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Back in 2018, my cousin gifted me with his old film camera. It was unexpected but I am so grateful for it. It brought back many memories of when I first started in photography. At that time, there was no digital photography. Everything was on a negative film. But what had initially sparked my interest in photography was being able to go out with my friends and capturing portraits of them with my SLR camera, point and shoot, and even disposable cameras. It was just something fun for us to do and I used to love seeing pictures I took on my friend’s bedroom walls or lockers. So from that point on, everywhere I went, I had a camera on me.

Obviously with a “new camera” comes new adventures so when I got the film camera, I was excited to start experimenting with it. It’s been a while since I have used film so along the way, I’ve learned to take my time with composition and framing. I learned that each frame is precious and should not be taken for granted, especially since a roll is film is just 24 or 36 frames. Photograph the moments that really speak to you. And practice patience in creating and developing the images.

But omg, that sound of the shutter too! It instantly brought back so many memories.

So I thought it would be fun to go through some images that I’ve taken in the past year or so with my Canon T70 and 35-70mm lens. By the way, none of these images on this post have been edited. I may or may not edit them in the future, but for now, it’s just fun seeing the results of the film.

My first set of images were taken in August 2018. I brought it on a peach picking trip with me and it was really just to see if the camera was working if there were any light leaks and a refresher on how to use film. I’m sorry to say that I forgot what kind of film these were captured on. I tried going through my Amazon orders and I don’t see any film listed. It may have just been some old rolls of film my cousin had in his camera bag. Although it’s a little fuzzy, this roll of film got me excited to start shooting again.

Delaplane, Virginia August 2018

Nowadays, I find myself researching different kinds of film and cameras, just to see what’s out there. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers getting great images with their analog cameras. I have to admit though, it’s a little hard for me to capture film images. I have my digital camera which I love, but it’s hard to balance the time between my digital and film camera. I spend most of my time shooting on my digital camera because I’m so used to it that sometimes I’ll even forget that I have a film camera on me.

It has helped to go on photo outings that are dedicated to just film. I’ll leave my digital camera at home and I love the feeling of roaming with such light equipment. Since I don’t have additional lenses or equipment for my film camera, it has been a nice change of pace to just have one camera with one lens.

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Expired Film

I am extremely grateful for my friend, Jim. He was my photography mentor when I interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum while I was in high school. We’ve been able to reconnect through social media which was really cool when we found each other! Last year, he was kind enough to give me a whole bunch of expired Portra film 400 and 800 rolls of film. It has been so fun to try to go through all the rolls. I’m nowhere near completing them, but to see how the expired film develops has been super interesting.

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Every year Washington DC welcomes millions of visitors traveling to the National Mall to take in all the sights and history. Many will start coming in the springtime to catch a glimpse of the beautiful cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin. They are alluring, but can sometimes be elusive. Especially when you are dealing with nature, you never know exactly when they are going to bloom or how long they will even last. In general, they will stick around for a week to 10 days. This already leaves a short window of time to see them and that doesn’t include the fact that these flowers are fragile and can fall off their branches with a sudden gust of wind or rain.

So this guide is for all you flower nature lovers who may have missed the cherry blossoms and are here to see what else the city has to offer. Don’t worry because there’s a lot! From Saucer Magnolias to Star Magnolias, Tulips and Forsythia, there is no shortage of beautiful blossoms in the city. You just have to know where to go to see them.

But if you are only interested in the cherry blossoms, I’ve got your back. Click here for the cherry blossom guide!

The National Mall:

Washington DC, especially the mall area, is a very nice area to walk. I highly suggest just taking the day to wander and get lost. There is no doubt that you will run into flowers and beautiful trees while walking around the area. Even the side streets that lead up to the Mall have pretty florets to look at. But if you’re on a time crunch, here are a few specific places to go:

Enid A Haupt Garden

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On our third day in Taiwan, we headed to Jiufen. I had heard it’s like no other place in Taiwan with extremely narrow alleys with so many different vendors and places to eat, I really wanted to check it out. Little did I know it would take more than two hours by public transportation to get there from Taipei. From I read online, it didn’t seem like it would take that long. But those two hours made a huge difference.

