My First SLR

My first serious camera was the Canon T50 film SLR. It was circa 1990, and I was in my early teens. This was long before digital camera era, and a time when most people didn’t know squat about prosumer photography.

The T50 can be operated in Program mode as well as aperture priority.  I’m proud to say that this camera was instrumental to whatever lame photography skills I have today.

Stock photo of the Canon T50 from the web. Mine looked exactly like this one.

The good old T50 taught me several disciplines that are definitely taken for granted today:

1. Shoot Like a Sniper – Film is an expensive and limited commodity. As a broke teenager, I was only able to buy one 24-exposure roll at a time. Maybe a 36-exp. if I can spare a few more pesos. This means that I had a “one-shot-one-kill” mentality when shooting. Being trigger happy, or taking extra “insurance” shots is simply not an option. Each shot must be taken carefully and deliberately, making sure that it’s properly focused, composed and exposed.

2. Focus on Focusing – The T50’s 50mm f=1.8 lens had no Ultrasonic auto focus. This meant that I had to have quick left fingers and a sharp eye. Interestingly, while today’s auto focus lens occasionally mis-focus, manual focusing on the other hand is almost always spot on.

3. A Steady Hand – What Image Stabilizer? Hundreds of shots with the T50 gave me rock solid fists. With pride, I say that I can still successfully shoot at 1/8 or even slower at 50mm equivalent without IS.

4. Patience and Foresight- A film camera is the antithesis of instant gratification. It has no LCD screen. And reviewing a shot only occurs in the mind. A person who is used to film photography knows if the shot is good or not the moment he presses the shutter. Want to enjoy your pictures? Patience, my friend: expose the entire roll first, then drive to the mall and wait 1 hour for printing.

5. Fixed ISO – Back in the day, there’s no such thing as swinging from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. Film is only available in ASA (ISO) 100, 200 or 400. And if one buys, say, a roll of ISO 100 film, he’s stuck with that ISO until the roll is spent. You’re lucky if you can source out 800’s and even if you do, it’ll be grainy as sand on a 3-star beach resort. I also remember the Kodak Ektar 25, a rare and elusive ISO 25 film that’s smooth as silk.

Looking back, I’m thankful of having used the T50, alongside some shooting time with the Minolta X-300 and even the fully manual Nikon FM10. These cameras, combined with some dark room black and white film developing and printing experience, were truly helpful in my formative years as an amateur photographer. I’d like to think that my analog days were the equivalent of Ninja training for a photo buff.


My Cat Wasted My Time

Shattered Poljot

I used to be a cat lover, until this happened. I wore this classic, hand would Russian watch one fateful Friday. When I got home, I put it on my bedroom desk. Then I let my kitten, Nathan, come in the room. I left him there so I could brush my teeth. Normally, I don’t leave him unattended inside my bedroom, because I’m paranoid like dat. But I figure, I gotta trust the cat somehow. After brushing my teeth, I went back to my room to find naughty Nathan jabbing my poor watch on the floor. I guess, instead of earning my trust, Nathan shattered it. 😦 Somehow I couldn’t blame him, coz he’s just a kid. He climbed up my desk and must’ve gotten iffy with the ticking my Poljot was making. The rest was wasted time history.

Repairs are estimated at Php5,000 (US$110). That’s some serious moolah that I could’ve just saved or used to pay the bills! *sob*

Curious of how my adopted kitty from hell looks like?

Nathan (in a Shrek-Puss n' Boots pose)

Here’s another shot of him wreaking havoc:

Naughty Nathan

Honestly, I haven’t fully forgiven him yet. He’s still grounded in the kitchen as I type. If you were me, would you have forgiven him ?

Hellaflush in the Mail

Finally, my Hellaflush stickers arrived in the mail a few days ago…

Fresh from San Fran c/o USPS

It contains four 2.5 inch round stickers that I ordered. A little more than $7 (Php370) including shipping. They accept Paypal and ship international. Pretty convenient!

Package contents.

These sticks went straight to my cheap ass Rota wheel center caps. Now my wheels have some sort of logo on them. The sticker’s colors are a perfect match to my wheels’ colors with the “Hellaflush” blue matching the valve cap.

Stuck on my Rex's wheels.

Ok, so what is “Hellaflush”? Will try to be accurate with my own definition here: Basically it’s a car subculture focused on wheel fitment that is flush to the car. A Hellaflush wheel fitment is characterized by wide wheels with low offset, stretched tires mounted on wheels that are wider than recommended, crazy negative camber and the all important slammed or dropped suspension. The Hellaflush look is synonymous to “stance” and the end result usually makes cars look wide. The stance culture was dubbed Hellaflush by the San Francisco based young and fresh design studio Fatlace. I discovered Hellaflush while lurking at the US forum website for Subaru: NASIOC.

