Posts tagged film

Olé! – Spanish bullfight! (blast from the past)

Back in 2001, I had the opportunity to travel to this fantastic country where breakfast would be cerveza (beer) and jamón (dry-cured Spanish ham) and where many restaurants don’t even open for dinner till 8pm.

The story has been recycled and slightly tweaked from a long time write-up posted on my photo-sharing site (webaperture) which I’m closing end of this year. I figured it was a good time again to dig through my old scanned archives, process them a bit differently and in Photoshop CS4 — I was using Photoshop 6.0 then! I shot about 6 rolls of film (gasp!) within the hour-long event. I would have shot more but light levels were dropping and I only had ISO100 left after exhausting all my ISO400 film! Shooting digital, I would have just jacked the ISO up! Film was Kodak Supra 100 and Supra 400 (I later switched to Kodak Portra series). Cameras & Lenses: EOS-30 with 70-200 f/2.8 with 2X teleconverter, resulting in a 140-400 f/5.6 lens and an EOS-50E with a 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 lens. This was before my big shift to transparency film (aka slides) such as Fuji’s super-saturated Velvia 50 and Kodakchromes (along with ekta and elitechromes).

The bull ring at Madrid

The Iberian Peninsula forms a link of sorts between Europe and Africa and that makes it not only an interestingly unique country among Europe but one of the most culturally rich as well. Strategically located, it was invaded and visited by many, the Celts, the Phoenicans, the Greeks, the Romans, the Visigoths, and the Moors. It is also the home of the fierce Iberian bull. This also makes Spain such a historically rich country that one can be really confused where to start. I mean look at the depth of this country’s history and cultural roots. Many consider bullfighting as such an essential part to Spanish machismo. So one day, while we were stuffing ourselves with tapas and beer in Madrid, we decided that we’d watch a bullfight. Bullfighting would be quite an exciting start to our cultural tour of Spain since it is so much a part of Spain that almost everyone you meet will associate it with Spain although some Latin American countries also do it. Famous Spanish painters like Goya or Picasso have glorified it. If you drive around Spain, it’s unlikely that you’d miss these huge billboards in the shape of a bull.

The bull ring at Malaga

Now, don’t get me wrong. Even if you’re against this event, I still think you should go watch one. The problem is, how do you go about watching a bullfight. I mean most Spanish cities have these huge bullfighting stadiums called Bull Rings, all of which probably hearkens back to the decadent days of the Roman Empire where slaves and gladiators fought each other and animals in such arenas. When I approached the first bull ring I saw in Seville, I saw this long winding line of people. What they were queuing up for was never apparent to me despite walking around the entire ring and looking lost. The signs were all in Spanish and I gave up — hey, these were the days before google, mobile internet! Now, you’d just pull up your iPhone and google translate it. Anyways, call me lucky or whatever but it just so happens that my Uncle was posted to Spain as an ambassador. I figure he’d we able to get me some tickets. What’s the use of being an ambassador if you can’t get tickets to a bullfight. Again, I was fortunate to be in Spain in April since the bullfighting seasons starts after Holy Week which ends with Easter Sunday in April and continues until August. Any other time, and it doesn’t matter who you know because you probably won’t get tickets. Anyhow, so I got my tickets.

A good friend of my Uncle’s, who is a true-blooded Spaniard commented:
“The bullfight is the essence of Spanish-ness and it’s good for you to see one.”
His lovely wife, with a not-so-strong-but-you-can-recognize-it welsh accent replied:
“Ghastly. Cruel.”
Obviously, she wasn’t Spanish by birth. He continued:
“It defines Spanish culture and who we are!”
But she wasn’t finished:

Oh well. I have a fight to catch. Click on the Entry to read more…

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Blast from the past – New Zealand 2003

Almost seven years ago. Let me see if anyone knows the equipment I used … I feel like the time I showed my 8 year old nephew a film camera and he asked me where’s the LCD display!?
Camera bodies:
– Canon EOS 30 (with Eye-controlled focus)
– Canon EOS 50E ( ” )
Lenses & Other (hmm, my lens collection is pretty old!)
– EF 16-35 f2.8L lens
– EF 28-105 f3.5-5.6 IS
– EF 70-200 f2.8L lens
– EF 50mm 1.8 lens
– EF 2X TC
– 550EX Flash

And my sensors, aka film were Fuji Velvia (ISO 50), Fuji Provia 400F (ISO 400), Kodak EliteChrome 100 (ISO 100)! All the photos you see here are almost as-is. What’s done is my Nikon film scanners is the Digital ICE correction (for dust and scratches) and for resizing, unsharp mask was used. The output from the scanner was intentionally left soft for any post-production work if needed.

