another update on my film photography

I wanted to share some of the pictures that I had developed from my last couple of rolls of film. I’ve written a couple of posts on my photography (here and here). I’m still learning but I’m having a ball.

Recently my friend, Iona (she’s the one you’ll see featured in a few of the photos) also just got into film photography and we went on a little trip around the Gold Coast. Here are some pictures that I took.

Takings photos on the beach is hard – but for these ones I purposely had the exposure up a little higher because I like the look of overexposed photos. It has a dreamy sort of feeling to it – vintage-looking.

I took some more when I went to the art gallery (I made a little blog post about it too). Most of these were overexposed – I’m learning that indoor photography is really bloody hard. I’m not sure how I can improve on it – I don’t remember the exact settings. All I know is that I really need to amp up the exposure settings so that as much possible light can get in.

I took some at a rally I went to. I really liked a lot of these photos and how they turned out – I think this is a lot to do with being outdoors and having natural lighting:

And finally – I took some photos when I had a little game night with me and some friends. Again, most of these photos were underexposed because they were taken indoor and it was also nighttime. I may or may not have had too many frozen margaritas which didn’t help either. Most of them are also out of focus (whoops). They did come out with a kinda cool effect though so that’s something.

I feel like this time round I was much happier with how the photos turned out. I didn’t feel as mad that I was spending almost $50 to get them all processed because I reckon around half of them were decent (#winning). I just ordered a new box of film so I’m keen to get back to taking some more photos.

clara x 2020

a trip to the art gallery

On Monday afternoon my friend Kelly and I decided to go to the art gallery (queensland art gallery). It recently opened up since covid restrictions have been lifted. We wondered around different areas, chatting and reading the little descriptions. I brought along my film camera to take some pictures too which was nice.

We looked at a collection of Indigenous Australian art, some classics like early European works and Asian art (there was lots and lots there so check out the website for more info).

I had the loveliest afternoon with lovelier company. It’s nice to be able to go to art galleries again after some restrictions have been lifted. I really love going to art galleries – it’s relaxing sort of floating around different spaces.

clara x 2020

travels

So in light of this whole covid thing – I have come to realise lots of things: how important live music is for me, and how valuable friends are. Something else that me and that I’m sure many many other people have realised is how lucky we were to be able to travel. I have always loved travelling and I feel so lucky that I have travelled so much at such a young age. I thought I would share some of my travel highlights to reminisce on some good times. Before I start chatting about some of the places I’ve been to – I would like to acknowledge how privileged and grateful I am to have been able to travel so much and to so many places. I know that not everyone is as lucky as me. Hopefully, this post doesn’t come across as too braggy – I just thought it would be nice to share my experiences and memories.

One of the first overseas family trips we did was Vietnam. I think I was around 11 when we went. We went all over Vietnam from Sapa to the bustling city of Hoi Anne. I don’t remember too much but what I do remember was the delicious food, the lovely people and the beautiful landscapes.

here’s a throwback picture – exposing me and my family

Another really memorable trip was when I went on exchange in Italy back in 2016/17. This was the first time I went travelling without my family so it was a pretty huge achievement in itself. I was only sixteen! I spent nine weeks there where I stayed with my exchange partner (Maddi)’s family in Varese (a small town close to Milan). I went to school and was fully immersed in the Italian culture. I was really lucky and my family took me to lots of places like Milan, Venice, Padua, Florence and lots more. Once a week I would go to Lugano to meet up with all the other students doing the exchange. I had some amazing experiences, some awkward encounters, met some pretty great people and had the most rewarding time there. I remember it being quite challenging being away from my family for so long. But I learned so much – not just the Italian language. It makes me sad thinking about how little Italian that I remember and that I’m no longer studying it but so happy when I think about all the memories I made there.

I made some videos while I was there:

this is a particularly special video. i visited Tamara – a girl who inspired me to go on the exchange (she was the exchange partner of my sister when she did it two years before)

The last big trip I went on was to South America. I went after I graduated high-school – way better than Schoolies. I went all around – starting in Buenos Aires with my mum and sister. It was there that I did a week-long Spanish course while exploring the city. Then we went on a little weekend trip to Uruguay. After that my dad and brother met us and we went to Peru. After that, we went to Chile (my mum is from Chile). Then my sister and I did a little bit of solo travelling in Brazil (when I say solo travelling I mean without the rest of the family but we were with Maria (a lovely girl who stayed with us for six months while in Australia) and her wonderful family).

