In memory of one year from the start of our first lockdown (Covidversary) here are some light pictures I took during that dark period.
I was introduced to film photography by a colleague turned friend, Pri.
In the late 2019 I scored my first film camera (second hand on eBay) and started practising shooting film.
Shooting film teaches you many things.
My most significant learning though was humility. Especially when some of what I thought would be “winning shots” came out blurry.
This was the first camera-selfie shot I took that was not blurry. It was taken during our Meletos stay late last year.
Fingers crossed there will be more coming with more practice and learning.
Our Meletos staycation at the end of last year turned out to be so-so only.
Although the weather was gorgeous that weekend, the winery was beautiful and their books collection was interesting; the food, the service and the room could be much better.
Some of my fave parts of the Meletos stay was the beautifully decorated lobby area, this time of Christmas theme, the aromatherapy smell oozing for it and the plenty of beautiful books laying there. In the room, I love the unbelievable nice smelling toiletries ($40), the big bathroom, the two sinks and the small nice touch wooden door closet and the super-soft bed and the windows that can be opened wide.
Meanwhile, enjoy the 5 frames of our winery stay which I took with Mjuii film camera using Kodak Colorplus 400.
I have been ignoring the notion of keeping two blogs simultaneously for the longest time. I pushed the idea almost immediately when it sprouted in my mind. Tbh, I think the idea could have never been my own, as it’s just beyond me why people would keep two blogs at the same time.
Abandoning one and starting a new one — with a new look, new niche, new topic of interest or new name? — sign me up. I am here for it. And I have done that plenty in the past (RIP Tr4velGeek, ForeignGeek, NomadWitch, JoyMagick, TarotKween, DaysofW, and QuarantineBuddy).
But never keeping two blogs at the same time.
I didn’t see the point because I could write whatever I wanted in my one blog. Until it was pointed out to me, by a “blogging guru” if I want my blog to grow, it’s best not. Because you know, niche and all. So I weeded out the KultureKween blog, removing anything that is not within the cultural niche.
A year ago, I asked a tarot reader to read about my blog. It was the first reading of many on the same topic (yes, I am obsessed enough with my blog to get multiple reading for it).
I don’t remember much of her answer, most probably because I couldn’t resonate with it. But there was a part where I complained to her that felt like I can’t write about other things other than culture, how that thought crippled me, and I ended up not writing at all.
“Sometimes a trip to a beach is just that, you know, a trip to the beach. I want to be able to write about it on my blog without constantly trying to tie the experience from a cultural angle”. I mumbled to her.
She pulled out a card and suggested the obvious:
“Why not keep another blog on the side?”
I peeked over the card, The Temperance.
At that time, I had just started learning tarot reading and Temperance was (and at times still) a card that I have a hard time understanding. Balance was the only thing that came into mind.
“Maybe” I answered her noncommittally, because the truth was I came to her because I was tired — feeling dragged by the current blog. Therefore, having another blog, a second blog, seemed like going in the opposite direction of what I wished for: to draw joy from my passion.
Fast forward to a few months ago (read Covid Diary: 6 Months), when I sat on the bathroom floor, feeling panicky for not keeping a diary to record my life during the early stage of Covid.
The midnight mild anxiety attack stemmed from reading people’s Covid diaries. I felt a pang of jealously. Not of their experiences — but because they recorded their thoughts meticulously.
Dawn O’Porter even managed to write and publish a contemporary memoir about the pandemic, titled Life in Pieces, during this pandemic!
The next day, 8 August 2020, I paid $4.99 to Apple and jumped into the Dayone app. I spent the next week painstakingly copying the drafts I have kept in Evernote there. From then onward, I restarted diarising my life. Sometimes it is just a one-worded entry. Other times it goes on to a length of a blog post.
Though I didn’t notice it immediately, keeping a diary has been another anchor for my mental health well-being during Covid. Keeping a journal and updating it regularly pushes me to observe and write more. Soon after, I read Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies and was inspired to write morning pages daily.
These were the things that restarted my passion for writing anything and everything I wanted. It’s not in a noncohesive morning pages kind of way, but more like it might not be great, but still shareable kind of way.
That was two months ago today.
Kovfefed.wordpress.com turned into just Kovfefed sometime in between when WordPress offered 50% off of their paid plans. I subscribed to the cheapest one so that I can upload more photos. I also changed the Libre theme (which layout I loved the most) to Seedlet (which has the pagination at the bottom). It’s not the best, but that’s the only free one. One day, if I commit to daily writing for a more extended period of time, I will treat myself to Gema, the sexiest theme on WordPress.
