Chinese New Year 2007/RFilipinas Meetup

Filipino Dragon Found at Chinese New Year 2007

An early, early morning departure from home was aborted, and instead, I just went ahead and conformed to the the 10AM meetup at Binondo, Manila last Sunday: it was Chinese New Year’s Day, and the second gathering of RFilipinas, a group of local rangefinder camera fanatics.

Photo c/o Eddie Concepcion

Met new faces, and got the chance to give my pasalubong (3 rolls of Lucky 135 BW film, 3 rolls of Era PAN 135 BW film, and 1 roll of Shanghai 120 BW film [picture of lot here]) to Jay Javier, mister bigshot now with his digital rangefinder, an Epson RD1s. Photoshoot commenced with the sun almost at its noon position, and us looking for the usual festivities. Armed with a Fed2 RF (RF=rangefinder, for the uninitiated) with loaded Colpan film (and cheating on an RF meetup with a DSLR in tow), we encountered dragon dances, and other interesting scenes unique to this side of Manila at this time of year.

PREVIEW: Chinese New Year 2007

Lots of Tikoy at Chinese New Year 2007

Lunch was at President’s, were the cameras parked in front of my seat.

RFilipinas Meetup

Oddly, my humble Fed 2 became a curious topic, as it fell to concrete when shooting. Got a dent, but thats it. Now, I guess a couple of the members will be getting their own.

Another curious thing: I’m in my late twenties, and these guys are…? A few had their wives and kids around. This got me thinking: am I too young to be an RF afficionado? But then, yes, I got a $30 Leica clone, so its just plain practical, and understandable, why I ain’t got a Leica. Or a digital RF, at that.

A few of us chose to shoot after lunch, when the day’s celebrations were dying down. With a glass of sugar cane juice as refresher around early afternoon, we headed off to Avenida to an eventual cap-off of the gathering. Jay and I ended up conversing on the LRT2 later, talking about the quirks of a digital rangefinder, that is not the Leica M8 (around $5000: body only): his RD1s (around $2000: again, body only). He mentioned that he is infinitely quicker with his Russian babies compared to this Japanese wonder (mounted with – surprise, surprise- vintage Russian lenses).

My Fortress, Not Yours

I didn’t bother to give Jay my day’s roll for developing because I do know that I’d be lucky to have 1/3 of the shots in proper focus. See, quick actions shots with the wee bit of a viewfinder/rangefinder on my RF isn’t the easiest way to shoot. So yes, I do have to learn the Hyperfocal Distance Focusing Technique, something I should’ve mastered years ago.

I definitely would’ve had better luck if I brought the Kiev35a, despite its lack of an internal RF; it still somehow follows the credo of the RF group, as when you look at the viewfinder, you’re not necessarily seeing what your lens will capture to film (yes, SLR’s work the WYSIWYG [approximately] way, I know).

So, considering my lack in any RF cred, has anyone got a fixed-lens (so I wouldn’t be tempted to get more lenses) RF from your Lolo’s baul to spare? Any Canonet model or a Yashica Electro would be much, much appreciated 🙂

View the rest of the pictures on my Flickr photostream.

And again, for anyone who’d like to join RFilipinas, register at ToyKameraPilipinas (I moderate the group, so I’ll be approving your membership, unless the admin approves you first), or at the Rangefinderforum, and looks for the Philippines section. It doesn’t matter if you don’t own a rangefinder camera yet, as long as the interest is there, we’ll be more than willing to help.

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