There were so many highlights on this trip. Going to Machu Picchu was definitely up there as one of my highlights. I know you hear a lot about it and its a tourist hotspot – but for good reasons. The trip to Brazil was also one of the best few weeks of my life. My sister and I were so well looked after by Maria and her family – they took us to Rio de Janerio and all-around Salvador (their home town). I think this trip, in general, was also a really pivotal time for me and I grew a lot as a person and was constantly learning and exploring new things. I was only 17 at the time so it was an incredible experience to have at such a young age. My mum is Chilean so I felt a kind of connection to some of the places we went to. Even though I was so out of place – as a Gringo – I felt drawn into the people, places and their cultures.

I made some videos about my time there:

Travelling has always been something that I loved and have felt passionate about. I love learning about new cultures and meeting new people. It’s exciting. It’s that giddy feeling when you have booked plane tickets and start to think about where you want to go. It’s all the spontaneous trips and wanderings around a new city. I will say that it’s not always easy. It can be super stressful and as someone who suffers from some mental health issues – it can sometimes take a toll on you. But I can wholeheartedly say that travelling is one of the undeniably great things in life.

Living through this pandemic puts a lot of things into perspective. Again, I want to highlight how incredibly privileged I am to have been travelling and been given the opportunity to. I don’t know if travelling will ever be the same. There’s a lot that is out of our control. In the meantime: stay healthy, social distance, be sensible and look after one another. I can’t wait until I get to travel somewhere again.

clara x 2020

my new electric guitar

So last week I decided that I wanted to buy myself an electric guitar. It’s something that I had been thinking about for ages but I’ve only recently had enough money to actually do anything about it. I have been poking around guitar shops for years testing out electric guitars but never actually buying anything. Today was different (obviously). The guitar I went for was the “Affinity Series HSS Stratocaster” by Squier (Fender). I’m a beginner and I wasn’t really looking for a fancy electric guitar (although I did test out an expensive one and it sounded like a DREAM). I think my guitar is around mid-range in terms of price point. It actually came in a set – which included an amp as well as some other gadgety thingos (i.e. plectrums and cords etc.).

This whole thing came about when my sister and I were having brunch together (see the little pic) and were talking about what we should do with our JobKeeper money. Should we save it? Probably. Or should we spend it on something cool? I voted for the latter. Besides my dad always says that if we are spending our money it means that we are putting money back into the economy. So we’re basically helping the economy (you’re welcome). I was tossing up between buying a Nintendo Switch or an electric guitar. I decided on going for the electric guitar.

brunch with my sister

I took my dad and sister along for the ride. The guitar shop that I went to was pretty cool and there was a little room where you could test out different guitars. This was good because it meant not putting my mediocre skills on display. Especially because guitar shops always have those middle-aged men that assert their dominance by buying expensive guitars, playing fancy riffs and knowing like everything about guitars.

Now the hard part is trying to figure out how to play it. I’m lucky that I already know how to play the guitar (see my other post) – now I just need to use that knowledge and put it to good use. The guitar actually came with a code to log into FenderPlay which is a website set up by Fender to teach you how to play guitar. There are lots of skill courses and tons of songs to learn with interactive videos. Along with the guitar I get three free months of FenderPlay which is brill. Right now I’m learning La Grange by ZZ Top and Always Like This by Bombay Bicycle Club. Some other songs that I’ve saved that I wanna learn are:

  • Hold On by Alabama Shakes
  • Reptilia by The Strokes
  • Last Nite by The Strokes
  • Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine

Otherwise, I like to use Ultimate Guitar tabs which literally has thousands and thousands of tabs (btw: guitar tabs are basically another way to read music where it shows you the fingering rather than the actual pictures). You can literally search up pretty much any song you want and there will be a tab for it. I also like to sometimes use YouTube as wells as using a tab because it gives you a better idea of what you’re doing.

I made a playlist with a bunch of songs that could be cool to learn some day.

