Cat, Church, and Cat Again

It’s a cat

For every relatively in-focus photograph of my cat, there are five or six pictures with blurred turning heads, flicking tails, massive yawns, or his rear end exiting the frame at warp 5.

In my last post I joked about joining a cult to paint alleyways. It later reminded me of another experience I had with a church member. I was exploring the city of Anyang one day in 1996/97 when a smiling woman approached me. Our conversation went something like this….

W: Hello.
M: Hi.
W: Where are you from?
M: Canada.
W: Oh, that’s very nice! What are you doing here?
M: I work at an English academy here in Anyang.
W: That’s nice. Do you have many friends here?
M: No, not really. One of my co-workers.
W: Oh, you should come to our church. You can meet lots of people.
M: Well, I’m not a Christian, so I don’t think I would fit in.
W: No, no! It doesn’t matter if you’re not Christian. You can come to our church!
M: I’m not really interested.
W: You know, two of my brothers-in-law are American. They weren’t Christian, but they started coming to our
church and now they are Christian!
M: Well, that’s very nice for them and their wives, but I’m not interested in attending church services.
W: We have lots of foreigners at our church so there are English church services and you can meet other
people.
M: Yes, that’s very nice for foreign Christians, but I’m really not interested in going to church. I’m not
a Christian.
W: (pause) There are lots of girls at our church . . . .

She almost had me, haha. The encounter was weird, annoying, funny (in hindsight), and uncomfortable all at the same time.

She definitely would have had me if she had mentioned the church was full of cats.

Fotography for Fun

I like making photos with my iPhone. It’s fun to just press the shutter button and not think much about exposure or post processing. The phone does a very good job of making scenes look good without me messing things up. I’ve thought about just using the iPhone for photography but the image quality isn’t quite good enough for most things yet. Adding a filter covers up a lot of problems.
Here are six photos I made the other day when I wanted to take a break from my camera woes. Despite getting rid of most of my equipment, I am back to wondering if I have the best cameras for my needs, blah blah blah. The problem lies with me, not the cameras, of course . . . .

Baskets in Winter Field
Persimmon Tree
Power Lines and Persimmon Tree
Apartment Employee’s Bicycle
Moving Day
Obligatory Cat Photo

For any iManiacs out there, the black and white filter is called Silvertone and the colour filter is called Dramatic. They come standard in Apple Photos.

I think I do best when using a square format. Is it time for a Hasselblad . . . . .? Oh, dear . . . . .

Classic Negative Simulation Examples

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of my cat made with Fujifilm’s Classic Negative simulation. I’ve been using it off and on since then to see what it’s good for. If anything. Here are a few results.

Photographed from the hallway of another building in the complex.

Sometimes I bring my camera into the hall while my cat does his daily tour. I think this is the best version of the scene I’ve done so far. Looks balanced, etc. I also like the tones and colours here. I really like the blue of the sky. The shadows are deep but there is still some detail. This is straight out of the camera except for for some straightening.

Anything is art if it’s neatly arranged and you think too hard about it.

One of Fujifilm’s managers said in an interview that Classic Negative is not suited for food photography, but I think this looks fine. Maybe he meant the food doesn’t come out looking Insta-worthy with blinding colour saturation. The simulation tends to make photos look warm, depending on the situation. I tried auto white balance on this photograph. The colours became accurate, but not as good. I like the warm colour cast here.

On the other hand, fixing the white balance made this photo look much better. Maybe because we expect white fur to look white in a photograph. Amice’s fur isn’t quite as dark as this. The colours of this film are not accurate, but they are usually pleasing. The consensus seems to be that Classic Negative is modelled after Fujifilm Superia negative film. I don’t have much experience with that film, so I can’t really say. But I guess it does look like negative film.

One last example photo. I made this late in the afternoon to see how the simulation handled high contrast scenes. Very well, I think. The shadows are deep, but, well, they’re shadows and I don’t really expect to see much in them. I could lift the shadows in Lightroom, but that usually looks fake. I rather like how the photo turned out. I shifted the white balance a bit, but otherwise no adjustments.

I’m going to leave my camera set to this simulation for a while. I thought it was a bit gimmicky when I first tried it, but it’s growing on me. I just have to mind the white balance and the highlights. I’d like to get out to the beach soon to see what holiday snaps might look like using this setting.

Heroic Pose

Amice in the living room

With his face in shadow, Amice has a bit of a batman (catman? batcat?) vibe going on here. “Whenever there’s trouble . . . . .” he’s usually the cause. Bugger kept waking me up this morning.

I photographed Amice using Fujifilm’s Classic Negative simulation. I’m not sure what to do with this setting, to tell the truth. Fujifilm says it’s not designed for all situations. E.g., food doesn’t look good when photographed using this simulation. It’s supposed to be nostalgic, so maybe it’s good for holiday snaps? I’ll keep experimenting.

Downtown Gangneung

The second roll of film I put in my new Samsung Minolta X-700 was Ilford HP5+.

Garbage Forbidden sign painted on wall, downtown Gangneung.
This painted sign telling people not to put their trash next to the wall of this house is much nicer than the usual spray-painted scrawls.
Motorcycle in Alley, Gangneung.
This is a common sort of motorcycle in Korea. It has a 125cc engine, and in Korea you can drive any scooter or motorcycle up to that size if you have a regular car licence.
Motorcycle in alley next to empty lot, Gangneung.
The same motorcycle from another angle. I discovered this empty lot just a couple of weeks ago when I went through the back gate of a small downtown park.
Self-Portrait in Motorcycle Mirror.
The obligatory mirror self-portrait.
Empty Lot, Downtown Gangneung.
Downtown Gangneung’s backside
Air conditioner fan on building wall, downtown Gangneung.
The fan unit of a commercial building’s air conditioner. One of them, anyway. Each shop and office has its own air conditioner.
Outdoor clothes display and passing woman, downtown Gangneung.
A compose and wait photograph. I wanted someone with dark clothes to pass by the light wall so they would stand out in the photograph. I was there for a few minutes and the owner came out and pretended to go through her clothes, all the while keeping one eye on me. The woman in the photo was also looking at me with the camera to my face. Which worked out nicely for me.
20201106-001-033 amice licking my finger
I include this cat photo because, well, cats! And also to show the quality of the lens. If you click the photo and view it on Flickr, you’ll be able to see all the detail in the cat fur and my hand. I made this photo of my constantly moving friend one-handed with a manual focus camera. I’m very proud of myself! The shutter must have been flying at warp speed 9….. The HP5+ film did a very good job with the highlights and shadows as well. I’m getting a few rolls for Christmas!

Apartment Hallway

Amice whined until I brought him into the hallway so he could do his usual tour.

Amice in Apartment Hallway.

While I was out with the camera, I decided to try the ‘pram at the end of the hallway’ photo again. I’ll get the ultimate version someday . . . .

Stroller in Apartment Hallway

What Next?

Amice sitting with his back to me in the kitchen.
Amice with his back to me in the kitchen.

Judging by his pose, he was in the middle of thinking about what to do next. Get a drink from the kitchen tap? Run into the laundry room? Grumble and leave the kitchen?