Tag Archives: plastic

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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You Took Your iPhone Kayaking?

I can’t begin to express how nice it is to write without the constraints of rules! Following APA format is exhausting and it really cramps my writing style, so I am happy to be blogging again.

It’s been very busy for me, as you can imagine. I’ve started graduate school…

Finished my first triathlon with a smile on my face…

…plus, I’ve been experimenting with my iPhone.

This week, I’ll share pictures from a recent kayaking trip. I’m fortunate enough to live less than five miles from the Atlantic Ocean, which means there are little creeks, bays and tributaries everywhere. To record our little adventure, I brought along an underwater camera and my iPhone.

The underwater camera shots were underwhelming, to say the least. There’s a stupid blue camera strap on the body and, try as I might, I could not keep it out of the pictures. Every last shot I took had the camera strap in it. Blech!!!! Next time I use that particular model of underwater cam, I am cutting off the strap.

So thank goodness I brought along my iPhone. Encased in a plastic bag, it survived the expedition and the captured some really beautiful pictures.

It was a bit of a challenge to compose pictures through a plastic bag. Composition was difficult because of glare from the sun. Drops of water near the camera lens distorted the image and made the camera lose it’s little computer-chip mind while it was trying to focus. To combat these issues, I wiped the bag and pulled it very taut over the lens. The plastic bag provided coverage and challenges, but it also gave soft, dreamy, Diana-like results. These pictures were all taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed.

That’s me in the hat. In order to get that shot I passed my iPhone to my husband using the paddle. It was quite a balancing act.

One of my favorite shots of the day is one I took of Jake and Elias. Someone with long legs (not me) figured out that hanging their feet over the sides was fun. My daughter Phoebe, pictured above, is blessed with long legs and said she could feel fish tickling her toes. We were all relaxing when I took this picture.

I had to straighten it out a little, but it really captures the mellowness of the moment.

I’ve also been using Snapseed’s Drama filter, especially for landscapes. Here are two beach shots I took as some rough weather was moving in.

More dramatic shots will be coming in another post, so until then….happy snapping!


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?


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.


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