Tag Archives: 35mm

Throwing Lighting with Revolog Tesla 2

I love what I have to share with you today because not only are these pictures from Key West, but they’re on Revolog’s Tesla 2 film. I love Revolog’s films because they add another layer of unpredictability to my photos, creating a little surprise in each frame. This was my first time using Tesla 2 and it’s my new favorite Revolog film, for sure.

With Tesla 2, reddish lighting bolts appear in random places within your picture, kind of like this.

How fun is that? You can channel your inner wizard/mad scientist, like my brother did in this picture.

I used my Lomography La Sardina for this roll, which in retrospect may not have been the best camera for the job. The focus is SO touchy! If you’re not in exactly the right place, your pictures will be fuzzy, and not in a good way. I brought this camera because of the bulb setting and ability to make multiple exposures but I think my Vivitar UWS would have been a better choice. With it’s fixed focus, I wouldn’t have had the problems I did with the La Sardina.

I’m not sure what the trick to getting bright lighting bolts to appear is, but I’m willing to spend more money and play around with the Tesla 2 to figure it out. Here’s what the film looks like when the picture is black. I’m unsure of what happened to this frame. Possibly, the shutter was tripped accidentally in my bag?

I love it!! Freaky cool, isn’t it?

It seems to me the more underexposed the picture is, the better the lightning shows up. More lighting also shows up in the darker places of each photo.

In these pictures, which are exposed properly or don’t have many dark places, it’s tougher to see the lightning.

These two pictures were long exposures. Much like the properly exposed film, the lighting effects are more subtle.

Because Hannah and Michael, the creators of Revolog film, produce each roll by hand, the effects are totally random, so there’s no full-proof way of framing your shot to maximize each film’s characteristic. To me, that’s the fun part of it all.

Once again, Revolog has wowed me. I love the subtle effects of Tesla 2. Because I was taking pictures of an already beautiful place, the lightning didn’t detract from my subjects. Instead, my pictures received a little injection of humor and surprise. I only wish it came in frames with 36 rolls instead of just 12 🙂


Fuji Natura Classica Review

The Fuji Natura Classica is a small, 35mm film camera that boasts the ability to take pictures in low light without flash. When loaded with 1600 iso film, the Natura Classica’s shutter speed is very fast in challenging light situations, which eliminates the inevitable blurry subjects that appear after attempting to hold the camera still for a long exposure shot. After waiting a few years to get my hand on this fancy little camera I can honestly say that I am not disappointed.

It’s price, around $300, is pretty steep for a point and shoot film camera so I attempted to order one from the Lomography Society with piggy points, however they were sold out when I finally accumulated enough, so I purchased one from eBay instead. The price of this camera has come down a little bit in the past year or two, so if you’re looking for one eBay is a good place to start. Mine arrived very quickly from Japan and when I opened the instructions I discovered they were written only in Japanese. A search of the internet turned up this page from Moominsean’s blog that was extremely helpful. While it appears there’s no English version of the manual (because the camera was originally available for sale in Japan exclusively) his blog contains a translation of some very important steps. The writing on my camera’s buttons are in English, thank goodness. I know a couple of non-Japanese speaking photographers who have the version of this camera with Japanese writing on the buttons which would look pretty cool, but would be another layer of frustration.

Initial impressions of this little camera are that it is very lightweight, almost cheap-feeling. Kudos to the Fuji folks for including batteries for the camera in the package (a lithium CR2 3volt). The lens (f 2.8 to 5.4) goes from wide to telephoto (28mm to 56mm) with the push of a lever. My lens action was smooth and very quiet, but not as quiet as the actual click of the shutter and advancing of the film, which are virtually noiseless. It’s like a stealthy little spy camera.

I used 800 iso Fuji color negative film for my first roll since it was the fastest film I had in my supply. These first few pictures were taken in my kitchen and living room in the evening.

Overall, the pictures aren’t bad at all considering I’m not using 1600 speed. When I zoomed in to focus on the orchids in the top picture a little red light kept flashing when I depressed the shutter halfway, which I thought meant the picture was out of focus but clearly my subject is not blurry.

Next, we took a trip to the local big box hardware store.

Wow! I know this lighting would have totally confused a normal camera. I’ve tried taking pictures in this store with a 35mm point and shoot before and have gotten crappy results. These were outstanding.

On New Year’s Eve my little camera went on a trip to Bethany Beach.

The sun was hiding just behind the building in this shot, throwing the surfer (all decked out for NYE) into dark shadows.

Behind the counter of a diner. Sun was streaming in to the left so the scene was partly lit with natural light. I love that there’s no icky green-ish tint here from the fluorescent lighting. I got that weird blinking red light again when I was taking this shot. I’m beginning to think that it’s not a matter of focus but of being in low-light picture-taking mode or NP as they call it in the manual.