Aoraki Mount Cook, shot on the side of Lake Pukaki, 70-200mm lens at 200mm with 2X teleconverter. 400mm on Fuji Velvia.

Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo. 16-35mm lens and Fuji Velvia

Another view of Aoraki Mount Cook while hiking in the area. Kodak EliteChrome, 28-135 IS lens.

Farm gate, on the Road to Wanaka. 16-35mm lens, Kodak EliteChrome

Queens town from the Peak. 16-35mm lens, Kodak Elitechrome and guesstimate exposure. Hey, no LCD previews then. I’ll guess exposure times from 1 to three minutes at f/11. Shot half a roll on this!

Saw this sign while driving/wandering around the Milford Sound area. Kodak Elitechrome

Our 25km hike from Wanaka. Kodak Elitechrome. 16-35mm lens

Prancing Pony from Lord of the Rings or in real life, the Cardrona Hotel, Arrowtown. 16-35mm lens, Fuji Velvia

Morning drive along Lake Wanaka. 16-35mm lens, Cokin 2-stop graduated ND filter, Fuji Velvia

If you want him, come and get him! The black riders cross the Bruinen Ford here in Lord of the Rings. Near Arrow town. The water is very cold but I walked across! 16-35mm lens and Kodak Elitechrome

Pesky Kea parrots. They were rather destructive, trying to take the wipers off our CRV.

Sheep making love? Te Anau downs, 70-200mm lens, Fuji Provia

On the road to Milford Sound. Fuji Velvia, 16-35mm lens

Looking for Isengard! Near Te Anau. 70-200mm lens, Fuji Velvia

Angry cows near Wanaka. Found out later that they were bred for beef, hence their hostility — milk cows it seems are friendlier. 16-35mm lens, Fuji Velvia

Parked at Isengard. Tea with Saruman? 70-200mm lens, Kodak Elitechrome

Sheep pasture, Te Anau, 70-200mm lens, Fuji Velvia

Looking for Navorra lakes and the spot where the Riders of Rohan ambushed the Uruks of Saruman… 28-135 IS lens, Kodak Elitechrome

On the Milford Explorer cruise ship, Milford Sound. 16-35mm lens, Kodak Elitechrome

Milford Sound. 70-200mm lens, Fuji Provia

Arriving at the woods of Rivendell, near Te Anau. 70-200mm lens, Kodak Elitechrome

Road-kill possum. No, I did not run this one down. They are a pest in NZ though and some bumper stickers urge you to run them down. It was getting dark and I had my 16-35mm lens and ISO 50 velvia… hand-held at like 1/2 second exposure. The digital era has spoilt a lot of us 🙂

Henry, the Tuatara at Invercargill. 70-200mm lens, Fuji Provia

The YHA we stayed at Dunedin. Supposedly haunted. Didn’t bring any IR film and nothing untoward happened anyways. 16-35mm lens, Kodak Elitechrome

Lands’ End at Bluff. 28-135 IS lens, Fuji Provia

Arthur’s Pass, the high road cross the south Island from Christchurch to the West Coast (Tasman Sea). 16-35mm lens and Kodak Elitechrome. Obviously someone felt that the name Arthur’s Ass was more appropriate!

Misty mountains? Not really but it was really misty when we drove across to Hotkitika. 70-200mm lens, Fuji Velvia

Toast on a clothes line. Near Milford, this home of Murray Gunn, an elderly bachelor is a museum of sorts. 16-35mm lens, Fuji Velvia

Caitlin Falls, the Caitlins. 16-35mm lens, Fuji Velvia. 2-stop ND filter, Again, another guesstimate exposure.

The light house at Bluff, Land’s End. 70-200mm lens, Fuji Provia

Kaikoura Whale Watch catamarans. 28-135 IS lens, Fuji Provia. At ISO 400, my fastest ISO available! The Pacific ocean is no joke. Expect the boat to be rising and falling over fifty feet and getting soaked with sea spray. Suffice to say, my Canons had no problems with the ocean water!

Sperm Whale tail. 70-200mm lens with 2X Teleconverter. Fuji Provia.

Dolphins decided to show off instead. 70-200mm lens with 2X teleconverter. Fuji Provia

Christchurch Cathedral Square. 16-35mm lens, Kodak Elitechrome