I’m still figuring out how to play electric guitar. I really want to learn how to change how the guitar sounds – that’s the next thing. It’s fun playing around with my new toy and learning new songs. I feel like I’m slowly becoming more confident and I think that will come with more practice. Here’s hoping that I’ll keep practicing.

clara x 2020

reading

Since taking a break from uni – I’ve taken it upon myself to try new and old hobbies (i.e. art, photography, guitar etc.). Something that I haven’t spoken much about is my newfound pleasure in reading. I thought I’d chat about some of the books I’ve read and the one I’m reading at the moment.

I don’t think at any point in my life I would have called myself a ‘bookworm’ or anyone who was super into reading. I think I did read a fair bit when I was younger up but not enough to crown myself as a ‘bookworm’. Growing up, there has always been plenty of books around the house. My parents have always been really keen on me and my siblings to read a book as a child. Once I got to high school I stopped reading so much – partly because I didn’t think it was cool and also because high school is mega stressful. I didn’t read much else apart from the dreaded required reading (no offence to Shakespeare and Kurt Vonnegut). Then uni comes around and its pretty much the same story minus the cool part. Uni is stressful and throw in my poor time management skills – makes it hard to sit down and read a book. Even though I always had a book that I was reading – it took me ages to finish it.

So even though I’ve never been obsessed with reading – I decided to give it a try. Turns out I quite like it. Over the past couple of months I have read five or six books (I promise that I’m not trying to brag). One of the many ways I have been spending up during iso has been ordering some books online (getting a parcel is up there with the best things in life).

Back, After the Break – Osher Günsberg (I learned that it’s pronounced ginzberg)

I cannot say enough good things about Osher and his books. Anyone close to me knows that I love Osher. This book was one the first books that I read over these tumultuous few months. I could go on for a long time about why I liked this book so much. I started becoming interested in Osher’s story when I stumbled upon his podcast (you should definitely check it out). I felt connected listening to his mental health journey – parts not entirely different from mine. It was a totally surreal experience. Straight after I listened to that episode I did two things: I wrote him an email and I bought his book.

The book is basically about his life and living with mental illness. It’s an honest, engaging read and writing style made it an easy read. He recounts the struggles and challenges that came with his mental illness, encouraging conversation on topics that aren’t easy to have.

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

I’ll be honest with you and say that I chose this book because it was one of the top fiction books on Angus & Robertson and I liked the look of the front cover. The story is basically about a girl who was abandoned by her parents and siblings and her survival in the Marsh in North Carolina. Somewhere along the way two young men enter her life. Years later one of the locals – the football buff Chase Andrews is found dead and everyone in the town thinks it was her. It was a really nice read – there was a bit of poetry which is cute but at the same time there was the whole mystery element to it.

Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

This book is definitely on the chunkier side (864 juicy pages) and I don’t think I have read a book that big since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I loved this book. Basically it’s about a 13 year old boy, Theo Decker who survives a bombing in a museum that kills his mother – he escapes with a famous painting (the Goldfinch). The story follows Theo into adulthood and how he is led into the ‘criminal underworld’. It is beautifully written and engaging. There is so much to unpack in this book. There’s stuff about grief, loss, addiction, love and lots more. Obviously it’s a bit long and there were at times, a part of me that just wanted it to wrap up – but still totally worth the read.

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

The book that I’m reading at the moment is Little Women. I’m trying to get into the classics to make me seem smarter. It’s actually not that bad – I only have to look up a few words on each page.

I’m really enjoying reading – it’s a peaceful hobby. I could spend hours reading and not even realise it. The satisfaction of finishing a book that you really enjoy is the best. Hopefully I can keep it up.

clara x 2020

p.s. here are some books I wanna read:

how to be an antiracist by ibram x. kendi

my Tidda, my Sister: stories of strength and resilience from australia’s first women by marlee silva

growing up aboriginal in australia by anita heiss

white fragility: why its so hard for white people to talk about race. by robin diangelo

humankind by rutger bregman

jasper jones by craig silvey

lolita by vladimir nabokov

boy swallows universe by trent dalton

such a fun age by kiley reid

update on film photography

If you read my earlier blog post on “a new hobby” then you’ll know what this one is going to be about. If you haven’t read it – you’re welcome to look at it. Otherwise – basically I found an old film camera and I have been playing around with it over the last week or so. I didn’t know what I was doing (and still don’t) and so I had pretty low expectations on how they would turn out. I’ll be honest: I was a bit disappointed at first with the results. I know I said my expectations were low but I had hopes that I would turn out to be an amazing photographer.

