Tag Archives: lomography

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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Time Traveling the Hipstamatic Way

Hipstamatic’s new Tintype SnapPak has me feeling like I’ve taken a trip back to the early days of photography. It’s Tinto lens gives a selective focus that can be haunting and beautiful, especially when combined with either the D-Type or C-Type film filters.

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This newest pack gives your pictures the look of an old tin-type photo. It’s fun to see modern subjects juxtaposed with the antique format.

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James M lens, C-Type Plate film

I used my favorite new combo one foggy day in Annapolis, MD and got some beautiful, moody shots around City Dock and the Naval Academy.

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Today we took a cold walk on the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park. Here are some of those images.

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Currently, I’m in the middle of editing some Revolog film pictures I took in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m going to post them very soon. My spring semester starts in a few days and I’ll soon be back to studying and writing.


A Personal Tour of the Photo Palace Bus

“I smell a Smena 8”: those were the first words I heard from Anton Orlov as he emerged from the darkroom of The Photo Palace bus. Yes, THE Photo Palace bus of Kickstarter fame. You’ll recall, Anton and his former partner in this photographic adventure were raising money to take the bus around the country, putting on workshops and spreading the word that analogue photography is NOT dead. The Kickstarter project did not raise enough money and Anton’s original partner Ryan Kalem moved on, but the Photo Palace bus is touring the country, nonetheless.

My family was visiting Salem, MA, just like we do every year, as part of our annual summer vacation to New England. After a great lunch at Salem Beer Works, we turned a corner near the Peabody Essex Museum (which is currently hosting an Ansel Adams exhibit) and spotted the familiar shape and color of a school bus. It took me two seconds to realize it was the Photo Palace Bus and another minute to actually believe I was seeing it in person. I broke away from my family and explained it was a bit of photo geekery that I had to experience for myself. Fortunately, my oldest daughter Phoebe was just as excited.

After spying my Smena 8, Anton explained it was one of the first cameras he’d owned. After showing him my other camera, the Olympus XA4, I had to get a photo with the man who was responsible for this mobile monument to photography. It’s not the most flattering picture of my mid-section, especially considering I’m training for a triathlon, but I was so excited!

Anton had travelled from Maine, where a witch told him he needed to come to Salem. Check out his blog post about his Salem experience and you’ll see what a great adventure he had. Our personal tour of Gilli began in the darkroom, located in the rear. Anton covered the back windows with a very well-designed fabric and wood contraption that allows him to display pictures through the windows as well as block out all the light. Here is his printing area.

Three metal trays sit in a large plastic sink, supplied with water from 75 gallon tanks mounted beneath it all. Next, he busted out some insane glasses that were a cross between bifocals and a jeweler’s loupe. These he uses when hand coloring his prints.

Anton’s two enlargers are opposite the sink.

There’s also a door on the back right side of the bus, which is a good thing because it was HOT in that little room. Back in the main part of the bus it was revealed that a sink and stove were hidden beneath a table displaying old cameras and prints.

Near this area is a cabinet that holds a few batteries. There are others beneath the bus. They can’t be stowed in the main are because, in Anton’s words “they leak hydrogen”.

A little transistor radio perched atop a beautiful wooden table supplied some background music. The tabletop came from a guitar manufacturing place and the little Polaroid radio runs on the battery pack from the film cartridge.

My unexpected discovery of the Photo Palace bus was one of the highlights of my vacation. It was a thrill to meet Anton and see what he’s done to Gilli. Lots of folks visited the bus while I was there and to see them get excited about Polaroids and old film cameras was really cool.

Many people from the Peabody Essex were there as well. One man was giving out cards advertising a project called  “A Year of Photography”, in which you can participate via their website. It’s worth checking out.

Anton was so friendly and answered all my questions with enthusiasm. I’ll continue to follow his adventures and who knows? Maybe I’ll run into again in another part of the country.


Is That a Light Saber or Revolog Lazer?

One of the staples of the Structure line of handmade films from Revolog, Lazer will give your pictures a touch of science fiction fabulosity, as if Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were staging a light saber duel inside your camera. Dazzling green lines appear randomly throughout your roll of film. The effect is more subtle in over exposed shots and brighter in properly and under exposed frames.

Here’s the Lazer effect on an accidentally taken-in-my-photo-bag shot. I never intend to do this, but it’s fun to see the effects in their naked form (so to speak).

One of the first shots on this roll of film is also one of my favorites. Not only did I get a little light leaking, but I got a great green line. This roll was taken in my Smena 8.