By the time we got to the top of the mountains to Jiufen, it was pouring rain. And it was that uncomfortable rain where it was cold and splashing everywhere. So much to the point that when you were walking through those narrow alleys, you had to watch out for your eyeballs or else someone may poke you with their umbrella. We went but didn’t get to stay for as long as I would have liked. I really wanted to see what it looked like at night time but it was just way too crowded and wet.

But at least now I can see I went, right? LOL I’ll definitely have to try it again next time.

This image was taken while we were waiting for the bus to come. AT THE BUS STOP. I’ve never seen such a beautiful bus stop in my life!

My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/160th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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I forgot to mention on the blog that my girlfriends and I were going to go to Austin, Texas. As you may know, I went for the first time earlier this year to help my friend, Sue move. She’s all moved in and invited my friends and me to come visit her for a fun girls’ weekend in the south. I had a blast!

But since it was a girls’ weekend, I decided to just keep it simple and only bring my camera. That’s it. Meaning, I didn’t bring my drone, tripod, GoPro or anything like that. I just had my camera and two lenses and to be honest, walking through the airport with such little equipment/baggage felt so nice. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled so light.

The first two nights we spent at the Wyndham in downtown Austin and one of the best parts of the room was the outdoor patio. This image was from our first sunset. We were hanging out by the pool when I saw the clouds and color start to come in. So I quickly ran to the elevator to go back to our room and tried to capture it all from an above level perspective. I love this view and thought the buildings were all so different and interesting.

I had a blast in Austin and looking forward to sharing more images from our trip.

My camera settings for this image are F22 at 0.6 sec and ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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Our second night in Oregon was spent in Pacific City, specifically Cape Kiwanda and I loveddd it. The afternoon that we arrived was super foggy. So foggy that you weren’t able to see the Haystack Rock in the ocean. It was pretty interesting to see (or not see…). I think I loved Cape Kiwanda so much because it was definitely quieter than Cannon Beach but I just felt so relaxed and at peace there. The fog may have added to the mood as well.

But that limited our photo opportunities in this area so Andrew, Frankie and I woke up early the next morning and just hung out on the beach in front of our hotel. The skies had cleared up by morning time and created this amazingly warm glow all along the beach. My favorite part was playing with the reflections that the ocean tide created on the sand.

So this is an image of the sand dune that was on the side of the cape. I noticed some kayakers getting ready to get into the water and thought that it was the perfect focal point to break up the landscape. I love seeing the scale of the people compared to the sand dunes. Andrew and I were actually really impressed because the night before we saw so quite a few people sledding down the dunes. Looked like fun but I was in relax mode. LOL.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/160th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 24-70mm lens.

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I can just taste the lobster rolls when looking at this image. I’m 90% sure that I actually ate a lobster roll everyday that we were in Maine. You know how the saying goes, when in Maine… LOL. But seriously the lobster rolls were always so packed with so much meat and the bread was so buttery, I couldn’t help myself. I may just take a trip to Maine just for the seafood! Just joking. I do want to go back to Maine, but not just for the food. I want to go back because it seems like a really chill place to be. Like a very easy going, port town with a lot of super friendly people.

Oh and all the Maine puns! You know, how I only mainely wanted lobster rolls while there. LOL

My friend, Sue and I visited in October 2017. Neither one of had been there and we were on the hunt for some fall foliage color in the NorthEast. Our intention was to visit Acadia National Park so we only ended up staying one night in Portland. This image was taken early morning, just after sunrise at Portland Head Lighthouse. It was a great place to catch the sunrise because it was right by the city and it was super easy to get to. There weren’t a lot of people there so I felt comfortable enough to climb around on the rocks until I found my shot. To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s allowed or not but I did it anyways. Anything for the shot right? I do remember purposely making the foreground rocks out of focus and a little in your face. I feel like it creates a bit more interest, framing and dept to the entire image.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 8 seconds and ISO 640 with a neutral density filter and my Sony A7II with 16-35mm wide angle lens.