discovered that I really enjoy shooting film - and I think I have daytime shooting down (at least with 400 speed film). I think my next challenges are going to be (1) shoot with a lower speed color film in daylight (maybe 200?) and try again with the night-time black and white. THe last roll came out under-exposed. But I now have a lightmeter app on my phone so I can hopefully get better with the night shooting.

Here are a few sample images straight from the scanner off my latest roll of film! West Camera does a phenominal job developing and scanning.

A warm winter by Simmon Li

This is probably the most wildly divergent winter in a while. I mean, the weather has been inconsistent much more often this year than others. The plus? It's been much warmer than I remember January being which has been great for late night photos. But it's been a bit of a unique challenge in that I tend to only have time for that within the workweek and I don't anticipate that will change in the near term. Not that it really bothers me, as I think the more I do night photography, the more I fall in love with the urban as a subject of photography.

 I've had the opportunity now to shoot a few portraits (kinda), I find that my favorite edit experiences have been with wide a hole, urban stills. Though I think I do owe it to myself to really give the portrait thing a go as the most portrait like photos I've taken so far I did with... well, unfamiliar  gear (at best). Out of the shots I took, I had to throw out quite a bit due to hand shake. I had to up the shutter quite a bit. Luckily, that lens was a fast one! The hand shake thing... I'm kind of worried about it for my hand held film shots because I find even with the shutter action, I'm shifting quite a bit. We'll find out when the film gets developed.

 Night film photography where ai can't really read the meter. When I dive in, I guess I deep dive... 😂😂😂

Explorations in Creativity by Simmon Li

The Shutterbug

It's happened. The shutterbug has bitten me, super hard. If I'm honest, I've always been fascinated with cameras and images. From the social acceptability of cameras back in the day, to our image saturated world today. Increasingly, everyone's a photographer with their phone (#shotiniphone7 on Insta is huge-ish), and well... I decided to take the plunge.

In the past 2 months, I've shot close to 2,500 digital frames. For just starting, I think I'm doing alright. What I'm even more excited about, is that I bought a film camera and have just completed exposing my first roll of film (shout out to my friends Connor and Katherine for joining me). I loved it. Except now in the post-mortem I am thinking about all the things that could have went wrong. What if I didn't get my exposures right? What if my meter is wrong? What if there's a light leak? What if I didn't load the film properly? What if this and that... but in a way, that's the exciting thing about film for me. You're resigned to what you saw through the viewfinder, and how well you know your camera and film.

It's also already been an interesting lesson in photography basics. On my A6000, I didn't really have to think too much in stops of light hitting the sensor. With the live preview, I just adjusted things until it looked okay. Obviously, I don't have that luxury with film. So I trust the camera's light meter... (at least until I get the film developed... maybe it's off!) But it's also gotten me to think about exposure in stops, which is something I didn't really do before getting the roll of film in there. I like to shoot wide angles with a wide open aperture on my digital, so I decided to pick up a 28mm 2.8 for my XE. I have a 135mm prime as well, but having shot it a bit on my A6000, I have to say I much prefer the wider angles.

On my first day of film shooting, I really enjoyed it. There's something visceral and so pleasing about winding the film advance lever. The clicks and snaps of the mechanical pieces of the camera. It's just a pleasure to shoot and operate. With time, I'll be more familiar with it. All in all, for about $250, I've had a really enjoyable time with my Minolta XE. The best part is... I've only just begun! I'll prepare a gallery of shots (if there are any good ones) soon, so keep an eye out for that.

The Earworm

Having a new found interest in photography, I've also continued to check out new music. I find the combination of urban shooting with Spotify in one ear to be a really fun thing. Sometimes, depending on what's going on or where I am, I'll take out the earbuds just so I can be more aware of my surroundings, but when it's daylight in a public area, songs and snaps are an unbeatable combination. Of course, I've got a dedicated blog for my monthly "what's new" compilations, so I hope you check it out above!

Spring in Toronto by Simmon Li

What a great start to the spring and summer. The past week, I've been busy going out to shows for Canadian Music Week. it's weird to find myself going out to shows, now; that I'm not longer really actively crafting my own art. Time and again, I think I was surprised by how much I missed the feeling of being up there and kicking ass, even though I haven't done it in close to 5 or 6 years. Through pop and alt music, I've really rediscovered that I actually really, deeply enjoy creating. Listening to all these great artists and people throwing their talent into time and space and people enjoying it. It really makes me wonder why I don't try.

I've seen some really wonderful people make some really awesome music, and I want more. It's inspired me to brush up my keyboard chops and potentially invest in learning how to play a bass. That'd be fun...