I thought I’d share with you the bad ones and then the not so bad ones.

Some of them were blurry:

this is me and my sister

Something that I probably should be mindful adjusting the focus (there are a few basic distances to set it to around the ring of the lens) depending on how far away the camera is from what I’m shooting.

Some of them were underexposed:


Some were overexposed:

at the BLM protest (06.06.2020)
i actually still really like this photo

Even though I do kind of like the look of overexposed pictures; I wouldn’t mind seeing if I can get them to have truer colouring. I might need to play around with the aperture (the aperture is the hole in the lens that opens and closes to let more light into the camera to expose the film (thanks google)) settings. I did learn that you can set the aperture depending on the weather – e.g. if its super sunny and there aren’t any clouds, you would set the aperture to f/16. F-stops are the aperture measurement – the bigger the number, the narrower the hole which means less light is exposed in the film. The smaller the number, the bigger the hole which means more light is exposed. My camera has f-stops ranging from 2.8 to 22.

After a bit of googling I have discovered that the overexposure can happen when the selenium light meter (the thing that decides the exposure settings) starts to go bad (uhoh). Let’s hope that it’s not that.

Here are some ones that I don’t mind:

this one is from a church around the corner from my house
even though this has a weird effect – i still like it
this was at the BLM protest in Brisbane (06.06.2020)
i might not like how i look in this photo but i like the quality of the photo
some notes i’ve been making

Okay so the photos aren’t perfect and there are things I want to play around with more. I might not be some amazing photographer but I’m still learning. I’m having fun so I’m going to keep learning and shooting.

clara x 2020

guitar

I picked up my guitar again. I haven’t touched it in months and months and to tell you the truth I wouldn’t be able to pin point a single reason why.

I started playing guitar at the ripe age of ten after realising my potential for being famous because who was I kidding, clearly I wasn’t going to get famous solely on my looks. Anyway, as usual my dad was supportive and helped me pick out my first little beauty. It was a small classical guitar with flowers around the sound hole. I thought it would give me the playing abilities of Rodrigo y Gabriela (seriously, you should check them out & fun fact: I took my dad to see them live a couple of years ago and yes, they were fucking amazing) but I was brutally disappointed when my guitar teacher was assigning me “G cord” scales and the “Smoke on the Water” chorus for practice, not seeing my true potential.

rodrigo y gabriela when I saw them at the tivoli 2018

I definitely had some interesting guitar teachers over the years – but in all honesty, my first guitar teacher was my favourite. His name was Michael Luke. He left a lasting impression on me and made me wonder about the world. He told me stories of him playing guitar with Busby Marou (you should also check them out) and stories of his travels around various parts of the world.

He was almost always late to every single lesson I had which, I think is sort of charming in a way. My dad always called him a dreamer; he had big ideas and they often didn’t fall through. One time he wanted to put on a huge concert for all the kids he taught. We talked about it for months but it never happened. We chatted a lot. But he somehow always managed to teach me something which, is quite a difficult task for anyone (I can only imagine how hard it might be to get a kid with undiagnosed ADHD to focus for long enough to actually learn something). He taught me so much about guitar and especially about the importance of theory before learning the cooler songs. Which, is an important life lesson. 

I had lessons on and off for about five or six years (it’s important to note that my experience isn’t a reflection what so ever on my current talent – which is lacking). When I first started learning I was young and keen to learn – I knew how to read sheet music and I was taught how to read tabs. I picked it up quickly. In high school I studied music and music theory for a couple of years (I quit when I realised that performing in front of others was not my cup of tea). Now I’m a lot slower and seem to have forgotten most of what I was taught. It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing that I used to be really good at something and I’ve sort of lost that.

