Two and a half years of film photography

Nearly two and a half years have passed since I dived into the world of film photography and photography as a whole. It’s been a subtly wild journey of self-expression, self-discovery, and in a sense, a therapeutic outlet.

Despite changing so much as a person in the last two years, I can still relate to my motivation at the beginning. The longevity of this pursuit, longer than any other artistic pursuit I’ve embarked on, attests to its specialness.

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Downtown with the “Speed Panchro II”

There’s actually an entire collection of film photos taken in and around the 25th Ave downtown in San Mateo that just happened to accumulate in my library. We used to visit that eclectic street quite a lot, for our optometrist, Chinese food, and the post office. Just by chance, I always ended up with some free time to stroll around and take photos.

A few months ago I got my hands on the Speed Panchro II replica lens by Light Lens Lab, one of the few Chinese companies that are creating new lenses rather than just cheaper Leica clones. I learned about the original Cooke series lens used for cinema, and immediately fell in love with its imperfect but dramatic rendering. So imagine my excitement when I heard that this same lens rendering is being recreated on a 35mm lens.

Here are some of the photos taken with the Light Lens Lab 50mm f/2 “Speed Panchro II” on an M10-P. Most are captured on the 25th Ave downtown, and some are from Mountain View downtown.

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Portraits in Shoreline Park

Believe me, I don’t only photograph Shoreline Park, despite what it may look like on this blog. But when you live practically next to one of the most underrated gems in the Bay Area, it’s hard not to end up with rolls and rolls of this place.

This time, I brought my Mamiya 7, the largest negative film camera I have. Capturing images on 6×7 medium format film with a Mamiya lens and Portra 400 may sound extravagant, but there’s something about this place that justifies it all.

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Yosemite (2022)

I still vividly remember my first trip to Yosemite. A landscape I’d never seen before: sprawling mountains of geometric proportions, varied beds of colors—greens, yellows, beiges and browns. Fascinating as ever were the postcard-like spots that seemed commonplace, creeks that shined like crystals and waterfalls both so fierce yet calm that mesmerized my eyes and mind for hours.

It’s been 5 years since my last rather short trip to Yosemite, and this time, I brought my Mamiya 7 to paint the ever-relaxing scenes onto film.

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A Golden Afternoon at Shoreline Park

I lived in Mountain View, California for almost two years, but it wasn’t until my friend Kevin brought me there almost two years after I left the area that I learned about this magical place. The Bay Area has a lot of parks and trails. To be honest, most of them look similar enough that it all starts to just feel like we’re living in one giant national park.

Shoreline Park, however, has a special place in my heart. I don’t know why, but it’s such a calming place to walk around. Maybe it’s the really flat landscape that extends into the horizon like an ocean without waves; or maybe it’s the windy trails that wrap themselves around the oddly shaped blob of a lake, creating unique sceneries at every step of the way.

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