That night I saw one of my favorite bands at a local bar and got some pictures in a really dark setting.

That last shot was outside. I think my results would have been much better with some 1600 speed film but these results still far surpass what I would’ve gotten from an ordinary camera. There is very little blur in the band shots and the detail found in the places with good lighting is amazing.

Finally, I was anxious to get some pictures outside in full sunlight since I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Natura Classica’s performance in those conditions.

This was the beginning of a 5K that I ran on January 1, 2012. I don’t see anything wrong with these results. Here are some pictures taken from a walk on the beach. I was thrilled to able to capture beautiful images of the inside of a sub lookout tower.

In this dark picture, I was holding the camera out into the space of the tower as far as my arm would allow since you can’t actually climb into the towers. The only available light inside the tower comes from the slits that line it’s sides. I got much better results by keeping the camera close to the side of the tower and therefore, closer to the light. This is pretty much the same picture but with much better exposure and detail at the top.

Overall, I am hugely impressed by the Fuji Natura Classica. I love taking pictures without flash partly because I suck at using a flash and partly because I just love natural lighting. If you are the same kind of photographer the Fuji Natura Classica is well worth the investment. I failed to mention earlier that the camera does come with a flash that you can turn on and off in the menu but with results like these, who needs one?


Love La Sardina

Lomography’s La Sardina is a great looking camera. I love my Marathon and the way the olive drab colored case is decorated with graphic prints that make this simple camera look like a sardine case. So, do I love how this camera takes pictures? The answer is a resounding yes.

Let’s start off with the basics. La Sardina is a 35mm camera with a rather wide 21mm lens that gives you an 89-degree look at your world (wow!). The aperture is a fixed f/8, which is relatively large in the toy camera world (the majority of plastic cameras have f/16 or higher making it necessary to use them only in bright sunlight). Two shutter speeds are available, bulb and normal (1/100). I love this feature in toy cameras and find it almost a necessity because of their tiny apertures. Here are some long-exposure shots.

It’s also possible to create multiple exposures with just a flick of a switch.

There’s a film counter on top and a window on the back door to view information on the film canister. This often-overlooked detail is huge because in many plastic cams it’s impossible to tell what kind of film (if any) is loaded in the camera. If you’re anything like me you’ve exposed many frames of film to direct light while opening the back of the camera to check what’s inside.

The La Sardina is one of the easiest rewinding cameras around. The process is simple and fast PLUS your film is always left with a bit of the leader exposed, making it much easier to shoot a doubles roll with your favorite photography buddies.

Also included on the body of the camera are a cable release connection, tripod screw mount and the ability to attach an external flash.

Now, enough about aesthetics, how does it take pictures? I have found that, like many wide-angle lens cameras, the closer I am to the subject the better the picture. Here are some shots of far away action

And close up

Since the closest focusing distance is 0.6 meters (roughly 3 feet) you can stay pretty close to the action and get some nice shots but only if you remember to set the focusing ring to the appropriate setting. The one drawback to the La Sardina is its two-step focusing system. There are three distances to choose from: 0.6m, 1 meter and infinity. It is important that you set the right distance on the camera otherwise your subject will be out of focus. I found this out the hard way, as you can see from these shots.

With other plastic cameras setting the focusing distance is irrelevant. In fact I don’t even bother with that step when using my Holga. I’m going to have to play with La Sardina a while longer before I figure out it’s optimum focusing distances and that’s OK. The other features of this camera make it a stellar addition to LSI’s line of cameras.


Florida Big and Wide

Before going on any trip the big question is which cameras and films to pack. Sometimes just getting out the door can take an extra 10 minutes as you mull over which tools are the right ones for the job. This was the dilemma I faced as we left for our trip to Florida. Do I bring a Polaroid, Holga, Diana, Vivitar UWS, Action Sampler…..you get the picture. I decided to throw a few small cameras in the bag, thinking I wouldn’t want to be carrying anything too heavy or bulky, so I took my Smena 8, Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim (UWS), Holga and my fabulous cardboard pinhole creation. It turned out to be the right combination!

I would HIGHLY recommend taking the Vivitar UWS (or any camera that has the ability to catch wide shots) if you’re planning on going someplace larger-than-life, like Disney World. I got some GREAT shots! The only drawback is the fact that you must use the camera in bright sunlight however, our week was filled with PLENTY of sunny, beautiful days. Here are some of my favorites so far…

Not really sure what happened in this picture or the next one, but I like the swirly effects!


Another great reason to bring an ultra light, ultra wide camera with you? It’s very easy to use on roller coasters!! I got this shot of my family while riding Thunder Mountain. It’s a little under exposed but I still like it.


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