Tag Archives: philosophy

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


Collage Your Face Off With Frametastic

Since I became an Instagram addict, I’ve been trying many, many new apps, filters and techniques. One of the things I’ve been having fun with is making collages with Frametastic, a free, straightforward, super user-friendly program.

Select from one of the 44 frames available (you get access to most frames, but if you want all access must pay a small fee) and tap on one of the frame sections. To restore the last project you were working on, click on the wheel at the top right.

Selecting a theme will place your work on a background based on six categories: wood, sports, wedding, beach vacation, museum or roses. Here’s an example of the sports theme.

To begin, tap on a section of the frame, then choose from one of the options. Once you’ve chosen your picture, tap on it again and you can choose to magnify it or apply effects. Frametastic’s magnification feature is extremely useful for fine tuning and doesn’t sacrifice clarity. I’ve found it to be one of the best aspects of this program. Here’s a shot of my original photo before and after magnification.

If you want to apply effects, you can choose from an array of filters, including black and white, retro and cinematic. To rotate your picture, click on the circular arrow.

To use the same photo in another frame, tap and hold the picture and choose copy. Go to the square that you want to add the picture, tap and hold, then choose paste.

Lets look at the icons at the bottom of the screen from left to right. The arrows inside the rectangle allow you to choose the format of your collage.

Clicking on the envelope allows you to share your photo. You can save to your phone, some popular social media sites, email or even snail mail, plus you can change the resolution from low to high.

The question mark in the middle will guide you through some of the basics of using Frametastic.

To adjust the borders between photos, choose the frame icon and use the slider to widen or narrow plus, change the color of the border as well.

Finally, click on the square within the circle icon on the bottom right of the screen and you can adjust the corners of your collage.

I really love this program. There are plenty of options to customize your collage without sacrificing quality. A customized frame option would be the only thing I can think of that would improve upon Frametastic but, like I said, there are 44 options to choose from. At the low price of free, Frametastic is a worthy addition to your iPhoneography tool box.


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.


What I Learned From a Bad Roll of Film

Being less-than-thrilled by the results of a film photo shoot is a bummer, but that’s the life of an analogue photographer. When this happens to me I always try to find out a) what went wrong and b) what went right. The results on this roll from my Canon AT-1 are a prime example.

My camera was loaded with Fuji Chrome, iso 100 slide film and had the 28-80mm zoom lens attached. The first few shots of this roll were taken indoors. I tried to do some light painting using Christmas tree lights. I also took a macro-type shot of an orchid.

Both unexciting shots, but they help to tell this story. Next, we went for a walk on the beach. It was a beautiful and unseasonably warm January afternoon. Also on this expedition I took along my Fuji Natura Classica and shot some of the pictures in this blog post. When I didn’t have to worry about light metering with the Fuji, my results were really nice. With my Canon, it was a different story.

I completely forgot there was a light meter on the camera. I suppose that’s what happens when you work with simple cameras most of the time.

The exposure isn’t the greatest on any of these, plus my film must have been expired, which helps to explain the bluish tint. Look at the first picture again and you’ll see a lovely little element entering the picture from the middle of the top…those lovely sunbursts. I continued to get them in these pictures and really love the way they look.

There were a couple of shots which made this roll worth it, namely these two that I took from an odd angle.

Clearly what went wrong here was my exposure time. In almost every shot, I completely forgot about light metering. Slide film always needs a little more light and the slow speed of the film I was using didn’t help. On the positive side, I love the sunbursts and the unusual POV I took in the last few shots.

So you see, just because you think a roll is a disaster, you may be mistaken. It’s always important to learn from your mistakes, in photography and in real life, and appreciate the beauty that was actually captured.


Phoebe’s Misadventures in Developing Film

Earlier this week I decided to tackle a pile of black and white film that’s been waiting to be developed for months. As I was setting up the chemicals my oldest daughter, Phoebe asked if she could help. Since I had four canisters to develop, each at different times, I readily accepted. I’ve been hesitant to let the kids help me with the developing process but at twelve-going-on-fourty-five-years-old, Phoebe is plenty mature enough to concentrate on the task at hand. Plus, I was excited to introduce her to this side of analogue photography.

With chemicals at the right temperature and the right kind of tunes on the iPod (funk and soul, of course!) we started dancing to the music as we agitated the film in the wetting stage.

Having Phoebe was really helpful. Our first two tanks had developing times that were 30 seconds apart, so I was able to start her developing process ahead of mine. With good timing and preparation we were able to finish the process together. Since I had four tanks to get through, it was a huge time saver.