I go through phases of playing guitar and not playing it. It usually depends on my mental state. When I get really depressed, I lose interest in it. But I wouldn’t say that stopping playing guitar has always been because of that. I find that when I have been doing something for so long it, I question why I enjoyed it in the first place.

It’s hard not to get bogged down when you can’t find a song that you like or the song that you actually like and want to learn is too hard – did I ever mention that I have no patience (woohoo ADHD)? I’m doing a lot of complaining here – sorry about that.

The thing that re-sparked my interest in playing guitar was a tutorial uploaded by Spacey Jane on their song good grief (thanks Caleb). I’m a bit of a fan and the song is such a banger. After watching the video I wiped off the dust that was on my guitar and started playing. When I start to play again I’m reminded of how much I enjoy it. I’m still learning and relearning. It’s not easy but it’s exciting picking up the guitar again – the fresh calluses and the feeling of nailing a hard riff after a lot of practice.

I don’t know how long this will last – the excitement – but I hope it sticks around long enough for me to feel a bit happier than I did yesterday. I think I’m going to ride the wave for as long as I can. 

clara x 2020

a new hobby

With all this extra time I have accumulated since taking a break from uni, I have decided trying both old and new hobbies is a good way to keep busy. You probably already know that I am trying out the art thing. I’m also relearning guitar (look out for that blog post) and starting to read more books. I should also add that I watch an embarrassing amount of episodes of Friends daily – seriously, it’s an addiction.

I have found that keeping myself busy with anything has helped prevent low periods – a way to distract my mind. Something else that I have wanted to try for a little while is film photography. It’s definitely not a unique hobby seeing how there is such a cult following already amongst the hipster community. I’m okay with that though. I’m not trying it out because I think it will make me seem cool or different (okay so maybe the cool thing might be part of the reason but like can you blame me?) – I want to give it a go because it has sparked my interest. It’s another hobby to keep me busy.

Yesterday I came back from work to find an old film camera left on my desk. My dad had gone to Sydney but when he was packing he found it. I was so excited. If anyone is interested – it is the Olympus Trip 35. My parents bought it at a garage sale a while back. I have started researching and learning how to use it, its features and general tips around film photography (thank you YouTube).

I think part of the reason why film photography is so cool is not knowing what you took and waiting to see how they turned out. Sure half of them might have turned out shit but the other half might turn out not that bad.

Some things that I learned was that this particular camera was that they were very common in the 60s and 70s – there were around 10 million produced. So you can find a lot around – on eBay or from your uncle who probably has one stashed in the back of his wardrobe. Apparently, the reason the camera is called “Trip” 35 is that its intended use was for holidays and “trips” because it’s compact and easy to use on the go.

The film arrived this morning! Now, I don’t really know how well the camera works or its condition or quality. The only way to test it is to take some photos and play around with the settings – and get them developed.

Who knows if this will work out – I don’t really mind if it doesn’t. It’s pretty fun regardless. I’m still learning how to be around myself all day every day – finding and learning new hobbies is a good way of doing this.

a sunday arvo walk

This afternoon I went on a walk up Mt. Cootha with two of my lovely friends (meet Kelly and T). It was a relatively cool afternoon – cool enough that I got to wear my hoodie. I had been really looking forward to spending time with my friends – it had been something like two months since I last saw them. Being in isolation is hard. Especially when face-to-face social interaction, for me anyway is such an important part of my life.

We talked almost constantly for hours – finding it hard to stop, talking about things both difficult and mundane. I was hesitant at first – I’m not at uni at the moment and I thought that that would mean we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. That was so far from the truth that I’m embarrassed that I even thought that. Uni isn’t the reason we are friends. Sure, it brought us together and all but we’re friends because we formed a connection (as lame as that may sound). It’s that kind of connection that sometimes you might take for granted and it takes things like literal social isolation for you to realise it. I hate to sound cheesy but it’s the kind of friendship that you know is going to last until you’re all old and wrinkly.

The walk up from J.C. Slaughter Falls to the Mt. Cootha was pleasant and didn’t seem to take long at all (probably because of how much talking we were doing). The summit was packed (a bit unnerving in the current climate). We didn’t really stay up there for very long – long enough to appreciate the view and how pretty Brisbane looks from a distance.

