Tag Archives: Holga

Neon Signs through Plastic

A tour of the Neon Museum in Las Vegas was the first reservation I booked when I found out my husband was taking me to Sin City for my birthday. Located off the strip, it’s home to many iconic neon and electric signs from Vegas’ sparkly past. The goal of the museum is to preserve these beautiful signs and tell the story of historic Vegas. In addition to the signs on their property, the Neon Museum has restored and placed a handful of vintage pieces throughout the downtown area.

I knew my Holga with Fuji slide film would be the perfect medium for capturing these relics and I was not disappointed.

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The beautiful vignetting and crisp center focus of the plastic lens provided all the drama I wanted. I should really call this post “A love letter to my Holga and Neon Signs” because I can’t imagine a more perfect combination of film and subject.

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As our tour guide explained the rich and fascinating history of neon signs in Vegas, I and a few other photographers snapped away. I had my Holga, Fed 5 and iPhone while they sported fancy DSLRs. My husband was my patient and faithful assistant, holding empty spools as I furiously rewound my camera and reloaded film.

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I also got some fantastic shots using my vintage Fed 5 and Lomography Tungsten film, but nothing compares to this roll. Holga, I love you!!!

If you’re ever in Las Vegas, the Neon Museum is a MUST SEE!! While you capture some fantastic pictures you’ll also be learning some history and helping this group preserve a dying art form.

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Trippy Key West, or How Toy Cameras Made My Pictures Extra Special

Key West is a crazy place, but how do you capture the essence of the insanity? Through a plastic lens and some crazy film, of course.

The view while floating on my back in the pool where we were staying. I miss that palm tree. Shot with Holga on Kodak Tmax 400iso.

Our favorite coffee shop in KW

While I was in Key West I did a little experimentation with double and long exposures, as well as with Revolog’s Tesla II and Rasp films. My results were trippy, mind-warping goodness. These toy camera shots not only show you the sights, they really capture the essence of Key West.

I own two Holgas and they each take very different pictures. The Holga I brought to KW was my zebra-striped special, which has a lens that fuzzes out a lot of the periphery of my pictures. Look at the first picture in this post, the palm tree. You can see the softness all along the borders of the photo, giving it a very dreamy quality. Floating beneath that tree in the pool, enjoying the cool water, was very relaxing and tranquil, a mood that is captured perfectly in this Holga picture.

Let’s start our tripped-out tour of Key West with some black and white Holga shots from my brother’s wedding.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was HOT! The sultry air made everyone feel a little lazy. Add some beer and tequila to the mix and the world became a little soft and fuzzy. The Holga plus black and white film brings that mood to these pictures.

I really love using the Holga for long-exposure shots at weddings because it captures the energy of the day, as it does in the long exposure shots of my brother Jim and his wife April, as they cut their cake.

The two shots at the railing by the water are especially sweet. They show Lexi, April’s daughter (and my new niece) gazing out at the sea, one with a friend Shane and the other, all by herself. Check out the clouds…all zoomy and funny looking at the edges.

Next, we’ll move onto some shots made trippy by the film I used. You’ve seen a couple of these shots before, but bear with me. The first two are taken on Revolog Tesla II and show April and Jimmy with lightning bolts.

It’s great when the random special effects on this film show up in just the right areas. Next, a couple taken on Revolog Rasp. The first is very underexposed, the second is just phenomenal.

The textures of Rasp add a funkiness to these shots that I just love.

Back to shots from my Holga, which has a tendency to wind film in a wonky manner, causing some overlapping. First, you’ll see the two pictures separately, then all together.

We’ll finish up with some of the weirdest shots on the roll. I tried for some intentional double exposures, which turned out okay, but when the film was exposed to light as I unloaded it from the camera, these shots became magic.

The background is of a fence with a sign that reads “No Parking Unless Snow Depth Exceeds 2 inches”

Long exposure of a British phone booth in someone’s backyard

Trippy scooter

Sailing off into the great unknown

as my husband put it, “sailing through tide and times”

Toy cameras are the perfect medium for a funky place like Key West. I will never go anywhere eclectic without my Holga and some film. I do love the iPhone photos I took, but once again, film gave my pictures a depth and character that I couldn’t have achieved otherwise. Thanks for virtual tripping with me ;)


Holga Microclicks

I’ve been wanting to try microclicks for a long time and I finally got around to doing it earlier this year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this technique, microclicks is a way of making an overlapping panoramic shot in a Holga or Diana. You aim the camera at your subject, take a picture and instead of winding to the next frame you just wind it 3 or 4 clicks and take another shot. Make sure you turn about 20 degrees every few shots and eventually you’ll have a dreamy panoramic picture that spans the width of 2 to 3 frames of medium format film or, if you choose, you can make the entire roll into one large panoramic photo.

For this roll I used my Holga with Ilford’s Super XP2, iso 400 and a yellow filter. If you’re doing this in sunny situations, a filter will be necessary to counteract any overexposure. As you can see in this first shot, taken at the Philly Art Museum, the yellow filter didn’t really help. I was trying to take a shot of the outside of the building from the Rocky Steps.

Oh well. Here are a couple more photos from that day.

Long exposure of a window in the museum’s cafe

 

 I did make some successful microclicks when I took my Holga and yellow filter to the beach.

