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Shooting with Film in the Digital Age… Another Argus C3 Episode

Here are a few more shots from “The Brick.” I don’t have a light meter so most of the shots are done instinctively. Sun up = speed up.

Libertad Fire Hydrant

Libertad Watch Repairman

Water Meters

Silay City Coffeeshop

Hofileña Ancestral House

There’s a certain magic in film grain that is absent from digital photography. Sniff too much of it and you get hooked.


Argus C3 shot by Lumix FZ35 in macro mode

Here’s the Argus C3 Rangefinder up close. Dials and dials. Lovely old camera.





Shooting with Film in the Digital Age

I borrowed an Argus C3 rangefinder camera from a friend and tried my hand in shooting with it. This was a totally different experience compared to shooting with the Holga. Shooting with a rangefinder, especially with the Argus C3, require a lot of patience and research. I enjoy taking photographs with my digital Lumix but shooting with an old mechanical tool gives me a different kind of high. The metallic clink and clang of the Argus shutter, the pain of focusing, the metal knobs and gears, the quirky way of advancing the film, all these add up to a different kind of photography experience.

But then a camera is just a camera. Its main purpose is to capture images and I always believe that the image does not have to tell the viewer about the equipment used to achieve it. Here are a few samples of my successful experiment (after a first failure) with the camera also known as the “Brick.”

Remembering Ely Santiago,1941-1993. First of a Series

Ely Santiago was an artist who honed his craft through diligent experimentation and mastery of different media and materials. He was known for his acrylic paintings where he utilized self made etching materials which he used to supplement his brushes in creating texture and detail in his renditions of bahay kubo houses, and portraits of ordinary folk. He was also a caricaturist known to capture the essence of his subject in a few masterful strokes with whatever material he has on hand – cigarette foil, table napkins, walls, etc. His commercial caricatures of persons and families done in watercolor adorned homes in the city. He experimented with terracotta and made sculptures ranging from the whimsical to serious portraiture. His wit and humor was evident in his cartoons and comic strips, most notably “Coffee Cats” which was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

He was an active member and former president of the Arts Association of Bacolod, an organization he loved, fought for and was devoted to.
He was one of the founders and was responsible for giving the name “MassKara” to the festival that made Bacolod a known tourist destination.


The man behind the legendary Marketmanila blog finally decided to open up a restaurant and I just had to be there. Allow me to share some photos for words are not enough to describe the unctuous goodies I consumed like a hungry and starved piranha.

Here’s Marketman’s very own version of lechon with pricked skin served in a counter visible to the diners. What a visual treat seeing crisp pork chopped into lovely bite sized pieces.

This is the Zubuchon set meal. A generous serving of lechon and rice served with vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil for your dipping sauce.

Binagoongang Lechon. This is a powerful blend of Bagoong and Pork. Whoever thought of marrying almost microscopic fermented shrimp and pork is a genius.

Red Curry Lechon and Monggo with Lechon drippings and Chicharon. Self Explanatory. Shut up and order extra rice.

Slow-cooked adobo. One of Marketmanila’s obession is the quest to create the perfect adobo. Cooked in a palayok or clay pot with just a few basic ingredients, this adobo is the closest you can get to a meal our ancestors ate.

The Zubuchon story in standees with the cute little red pig icon. The restaurant has minimal decor. No flashy neon gizmos out to distract you from what you really came for.  Crunchy MSG free Chicharon smileys on the foreground.

I have to end this calorific post with something refreshing. A tall glass of Iba or Kamias shake. Now who would have imagined that tart fruit commonly used as a souring ingredient make an excellent shake.


Zubuchon is at One Mango Mall, Mango Avenue in Cebu City. A second branch is opening soon at the Escario building near the Provincial Capitol.

Eat Pork and be happy.

Streetside Barbecue

From the vantage point of the back seat of a jeepney, I take out my camera, make some adjustments, point, shoot, return camera inside the bag. The shot was not sharp. It was in fact a blur. A pleasant, smoky, light splattered blur.


Holga Hiatus

Busy. Rainy. I didn’t have time to go out on the streets and shoot.

Among the things I did for this Holga madness is a shot list and exposure chart on a piece of index card.  This acts as a guide and is necessary to minimize film wastage. A 36 shot roll of film can provide 20 to 24 exposures with spacing in between images. My next experiment would be to achieve slightly overlapping images soon. I hate to do the math yet.

Let me leave you with this garden shot. This shot is blurred an terribly exposed. But that’s what a Holga can do to you.

The Holga Chronicles II

The Holga is not just a simple plastic camera. It is a drug. Addicting and mildly hallucinogenic. The advent of digital photography has freed most of us from the additional cost of buying and processing film and having it printed. Film. Almost obsolete little canisters of celluloid mixed with enough chemicals that make images permanent when exposed to light passing through a camera’s lens. One shot, one kill. One wrong shutter speed and aperture combination, one frame wasted.

I just loaded and processed my third film roll. The first roll was a wasteful right of passage, an initiation by the film gods. The second had decent results. The third had the story and emotion I was looking for. I’m on a roll. I’ll be buying more rolls. Kodak and Fuji would be happy. Here are some of the stories caught on film by my third roll.

Araneta Street. Downtown Area of Bacolod City.

Sharpening saws along the sidewalk.

The tabloid reader

The Holga Chronicles

A friend gave me a Holga 120 CFN camera. It shoots film. Yes that and more. It is difficult, almost impossible to find 120 film in my city so with the help of a lot of googling I modified the innards of the Holga to shoot the more available 35 mm film. What inspired me to start using this toy are the resulting images when using a 35mm film with a 120 Holga.

I love the rough and surprising results of using film. The Holga 120 is not an SLR so what you see in it’s little viewfinder is not what you get. What you see is what you might get. Among the quirks of using this toy is the absence of a film advance lever. To move the film to the next frame with spacing requires an exact number of “clicks” that diminish as you progress. I shoot with a pad and a pen to make a shot list to guide me with how many clicks would be necessary to move to the next frame.

Shooting with film is a challenge in this digital era. Challenging and fun.

Featured Artist: Charlie Co


Oblivious to the din of a noisy and hungry lunch crowd of a nearby university marching just outside his home-studio, Charlie Co is at work. Today he is working on a different medium – porcelain paint on ceramic plates. This is an artist in his element. Surrounded with colors and turning a vivid imagination into a something concrete and visible.

Bacolod and the rest of Negros Occidental has a living and active art scene and the best time to meet them and see their work is on Friday, December 17, 2010 at Gallery Orange, Lopues Mandalagan Annex, Bacolod City.

The best gift to give this Christmas is a gift of art. A work of art appreciates more than it depreciates. A work of art is a unique product of an artist’s hand bringing birth to an idea of a fertile mind and a passionate heart.

Art of Giving • December 17, 2010 opens 7 pm.


2nd Floor Annex Bldg., Lopues Mandalagan • Tel (034) 7090604