Meanwhile, I also managed to dump all unrelated-to-culture posts which I removed from KultureKween to Kovfefed. These posts ranged from the time I started my first blog when I moved to Singapore 13 years ago to the current happenings.
I filled the archive with my tarot notes, obsessive thoughts about blogging, jobless rants, travel photos, shareable morning pages, random musings and snippets from my diary. Some just with a one-word and picture or even just a title (for now. I plan to fill it later).
Unlike Kulture Kween where I feel like I have the obligation (and I say that as a term of endearment) to write about culture-related posts, Kovfefed is more like my blank canvas. A fun, creative outlet.
My goal for KultureKween is to learn about culture by sharing it with others in writing. My goal for Kovfefed is to write and to practice my writing. And I can write whatever I want. Things I like, things I hate, and everything in between. That has been liberating.
And now, the actual point I wanted to make when I started writing this post 15 minutes ago, I can’t believe it took me this long to realize that having a personal blog is one of the best things I could have done for myself. If you are stuck with a writers’ block, consider that it might not be you, but it’s what you are writing about. And maybe a personal blog is the fix that your mind seeks.
Let’s talk about pausing to take notice of the beauty in ordinary things. A skill I am slowly losing, especially if it’s in my own backyards/city/country.
It’s a different story when I am traveling.
When I travel, I notice the vending machine, the local market, the train station, the neon sign, the everything. On my Japan trip, I started collecting Japanese manhole and Daruma doll pictures. Those might be ordinary things for Japanese, but not for me. And digging through the Blogosphere you must agree with me that some people’s ordinary things are not for others.
I even thought the picture of my back with beautiful scenery as a backdrop was interesting enough to be captured. So I did. For years. Now, I have an album in my iPhoto featuring my ass in cities around the world. Most weren’t flattering pictures, tbh. But I am yet to delete it. Maybe I can create a series and sell it someday when I am famous.
For me, the most fun of it is chasing the pattern of the ordinary things that I am attracted to. By paying extra attention to things. And lately, I have been wondering whether I can do this while not traveling. Especially these days, when I am not allowed to travel.
To not living life on autopilot by adding a little childlike wander into it.
So recently I started this micro project, to pay more attention to ordinary things at home. I have been collecting pictures of rainbows and day-time moon, which is a quite common sighting in Australia.
I hope it will lift my ordinary life and make it a bit more extraordinary.
Now that I have developed a few disposable film cameras, used a few more rolls on my point-and-shoot second-hand film camera, and took at least a dozen acceptable film photographs I thought I would share a newbie cheat sheet of the film photography.
Or say lessons that I noted down for my own learning on using the film camera.
These film photography lessons might be basic but I hope it can be helpful for some of us newbies out there.
- Count to three and keep steady before and after clicking the shot button on your film camera.
- So far, there is no noticeable difference from using different types of film rolls, which means the cheap film camera roll can be as good as the more expensive ones.
- In contrast, a good film camera makes a huge difference in photo quality compared to the disposable one. and it doesn’t need to be expensive. I got my second-hand Olympus 35mm Film Camera Mju µ II for a fraction of its original price on eBay. It was one of the best purchases I made last year.
- Taking a selfie with a film camera is hard and most of the time is a waste of precious roll. So if you can, better keep selfie game strictly with your phone.
- Immerse yourself in the #FilmNeverDie community. Keep learning film photography lesson and be proud of being a part of the community.
- Have at least one film photography goal. It makes taking photographs more fun and pushes you to learn more things about it. My film goal this year is to print 80 of my most favorite film pictures I took. So far I have less than 20 of those (including the one I took of Little India Singapore).
- Film photographs with people in it look more interesting than the ones without people in it. But, taking people photographs in the film is so much harder than with digital.
- Lots of light, especially yellow hue, makes good film photographs.
- Start putting some money aside as film photography can be an expensive hobby to adapt. but. so far, it has been a soul-nourishing. In short, I think film photography conveys magic better than digital, and for that reason alone, it’s a great hobby to pursue.
- There is a magic in BnW film — yes, it’s less forgiving if you don’t have much clue on basic composition (like me) but it can be oh so beautiful.
#FilmNeverDie and all that.