Over the summer my husband bought a film camera. He’d seen a video for it on youtube and then immediately went looking for it online. Because it was a Japanese made camera most of the ebay listings were from Japan with one exception. There’s a sort of “junk” or “thrift” shop about 20 minutes from us and less than five minutes from his parents’ house. One of the ebay listings was from that shop. He called and they confirmed it was still available so he went out and bought it for roughly 25% less than all the ones abroad. It’s in excellent condition and for the rest of the year we’ve been taking the tiny rangefinder camera out on trips.

It’s an Olympus Pen EE. It was the first fully automatic exposure camera for 35mm half-frame ever made. What makes it so unique is the circle around the lens in the photo above is a solar-powered light meter – a selenium cell. The light meter does all the exposure adjustments and even lets you know when there’s too much or too little light because a tiny red flag shows up in the viewfinder. It’s best for outdoor photos since ISO range is 10-200 but we’ve managed to get a few good photos with lots of indoor lighting. Gauging aperture distance can be tricky and we’ve had our fair share of blurry photos, but overall we love the little camera and it’s inspired another wave of photography passion from us. When my husband and I first met, we constantly went out with our cameras (Canons at the time) and took tons of photos together. Over time and the convenience of iPhones we stopped using our big bulky DSLRs, but now we’re turning a new leaf. We decided we want to take film photos for all of our vacations and outings going forward. Is it a hassle to go get film and have it made and wait for it? To a degree, yes. But we always love the anticipation of when we get a new roll of film developed and remember the day and moments when we used the camera. Most of the time when I take photos with my iPhone I rarely look at them again. Snap taken. Done. But since we got this camera I’ve been constantly going back and looking at the photos multiple times. There’s something really enchanting about the film grain that makes the memories that much more special. I’ve posted some of the photos we took on instagram, but here is a sampler of some both of us took on several outings and around the house.

We have another two rolls of film to develop and soon we’ll have many more because my husband bought me a Nikon FE 35mm film camera for xmas. He got me two lenses to use with it and while it’s much heavier than the easy little Olympus, I’m really looking forward to playing with it.

What surprised me when using the film camera was the fact that I had to be so much more conscious of the camera settings. I think most people take for granted the ease of use of modern digital cameras, let alone our phones that automatically expose everything. With the Olympus, we had to constantly be aware of where the aperture setting was for what we wanted to photograph. It’ll be even more challenging using a manual SLR camera like the Nikon, but I feel like I’m ready to turn off the autopilot my brain has been on over the past several years and really focus on what I’m doing.

This idea of doing things more intentionally or analogue style has seeped into many other areas of my life over 2022.

I started writing with fountain pens again, after a near decade break, and I now have a small but adequate beautiful collection of pens and inks. I’ve been testing out various kinds of paper and realized while I really like Tomoe River paper, I love Apica paper. Midori paper is also really good. I’ve collected several notebooks and found writing again to be more cathartic and therapeutic than anything else I could’ve done for my mental health.

I’m also on the pour-over coffee band wagon. But then again, I’ve always been rather analogue with my coffee. We don’t known an electric coffee maker. I have a Bialetti Moka espresso maker I’ve had for years, but nowadays I crave some good pour-over. After measuring out the beans I grind my coffee every morning with a manual burr grinder. I use a small Hario glass funnel on a Hario carafe. For a long while I was using paper filters, but found that Hario also makes fabric ones that fit their size 2 funnels perfectly. So that’s what I bought and I’m now not wasting so much paper. I rinse off the fabric filter each night and it’s dry by morning for the next use. It is stained quite a bit now, but that’s something I find endearing about it.

Another analogue love that came back into my life was reading physical books. When we moved from the city into this house I donated or sold the majority of my book collection because it was too dang heavy to move, took up a lot of boxes and most of them I didn’t feel like reading anymore. Besides, I had several e-readers on my phone and an iPad with several books on it. Over the years I’ve found I’ve read fewer and fewer books because in an effort to not use digital devices so much I inadvertently stopped reading as well. That changed this year when I started paying attention more to what kinds of books I wanted to surround myself with and whether or not I’d want to re-read them again. There have been some dud purchases, but overall I’ve found several books that I know I’ll want to revisit.

This was also the year of shopping for me. I spent a stupid amount of money in the beginning of the year and calmed down quite a bit in the second half. My favorite buys were from a Japanese brand called evam eva and I have one last parcel of clothes supposedly arriving today (if DHL delivery text can be trusted – the package sat still in Cincinnati for over a week). I’ve fallen in love with knitwear of all kinds and the items from EE are my absolute favorite. The linen pants I bought were my summer loungers and the knit linen/cotton/silk shirts worked perfectly for hot days as well as cooler autumn days.

2023 will be a year of frugality. I know I’ve generally sucked at doing No Buys in the past, but something sorta clicked with me at the end of this year so maybe I’ll exhibit more will power next year. I’m allowing myself little things like a roll of film here and there because I want to flex my photography muscles again. I also joined a membership for books so I’m allowing myself one book a month since I get a discount on them anyway. I’m staying away from clothes for now but may allow shoes if the need arises. The majority of my shoe collection are barefoot style and the soles on some brands wear out rather quickly so some replacements may be necessary.

Are you making any major changes in 2023? Overall, I’m going to put a greater focus on my health again. I miss having all the strength I did several years ago when I was weight lifting so I’ve been starting a routine for that already this week. I figured I’d get the DOMS out of the way now so I can be more steady with my routine when the new year starts. Aside from that I want to take more photos, enjoy writing with my pens, and read a lot more books.


2 thoughts on “Analogue”

  1. Happy new year to you! Your adventures with your Olympus have really inspired me…my husband’s sister has an old Olympus SLR that she no longer wants, and I’m planning to get it repaired and tuned up and try my hand at film photography. Shopping wise…I would love to do an no-buy but my wardrobe is missing a few things after I cleared stuff that was too small or worn out, so I’m hoping to make some smart winter purchases (I’m in the Southern Hemisphere so winter starts around July) in the sales.

    In the last 3 months of 2022, I managed to get a good yoga routine going, and I hope to continue on that streak this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice! Hopefully you can get the camera working and have fun with it. We just dropped off 2 rolls of film yesterday so more excitement builds up each time for me. I wonder if some of the more experimental photos I took with different settings will work out. Sometimes I feel like it’s a crap shoot because I’m not too well versed in all the specifics of aperture and shutter speed. I’d say my knowledge is rudimentary at best, but I still like to experiment.

      Congrats on the yoga routine! I wanted to start off strong and began doing some weight lifting at the end of 2022 but my cycle kinda put a damper on things this week. I’m hoping to bounce back next week though.


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