I suppose the first clue that something was amiss would have been the dark, cola-like color of my developer, Ilfosol 3. I opened it about six months ago and it lives in my garage, which has seen a few temperature changes in that time. I’ve always stored my chemicals in the same place and I’ve used Ilfosol 3 when it was brown before, so I didn’t anticipate any problems, until I saw pink liquid drain out of the tank after the developing step.

Undeterred, it was on to the washing stage for both of our films.

I noticed our film looked kind of pinkish but stranger things have happened. It was when the Permawash turned bubble-gum pink that I knew something was wrong.

Yeah, that’s never happened. Still we plugged on, but when it was time for the final, magic step–the reveal of the pictures on the negatives–this is what we saw.

As the father in “A Christmas Story” says..”He looks like a big, pink nightmare”. I was frustrated. Not only were two rolls of film ruined, but Phoebe didn’t get to experience the fun of seeing the pictures on the film. I was sure she’d be my darkroom buddy forever after seeing pictures appear on the film because it’s such a great reward after all the mixing of chemicals, timing of steps and shaking of canisters.

I quickly went back over the process in my head. Maybe I didn’t dilute the developer properly? This time I made extra sure to be very, very careful when measuring and calculating. Here’s what the next two rolls looked like and where they ended up.

GRRR!!! Six rolls of film turned out to be really, pretty garbage. My fixer was fine, even after the process. Here’s a shot of Phoebe testing it when we were finished.

The stop bath, too, appeared normal. It was still the same lovely shade of yellow at the end of our session. I can only infer that the developer went bad in the garage. Fortunately, there was none left after our disastrous session.

I didn’t get upset, although I did express my disappointment to Phoebe. I told her how fun that moment is when you unwind the film and see your pictures. I told her I was bummed that she didn’t get the same experience. “Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s just the way it goes with film” is what I told her. She was really great and told me the next time I had film to develop, she’d love to help.

Another thing that needs help? The Photo Palace Bus! I know I keep mentioning it but it’s such a worthwhile cause and with only four days left, they’re still really far behind in getting their funds together. Please, if you haven’t already, check out their Kickstarter page and consider supporting their cause.


Light Painting and Help The Photo Palace

Over the holidays I decided to try my hand at some light painting while walking along the streets of my town at night. For these shots I used my Smena 8 with Kodak Gold iso 400 film.

I was getting warmed up here. As you can see, it’s just a hand-held long-exposure shot, but I like the composition.

This one is zippy! I moved the camera in circles near a bare tree lit by LED lights.

The lights in this tree were further up in the sky. I must have used small, circular motions because the shapes made by the lights look like little snails.

These lights were at the top of a lamppost. They were the old-fashioned kind of lights with giant colored bulbs. You can really see the difference in color temperature between these and the LEDs.

I have more light painting shots on the way. I loaded my Canon 70’s film SLR with Fuji slide film (which I’m getting cross-processed) and am eager to see what I captured.

Remember the Photo Palace bus? Well I got this email from Anton, one of its creators:

Hi Friends,

Well with two weeks left in the funding campaign I really am hoping for a miracle. We are only 20% funded and somehow we are supposed to raise the rest in just 14 days.

I was going to make a video update talking about the educational component of the venture, but with 30 minutes left at my job (which is where I edited the last video because my computer is not powerful enough) my Final Cut file crashed and the info got lost so there’s no time to start over…

In the update I was going to say how many wonderful things we will offer to the film community at large: art shows where people can see a gum print and a tintype and a bromoil print, workshops on pinhole cameras and cyanotypes for kids, more involved classes for adults, lectures on the history of film and how it affected the developments in photography, setting up community dark rooms all over the country…. there was a lot there, but now it’s all lost in the digital realm (if I was working with film this would not have happened…). In any case – imagine me looking rather desperate in my packed-up darkroom pleading for help 🙂 It was going to be a good movie…

I really hope that this goes through and we’ll be able to get on the road by summertime. PLEASE help us out by doing another wave of postings here and there and everywhere about this project with a link to it. If you tell the people – ‘hey, I support this!’ they may listen closer and support it as well, right?

Below is the photo of Rollov Film Center – the space where I taught about a dozen students for the past year. It’s all cleaned up and ready for my departure. Please help make this campaign a success 🙂

Sincerely,
Anton

Yikes! Please help spread the word about this fantastic project and if you haven’t yet contributed to the fund, hop on over to their Kickstarter site and do so. It’s such a fantastic way to let people know that film is NOT obsolete and that there are lots of us who still love kickin’ it the lo-fi way. Besides, I really want to meet these two fellas when they come to my town!


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