Fall in Montréal by Usamah Khan

Well, snow is here now. When this happens I always think "alright, summer's over". Which it is. But then I'm not giving Fall the respect it deserves. Sometimes I think that September to November might be my favourite time of year. Sweaters are comfy to wear, a mug of hot coffee feels and tastes better, you don't have to worry about being too hot at night and you don't have a heating bill to pay. But definitely, one of the best things about the Fall is the change in colours of the leaves and how the sunlight is just a little bit lower and gives you amazing opportunities for photowalks.

These are some of my favourite shots from the last few rolls of film I took in September/October.

Street Art by Usamah Khan

I've had the good fortune to be able to travel a lot in my life. One thing I always look out for is the local street art. I grew up with friends who tagged a lot and what I remember most about them was how they prepared. They'd show up, late night, notepads full of sketches and designs they would refine over and over. Sometimes they painted to make a statement, sometimes it was just to practice on a wall. Whatever it was it was always a really organic form of expression that I used to love watching.

Fast-forward a few years to when I moved to Montréal. I came and was blown away by how this city embraced their unused walls and once a year opened them up for the best artists to paint at Mural Fest. These are colourful, detailed works of art that bring so much light and vibrance to the city. So I love biking around and finding some murals tucked away in an alley or underpass and when I do try to always grab a photo.

Blue Sky Thinking by Usamah Khan

Every now and again I find myself drawn to certain colours and vibes. I don't plan for it, but it happens and I only realize after developing a few rolls and going through them. This was a collection from the summer when I was into slow films - my favourite being Kodak's Ektar 100. Sheets of colour like skies come out super nice and because of how fine the grain is you can get real nice soft contrasts between gradients. Also, was listening to a lot of Monuments at the time. Badass progressive metal and groove, "Blue Sky Thinking" was my jam.

Light Leaks and Lens Flare by Usamah Khan

One of the charms of film photography is focusing your efforts to capture a photo and trying your best not to make a mistake. I think it forces you to become better. Because not having that immediate feedback you get when you take a shot digitally lets you stay in the moment and also gives you an urgent sense of "don't mess this up". It's frustrating in the beginning, but as you get more comfortable with it you get an idea of whether or not your shots are going to come out alright.

However, there's a lot you can never plan for. Notably, the dreaded light leak. This happens when the lens and camera seals aren't properly aligned, when you're changing a lens super quick and don't wait for the 'click' before you start snapping. Basically light is allowed to come in the lens and distorts because of the angle of entry. Pretty much most of the time, you can't control it 

It can be a cool effect but, as is the downside of film, you only find out about a leak when you get your shots developed and thats never any fun. Over the couple thousand shots I've taken I've had my fair share of photos ruined. However, every now and again..some of them turn out alright..

I did however read about this cool technique called "freelensing" where by you take a lens and don't connect it but hover it in front of the sensor at a specific length to achieve a kind of tilt-shift lens effect. This guy Randy Edwards does it super well. He's just an all round awesome photographer but being creative with those light leaks is mind blowing.

Montréal in Red by Usamah Khan

When my OM-2n stopped working, I found an OM-1 in a great little second shop in Montréal, the corner of St-Urbain and Mont-Royal. These guys are great. One of the few places in the city where you can go and find vintage gear. Whether you're looking for lenses, old leather cases or adaptors its a paradise for film lovers. The guy there told me this interesting fact, apparently Olympus made a whole load of bodies for every OM line but actually didn't make that many lenses. So apart from their "kit" lenses - the 50mm f/1.8, it's actually really hard to find good lenses in working order. I feel lucky that my dad held on to his 55mm f/1.2. A quick eBay search informed me that that can go for $1200..hmm..

Anyway, when I bought the camera he threw in a couple rolls of film, one being this expired Rolliflex film that I put in and decided to shoot with one day. Well..when I developed the roll I was..a little taken aback. To say the least. It was not at all what I was expecting and kinda scary actually. Like a scene out of a Stephen King Novel. More specifically got me thinking about the ending of "Carrie". After the initial shock of going through them I figured some of them actually came out looking pretty cool.

This was a fun reel. I don't know how it would go if I knew it was going to come out this way. Maybe one day I'll try track down some rolls and have some fun with them. I reckon a non-expired roll would be cleaner, the grain was a little out of control, as is with expired film. Was fun though

Street Photography with my new OM-1 by Usamah Khan

The shutter speed dial stopped working on my trusty and lovely OM-2n so outside of bright sunny days, I was having a hard time getting the shots I've been wanting out of it. I decided that since I have a decent few lenses, I'd just pick up another OM body and shoot with that. I found an OM-1 in great condition and have been putting it to use.

The most interesting thing I've found is that I didn't realize how the body makes such a difference. On my OM-2 (my Dad's OM-2) my dad told me about a mod he made in the late 80's that allows for a finer grained less contrast-y image. After a couple of films I've found my OM-1, even with low speed film, end up with more contrast in comparison.

While this has it's downsides, it's been great for some B&W street photo sessions and I had a great one documenting the Portuguese Euro celebration festival.

 

This was a fun day. Maybe one of the few times I finished a whole roll in less than 3 hours..with the cost of development I like to take my time..

I still think my OM-2n is my favourite camera body but the OM-1 has been fun for some sessions where i wanna be a little more rough with it. My OM-G feels a little flimsy and I'm too scared with the OM-2 but the sturdiness and stripped back configuration of the OM-1 has made it my go to for when I'm running out the door. If you can find one with a 50mm f/1.8 you'll honestly have a great time. Speaking of which, the focusing rings on those lenses feel great. In fact, compared to my 55mm f/1.2 in that regard I like it a whole lot. Funny how these things work