Tag Archives: “Key West”

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 😉


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 🙂


Key West iPhoneography

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because I’ve been gearing up for my brother’s wedding in Key West, which took place a week ago today. What a fantastic place! My husband Jake and I were last there in 1997 and it really hasn’t changed a whole lot. I took a bunch of film with me, including some Revolog and Velvia. I used my Holga during the wedding, loaded with black and white film, so that I could capture the little moments that the professional photographer may have missed. Don’t get me wrong, his work is beautiful, but when you look through the lens of a toy camera you see things a little differently.

As soon as we landed at the airport, the snapping commenced. These are Hipstamatic with Susie Lens and Cano Cafenol film.

Roosters, chickens and cats rule the island. It’s amazing that they all co-exist peacefully, but then again, it is Key West.

John S Lens, Pistil Film

Loftus Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film

Key West doesn’t take itself too seriously, as evidenced by these funny and artful signs.

John S Lens, Pistil Film

Tejas Lens, Ina’s 1969 film

Americana Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film

Loftus Lens, Ina’s 1969 FIlm

John S Lens, Pistil Film

Loftus Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film

 The Menu @ Pepe’s…Free Pickles for Pregnant Women!     John S Lens, Pistil Film

Also @ Pepe’s…Steak Smothered in Pork Chops….what? Who does that?

James M Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film

We were there, of course, to celebrate my brother’s wedding to his high school sweetheart, April. Here are a few people shots of the wedding and afterwards.

Tejas Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film…….First Dance

Tejas Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film…..April and her Dad, who is talking to April’s daughter. You can see her eyes peeking out behind April’s shoulder

Tejas Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film……Singing with the band, Sweet Leda

One of my favorite shots of the night on Duval Street

Julie getting ready for an acoustic set….John S Lens, Alfred Infrared Film

There was a lot of beauty to behold in Key West, along with the weirdness…..and lots of stray shopping carts.

John S Lens, Alfred Infrared Film

John S Lens, Alfred Infrared Film

John S Lens, Pistil Film….This was in someone’s backyard

Susie Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film

 Susie Lens and Cano Cafenol film

John S Lens, Pistil Film

I had such a blast with friends old and new. If you ever get the chance to take a trip to Key West, run, don’t walk to the plane. I’m hoping 15 more years won’t pass by before my next trip.


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