You will either love or hate Hellaflush for what it is. I think it’s pretty cool (hey, I bought the stickers!). My car is nowhere as aggressive as the ones featured in Fatlace’s website, but my wheels have a lower offset (+44) and are a bit wider (8.5) than usual so they’re mildly flush. Some mild (1″) lowering, a little (-1.5) negative camber and maybe even a (5mm) wheel spacer for the rear is in the plan to complete the mildly flush look. These specs are mild and far from being Hella, but it’s as far as I’m willing to go considering practicality and the road conditions here in Manila.

As far as I know, Hellaflush is virtually nonexistent in the PH which is currently crazy for JDM. Yeah, I’m proud to be early in the flush fitment game. Here’s another shot of my wheel for good measure:

Badly needs some blue lug nuts...

Goodbye, Range Rover

Last week, the family bid farewell to our mint and blood red 2nd gen Range Rover. Our Range was acquired roughly three years ago as a pristine pre-owned unit. It was said to be previously owned by Freddie Garcia of ABS-CBN top management, who recently was made even more popular with his appearances as judge in the show Pinoy Got Talent. But I digress…

Our Range was rarely used, and was lovingly cared for by Autosport-24. It underwent touches of restoration, such as repainting of its wheels, replacement of the range rover badge, ceiling re-upholstering, installation of v-kool transparent window tint, not to mention extensive detailing, tune ups on synthetic oil and mechanical repairs of everything that was broke.

Click the image above for more photos of our departed Range Rover

That Range Rover was not the most agile on the road, but it’s tortoise-like casual acceleration was offset by a comfortable yet solid ride. It was like a tank with plush leather. The turning heads and the envious looks of classic car aficionados is also a big plus.

The timing of this SUV being sold is a curious one, because in that same week of June, the Father of the Range Rover also left this Earth. What’s more, the Range Rover celebrated it’s 40th birthday just a few weeks ago!

Adios Range Rover, as you join your new owner! Like any vehicle leaving the family, it will definitely be missed. Now that it’s gone, we would probably ride a  jJeep instead.

A Petition for “Premium” Diesel Fuel

For the past year or so I’ve been casually researching on high end diesel cars, visiting dealerships and talking to salesmen. I have come to discover that the diesel fuel that’s being sold in our country is inferior to the standards of luxo brands such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz. I’m no fuel expert, but I do own a diesel engined car. What’s more, I believe that diesel-powered cars will be a big part of the near future of the automotive industry.

This inspired me to send a letter to Petron where I currently gas up on. Here’s a copy of that letter, which I sent today. Will post updates if they reply.


Dear Petron,

I am a loyal customer of your fuels, and I only refuel my cars in Petron stations using my Petron-BPI credit card.

I write to suggest that the company launch a “premium diesel” product. I thought about this suggestion because I have been in the market for high-end diesel vehicles and I’ve discovered that Mercedes-Benz does not sell diesel cars in the country because our diesel fuels are inferior (dirty) for their standards. Jeep-Chrysler also informed me that they modify their diesel models just so that it will run on our inferior diesel without problems. I also talked to an Audi salesman, and he told me that they cannot bring in and sell all their diesel cars because of the same reason.

I believe that a “premium diesel” product has a market in the country as there are a lot of high end diesel engined cars being sold here (i.e. Audi, Benz. BMW, etc.). Not to mention the resurgence and proliferation of new private diesel cars (i.e. Toyota, Hyundai etc.) which you can verify with CAMPI records. Also, the global automotive industry is having more and more diesel offerings with ever improving technologies and emissions standards (EURO).

While your existing “regular” diesel will cater to public transportation and commercial sector, as well as the low end private car diesel market, the “premium diesel” product will cater to high end private vehicles with diesel engines. I am sure the high end market will not mind paying a little more per liter of “premium diesel” in much the same way that a lot of discriminating customers do not mind paying extra for Blaze gasoline. However, I do admit that I am not familiar if the “premium diesel” is possible from a legal/government regulation perspective (I hope it is).

I currently own a CRDi engined car, and I may replace my other gasoline car with a diesel-engined car in the future. A lot of the people I know are shifting into diesel as well. I will definitely be patronizing a “premium diesel” product should it ever come out, even if it will be a peso or so more expensive than regular diesel.

I do hope you take the time to evaluate, verify the feasibility, and consider the “premium diesel” product idea. There is a captured market out there, not to mention an opportunity for more margins, to be first in the industry and a chance to be greener/environment friendly.

Thanks and regards,

Gerald Garcia