Olympus XA Feature Image
5 frames with...

5 frames with an Olympus XA, Kodak Gold 200 and COVID-19 – By Davis Poon

October 22, 2020

After COVID-19 hit Canada, forced my university online and sent me back home in March, like everyone else I found myself having lots of time at home but not much to do. Early on I found myself doing anything to keep active, and one of those things was biking. Convenient enough, I had just acquired an Olympus XA which fit perfectly in my pocket! As I biked around my hometown with a 35mm compact and a roll of Kodak Gold, I wanted to document how COVID has shaken up the community. All these photos were DSLR scanned and edited by myself in Lightroom, which is why the colours might not be perfect!

The first picture is of a mini playground at my friend’s complex. It was the first time I noticed the yellow caution tape around anything because of COVID, something I’d see a lot of later on.

Taped off mini playground

The second picture is at the bridge entrance of a little fishing village at the edge of my city. A little unknown and really quirky, this is a great hidden photo spot. Usually we’d be able to cross the bridge and walk by all the houses, but not in today’s age.

Closed off bridge

The last three pictures were taken during one of the first few times I met up with friends after coming back. I met some friends at our usual spot – our old elementary school, although this time was different. Aside from only being able to sit and talk in lawn chairs six feet apart, the playgrounds and fields were all taped up. Everything was a little surreal when I took these.

Basketball hoop with piece of wood

Taped off slide

Taped off big playground

Overall, I’m really happy with how the images came out. This was my second roll and first time shooting colour out of the Olympus XA, and I think it performed great. As someone who loves rangefinders and manual controls but wanted something easier to shoot than my M2, I found that the XA has a perfect balance between manual and automatic features. Kodak Gold shot at +1 also gave some pretty pleasant colours, not bad for a cheap film!

As to the pictures themselves, it is crazy to see the effect COVID has had on our everyday lives. While I’m glad we’ve been able to (sort-of) adapt so far, I know that there is still a long time until we can go back to the old “normal”.

Thanks for reading!

Davis Poon

My Portfolio

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Dana Brigham
    October 22, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Davis — thank you for sharing. I prefer the “do it yourself” cameras — older 35mm SLRs and rangefinders, but I also have a lot of classic, plastic (and bakelite) pseudo-TLR cameras — glorified box cameras. The point-and-shoots of their day — and sometimes it can be relaxing to not focus on figuring out the exposure, and often even the focus, and just take the shot. And if it isn’t perfect — well, blame it on the camera not having enough options!!! 🙂 Glad that you have found ways to deal with the pandemic and stay healthy. Getting out is a good thing, and documenting some of the “I never thought that I would see that” changes for yourself and family — and future generations, is like the old family photos from 100 years ago where often what is most interesting is not so much the people, but their surroundings at that time. Ta!

    • Reply
      Davis Poon
      October 22, 2020 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Dana, hope you enjoyed the post! I prefer fully manual cameras as well, but sometimes its nice to not have to think 🙂

  • Reply
    Paul
    October 22, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Wow what a small world. I read your article (nice job BTW) but what surprised me was when I followed the link to your portfolio. Looking through the Sports photos I first spotted the Western volleyball uniforms so I looked further. Both of my daughters are Western grads and the Women’s vball coach is a primary and high school friend of my oldest daughter and her parents are acquaintances. I spotted her in the background coaching and a couple frames later I spotted her dad on the sideline assisting. I sent the link to her mom “Hey i randomly spotted pics of your kid on a British web site!! 🙂

    BTW – I would love to find an XA.

    • Reply
      Davis Poon
      October 22, 2020 at 6:11 pm

      Crazy small world! I’ve shot sports for Western the past couple years, cool to see a bit of the community on this page.

      Would highly recommend the XA, I originally bought it to try it out and resell (got it for $40 with the flash!), but ended up liking it too much…

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