It was one of the nicest walks I have been on. Catching up with friends while exercising is relaxing and therapeutic. It didn’t really feel like we had been apart for so long once we were all together. I’m pretty lucky to have such lovely friends.

clara x 2020

Sorry that this is all a bit soppy. I can’t help myself.

records

At some point in high school, I decided I wanted a record player. I probably thought it was cool – well I still think its cool. I got a record player for Christmas when I was 15. My dad is pretty clever and he found the record player on the side of the road and fixed it up for me. He told me that it was quite the project. Five years later and it still works a treat.

I love vinyl and I hate to be the person who says ‘it sounds better on vinyl’ but I think I am that person (sorry to disappoint). I just love how records sound – there’s just something about it. I did read somewhere that vinyl sounds better because unlike MP3, it isn’t compressed down so much to fit into a file. I don’t know how accurate that is but hey I’ll roll with it. Point is – I like records.

Over the past years, I have started a small record collection. I thought I would talk about a few of my records – I can’t really pick a favourite – it’s like asking who your favourite child is. Instead of talking about them all in one post, I thought I might break it up a bit – maybe I’ll write another post talking more about the individual records – I won’t overwhelm you. Each of my records is special. That’s the thing about buying records – you are choosing ones that are special because it’s a hell of a lot of money to spend on just a record that is okay. It’s a whole ~experience~.

The World of Johnny Cash

Okay, so I thought I would talk about this one because it was the first record I bought. Technically, I got this record for my dad because I knew he liked Johnny Cash but it still counts. I actually bought this before I even had a record player. I got it when a high school friend and I went to a record fair in West End – I remember nervously looking through thousands of records that I had never heard of. Occasionally me or my friend would exclaim when we saw one we knew or she’d show me one that she knew and I’d pretend that I knew. I remember asking one of the less intimidating stall holders if they had Johnny Cash – sure enough, he did – I bought it, hoping that I seemed way cooler than I actually was. 

Adrian Eagle – MAMA

My ex-boyfriend actually got this record for me not too long ago. Such a cool looking record too. This record is particularly meaningful for me throughout my recovery – it was one of the only albums I would listen to. I couldn’t really talk that much or use much energy but I remember my dad driving me to one of the many doctor visits – I was really weak back then -, I managed to plug my phone in and play one of his songs. I hadn’t smiled for a while but I was grinning ear to ear, tapping my feet to the sweet sweet tunes. His music remained one of the few constants during a really hard time in my life.

I dragged a couple of my friends out to see him at Falls (it was at like midday in Australian summer). He radiated positivity that was contagious. During that set – I remember thinking: this has got to be one of the happiest I have felt in a while. There I was listening to some sweet tunes and having a boogie with my two closest friends – it couldn’t really get any better than that. I could keep talking about Adrian Eagle but I’ll stop – by now I could probably be President of the Adrian Eagle Fan Club. Is there one? Should I know about it?

p.s. i wrote him a message saying how cool he is and he replied

The xx – I see you 

don’t mind the finger prints lol

I got this record when I was at Splendour in the Grass 2017. I think it was the first time I went to a festival- it’s where I got my first taste of going to festivals. I got to spend two days with two of the best people you’ll meet. The record is special because it reminds me of a good time with good people. One of the headliners was The xx and I remember seeing them perform and it was magical. This record has some beautiful sounding and written songs. It’s also a sick record (it’s clear) and the packaging is equally as cool.

Splendour 2017

 The Smith Street Band – More Scared of You Than You Are of Me

This is a super special record because I actually got it signed by the lovely lead singer, Wil. I remember going to the signing by myself and feeling super nervous. I was going through a really hard time in high school and this album helped me get through it – reminding me that yeah sometimes life is pretty shitty – but it’s gonna be okay. This is such a great record – the first music that I started listening to of theirs and I love the raw honesty in the lyrics and the catchy choruses. There is a mix of energetic and softer tunes. I love every song on this album but my favourite has got to be ‘Shine’. I remember my dad and I playing this song a lot, especially when I was pretty down to cheer me up.

Records for me, are so much more than a way of listening to music. They each hold significant meaning and memory of a time in my life.

clara x 2020