I love the look of Lazer in my shots without people.

It’s not as nice through someone’s face, but it’s still interesting.

The first shots on this roll were taken at Playland, the amusement park on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. It’s one of my favorite places to take photos because it’s just so loud and colorful and crazy.

In this double exposure shot you can see a faint light green line on the right side.

This long exposure carousel shot also shows the green line on the right side of the photo.

Overall, I’m digging Lazer, although for shots of people, I’d prefer another roll of Revolog film, like Tesla or Volvox. With Lazer, you can go for an overall ironic look to your photographs, like taking shots of a Civil War Re-enactment with Lazer. Better yet would be to take pictures of a sword fight at a Renaissance Festival with Lazer. Now that would be something!

Yes, that’s a bacon-wrapped beer bottle on the cover of that magazine


Taste the Rainbow with Revolog Kolor

Revolog’s Kolor film adds rainbow hues to your pictures, giving them an extra dimension of beauty.

I love how the color shading turns an otherwise hum-drum picture into a thing of beauty. Kolor comes in 36 exposure rolls (love!!). Each frame’s coloring will be slightly different with hues in all shades of the rainbow. These shots, taken at a minor league baseball game, just happened to be shaded green, which really accentuated the color of the seats and field.

Unfortunately, Rite Aid didn’t do a very good job with this film. There were tiny little dots all over the negatives. At first, I thought my scanner was just incredibly dusty, but I think it’s little droplets of residue.

According to their website, the color shading will be more intense in areas of under exposure, making this the perfect film for toy cameras or any other fixed-aperture camera in which under exposure can be easily achieved.

This roll was taken in my Olympus XA4, so I had full control of aperture and shutter speed. Next time, it’s going into my Vivtar UWS or La Sardina.

Once again, I’m thrilled with Revolog’s handmade films. They may be expensive, but they’re worth it. Turning drab memories into a technicolor dream, Kolor can make your film look like it was taken in a leaky camera or cross-processed, all on the same roll. What other tool in your analogue arsenal can claim that statement?


Running In the Mud and Taking Photos

In April, Team Will Run For Beer conquered the second annual Mud Run in Milton, Delaware and I was there, not only as part of the team but also as the official team photographer. I took my cheap underwater camera with me to document as much of the shenanigans as possible. It was no easy feat running with my silly little camera, but none of my friends were surprised that I decided to bring one of my “crazy cameras”. Here are a few pre-race shots.

This ultra light kept buzzing the pre-race crowd

Leah ran the kids Mud Run. Her sister Ella probably thought she was a little crazy.

Another team of kid runners

 I was really talking up the Mud Run this year at work, telling everyone how much fun we had last year. There are lots runners in Delaware, so I didn’t have any problem recruiting people. Here are some shots of the suckers who decided to run this year.

Ashley, on the right in the green shirt, ran with our team. She does Zumba but doesn’t run (poor girl). Kathy is on the left.

Gene runs and does sprint triathlons, so he was “in it to win it”. I told him we were “in it to finish it…for the beer”

Pam and Lisa ran as “The Skidmarks”.Pam (on the left) even got her two nephews to run the race, too.

As you can imagine, a mud run can make you pretty messy. Here’s a shot of our shoes before the run.

Before we started the race, we decided a show of team solidarity was in order. We stacked hands and on the count of three, yelled “Beer”!

After that, it was off to the first obstacle, a large, muddy hill.

The woods hid some messy obstacles. We dodged low-hanging tree branches and waded through sometimes thigh-deep water. There were also some mucky spots where a few shoes were lost. We slogged our way through with smiles on our faces and thoughts of the post-race celebration in our minds.

Once out of the woods we had to climb over and through lots of things, including hay bales, tires, large drainage ditch tubes and a maze. There were a few spots where we had to wait in line, so I was able to get some more crazy shots. This one is of me and my husband. We’re not terribly messy, so it must be pretty early on in the race.

After this series of ditches, I had to put the camera down until the finish line. It was just too damn hard doing an army crawl through muddy pudding with a camera strapped to my hand. Fast-forward to the finish line!

Even Ashley finished the race. I wasn’t sure my little Zumba friend was going to do it, but she’s a trooper. Jake met her with a can of beer. He was the brewski ambassador, handing out a brew to friends who looked like they were in need, like our friend Russ, in this shot.

We had a blast at the mud run and while it was fun getting stupid shots this year, I don’t think I’ll be running with the camera next year. Go Beer!


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 😉


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