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!