I’m very happy with these results! I got these by aiming, clicking, advancing the film 4 clicks and turning slightly after each advancement of the film. Next time, I’ll only advance the film 2 or 3 clicks and make a slight turn every 3 or 4 shots. It’s a really fun technique.

Here are two non-microclick pictures from our beach day. The yellow filter really makes for wonderful contrast in these pictures. I’m going to have to start using it more often.


2011 World Toy Camera Day

World Toy Camera Day is always a fantastically fun day for me. Not only is it a great excuse to use any of my cameras, but it’s also the same day as the party of the year in my neck of the woods. My great friends hold their annual Lakeview Invitational Lawn Tractor Race, which is a little poke at the culture in our area, mixed with Halloween costumes and the biggest drinking game on wheels (don’t worry, we only stick to the lawn).

Riders are in teams of two and must be in costume. First person chugs a twelve ounce beverage of their choice, then does one lap around the house. When they get to pit row, the second rider chugs a beverage and hops on until each rider has completed three laps. So that the chugging is the element of speed (so to speak), there is a qualifying round in which the judges take your tractor for one lap to determine your start time, which is staggered so the slowest riders go first. After the race, there’s a wicked Cornhole tournament, then a poker game.

This year’s winners, The Flintstones, with the coveted trophy

The Ref and Fred

I was the Queen of the Tractor Races

Flo the Progressive Car Insurance lady and the Utz Girl

My daughter Phoebe on our borrowed sweet ride

My other daughter Zoe as a Dead Lalaloopsie Doll—she always dresses as something dead

Gorton’s Fisherman and Jolly Green Giant discuss the details

Sarah and Zoe

Favorite shot of the day—Flashing the woods

My husband Jake, dressed as the “One Percent” who’s rich in the USA

Phoebe’s Glamour Pirate Shot

Assessing the Cornhole bracket

Cornhole overlapping shot

All shots were taken with my Holga on Fuji slide film that was cross-processed.


Overlapping Goodness

I have been using my Holga without either the 12 or 16 frame mask and getting some really nice results. I love the exaggerated vignetting and light leaks that occurred on every picture. These pictures all come from The Art of Waiting roll from September 2010, shot on Fuji Velvia.

I also got some really nice overlapping pictures. I don’t remember if these were intentional or not, but they’re still really cool. Here’s one example.

The two shots just bleed right into each other. I really like it. Here are the shots separately. I don’t think they are nearly as interesting.

Here are a few more overlapped shots shown together and then singly.

Unlike the first example, I think these two pictures stand well on their own

This was on the end of the roll. The shot on the left is pretty underexposed so it doesn’t stand well on it’s own.

Here is my favorite overlap on the roll…

…and the two pictures separately, which I think stand pretty well on their own.

I love happy little accidents. I’m going to have it printed and see what it looks like ‘for real’.

Tomorrow I’m going to Philadelphia to see the Van Gogh exhibit. I’m taking the Fuji Natura Classica and am hoping for some good photo ops.


Holga Lens Filter for iPhone

Using my iPhone for pictures just got 100 times more fun with the addition of the Holga Special Lens & Turret Filter for iPhone 4.

As you can see, it fits on the back of your iPhone just like a case. It offers no protection whatsoever, so you must be very careful while using it, but the array of special effects lenses is worth the danger. You can choose from these filters:

Red Heart

Orange

Yellow with a hole in the middle

Green (makes you look like a ghost hunter!)

Blue with a hole in the middle

Double lens

Triple lens

Quad Lens

Macro lens

…and the last hole on the dial is so you can take regular pictures.

This thing is so much fun. I spent a lot of Thanksgiving taking funky pictures of all the happenings around my house. I think it’s especially fun to use the filters with an app, like Hipstamatic. Check these out…

At only $30 USD from the Four Corners Store, it’s a great (and affordable) tool to add to your iPhoneography kit.


Aikido on the Beach: A Lesson In Acceptance

One of my closest friends, Mike, practices Aikido, a form of martial arts, and was kind enough to invite me and my family along when his group was training on the beach. I was thrilled to capture the group’s flowing motions, stark uniforms and weaponry against a backdrop of sand and surf. Since Mike also appreciates the lo-fi aesthetic I was ready to capture some beautiful black and white images with my Holga and maybe print a few for him. But, as often happens in the toy camera world, that’s not exactly how things worked out. I made a totally amateur mistake when I forgot to check if the shutter was set to “Bulb” instead of “Normal” (you can see where this is going now, can’t you?).

Big fat whoops on my part. I really wished these pictures had actually been in focus. Somehow, I did get a shot of the group that came out really nicely.

It probably wouldn’t have been much sharper had I had it on the Normal setting. In retrospect, even though the shots didn’t come out the way I planned, I really like them. The motions look ethereal and ancient, which I feel reflects some of the character of the martial arts. Also, the sun was going down at the time and the bulb setting gave me the light I needed for a decent exposure.

Before I take a shot with any toy camera, I often follow the advice given to me by a photographer when I was a kid: Hold your breath, then press the button. That advice certainly saved some of these photos from being completely disastrous.

Then there are these last two shots. After I got home and realized my mistake I fired off these last two shots. The first is of four circles of roofing nails. They’d be much cooler in macro mode, but I seem to have misplaced my diopter, so this is what I got.

And finally, my wonderful children showing their love for each other at the dinner table….


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