Minolta X-700 and Revolog

I received a Minolta X-700 for Christmas, and have been procrastinating learning how to use it for the past six months. It was daunting to me; I had never used a fully analog camera, and all the nobs and numbers and dials were intimidating. Honestly, I was afraid I’d screw it up. However, I finally bit the bullet yesterday and read the manual and went to work.

For those newbies like me who have done nothing but hold a DSLR, the Minolta X-700 is a manual focus SLR from the early 80s. It has a program mode and an aperture-priority mode, so there are options on it that aren’t fully manual, but I was feeling tenacious and figured I had enough schooling to go all-out on manual mode.

The oldies reading this are probably smiling or shaking their heads at me and my excitement over using an analog camera. But I was practically dancing while taking pictures yesterday because I knew what I was doing. I started laughing with joy yesterday when I was trying to take a picture with my aperture stopped down to f/11, and I was still over-exposed with my shutter speed on the fastest shutter available for the camera. Then, I had an epiphany- I COULD STOP DOWN FURTHER. HOLY COW WHAT A CONCEPT. And then MAYBE- JUST MAYBE- I could find an equivalent exposure so my shutter speed wouldn’t have to be ridiculously high.

I think I take too much advantage of my DSLR. I let it think for me. When I see my light meter, when I see that little white triangle veering towards the -2 or the +2, I absent mindedly adjust my camera settings, not really paying attention to what I’m doing. My camera may be set to manual, but my mind is on automatic. Using my Minolta yesterday made me completely aware of every shot, the light, the exposure. I had to think about what I was doing; was that shutter speed really necessary, or was there an equivalent exposure I should use? Should I over-expose here to get the shadows lighter, or do I leave it? What aperture should I use to get the most out of the clouds during that sunset?

Seeing my developed photos, I see I have a lot of learning to do still. That makes me even more excited. I think working with my Minolta X-700 will make me into an even better photographer: one that is more aware of her camera.

For these pictures I used Revolog brand film, specifically their 600nm. Revolog is an Austria-based film company that makes films that have different color and texture effects. I’ve used their Kolor film (you can find the results of that one under my Travels<Film page) and the 600nm (on the Film Work page, more carnival photos like the one above.) They’re really awesome and fun to work with. They can be developed at home or wherever you can develop film, since all their films are C-41 process. You can check their store out here. Shipping is a bit pricey, so get with a friend and order film together to split the shipping cost!

There once was an under-saturated girl living in an over-saturated world.


There once was an under-saturated girl living in an over-saturated world. She loved the colors around her, but she was melancholy because she didn’t possess the amazing technicolor array herself.

She was painfully aware each and everyday of her inadequate hues in comparison to the lively ones around her. Why couldn’t she just get those colors on her own? Why didn’t she just become a spectrum of tye-dye? Didn’t she know that she was an eye sore to the rest of the world?


These thoughts plagued her each and everyday. Comments like, “Well, why don’t you just saturate?” and “You know, standing there being those bleak-colors isn’t going to change anything. You should really stop feeling sorry for yourself and go get some color in you,” were constantly thrown in her direction. But no matter how hard she tried, nothing changed. She tried saturating, but it didn’t work. She tried to stop feeling sorry for herself, but it didn’t bring the color back.

She was going to give up. She figured, “Why should I stay in a bright, happy-colored world when I am just a bleak and unsightly eye-sore? All I do is ruin the scenery. There’s no place for me here! I should just go and end all the trouble I’ve caused. And, I won’t have to feel so inadequate anymore…”

Just before she was ready to leave her world forever, she looked around one last time. She looked at the trees and the way they caught the opalescent light. She ran her pale, under-saturated hands through the grass and half-smiled, as if she could feel the colors beneath her palms, radiating in magenta, lime, cyan. She noticed her pale skin against the violet blades.

That’s when she had a realization.

Her under-saturation wasn’t a bad thing that needed to be changed. In fact, it was a gift: if she was over-saturated, how would she be able to appreciate the beautiful colors around her? They would all blend in. They wouldn’t look as bright and wonderful as they did to her in this moment. She was as spectacular as the world around her.

ImageI did this shoot today with one of my best friends. Her back yard is filled with trees and paths and other interesting nature-y things (like mosquitoes…) and when I saw her backyard a few weeks ago on a prior visit I demanded to come back (I mean, I kind of asked for permission… kind of…)

Admittedly, I completely winged it today. I had this scarf with all these different fabric scraps (pictured above) and figured I’d just work with that. Then, when I got home and started editing and got frustrated, I started playing around with the saturation and- voila! My idea hatched.  Sometimes a shoot that you don’t think is going to turn out well becomes something fun and interesting.

Meet Me and I.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a combination of loneliness and insane creativity. Unfortunately, people have this thing called a life, where they can’t come model for me on a whim. So, today, I took care of both these feelings.

Meet Me and I.

They’re me. Yes, both of them.

We had a lot of fun today. We went for a walk up to my usual photo-taking-place (when you live in the suburbs, any patch of wild nature is a blessing, and I take full advantage of it) and climbed trees, chatted in the grass, went exploring… We had fun.

I had a fun time editing these pictures. I got to do a little Photoshop craziness by editing myself into the pictures, and I goofed around with the colors. I figured, it’s weird that I’m hanging out with myself, I might as well make the trees look all weird and psychedelic while I’m at it.

I’m glad I got out of the house and did something by myself. I have a hard time being motivated without a schedule or a model, and then there’s this whole social-awkwardness thing I have going on that whenever I go somewhere by myself I get embarrassed. Listening to music while I ran around the woods with my tripod and changing outfits for the birds helped with this feeling.

So, when you’re bored and model-less and itching to go take pictures, try using yourself for a model! It’s a lot of work, but can turn out to be a lot of fun!

Practice makes perfect.

I’ve been in a kind of lull the past week when it comes to making work, but I haven’t stopped brainstorming ideas. I’m trying to get more illustrative with my work, which means more hours on Photoshop and learning even MORE things about the program (and when I thought I’ve learned everything…)

My most recent idea involves water. Waves. Splashes. The whole sh-bang.

Teensy-problem- I don’t know how to do any of those things! But since I’m insane determined, I’ve been searching for images that are inspiring, tutorials to teach me, and just generally huffing and puffing and curling into a little ball when my practice-image doesn’t work out for the first three hours.

I don’t want to screw up my awesome idea (this is something I have the tendency to do…) So, I’m practicing. And practicing. And guess what! Sobbing into my pillow and drinking lotsofcoffee.

Already I’m improving. The image on the left I did last night, whereas the image on the right I did today. I have another image that I’m working on, but let’s just say I have a hard time making boat wakes so that one isn’t going to see the light of day for a while.

You know when you take photographs in high school and you think they’re the bee’s knees and then you go back and look at them years later and you just sorta feel embarrassed? That’s the emotion I’m feeling. Minus the thinking-it’s-the-bee’s-knees-part, I went straight to the embarrassment.

But hey, if you don’t learn you can’t grow, right?

…. Right?