Tag Archives: polaroid

Two New Cameras plus Works of Art Through the Eyes of the iPhone

My parents, who so generously got me the Yashica 635, arrived at my house last week with two more vintage beauties for me. This Konica C35 was purchased at the same time as my Yashica.

I know next to nothing about this camera but am excited to play around with it. The other camera came from my Mom’s cedar chest. It was her camera back in the day….a Polaroid Land Camera Automatic 103

This one I am familiar with. It’s the relative of another Polaroid Land Camera that I own, the 220, and just like my 220 (which I affectionately refer to as Aunt Bertha’s camera because it came with EVERYTHING in the case, including a little lace hankie, and smelled like the top of a moth-ball-filled closet), it included the case, manual and a flash unit. Once I get a battery for it I’m going to give it a try. I’m hoping the roller functions better than the 220 so I don’t get gluey rollers half way through my film pack. What a pain it is to clean.

I’m still waiting for my first Yashica roll to come back from the developers. I took it out last week on a foggy morning as we took the kids and dog for a walk in the woods. I’m hoping for some moody, misty shots. Until then, I will share some iPhone photos I took while at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Curators are masters of using light to highlight the best parts of an exhibit. Whether the lighting is very low, casting gorgeous shadows on the walls, or warm and inviting, everything is beautiful and begging to be captured by an intrepid photographer.  Whenever I visit a museum I treat it as a workshop in lighting. I push myself and try new techniques to see how my camera best responds. This first shot was taken through my Holga Lens Turret’s blue filter.

This last shot was in the cafeteria. I used the Salvadore 84 lens on all the pictures that look doubly exposed.

Museums are also great places to test out your camera’s macro abilities. The iPhone is phenomenal at close up shots and even better with the Holga Lens Turret’s macro lens.

The rest of these pictures are taken without the macro lens.


Kidnapping Elf

One of the greatest joys of parenting is finally getting to the moment when you can really mess with your kids. For so, long we’ve encouraged them, told them the truth about most things and treated them like the sweet little things they are but during our vacation, the parents got their revenge (I swear this story is photography related…just wait for it).

All the cousins, girls and boys ages 12 to 5, were playing very nicely together and, much to our surprise, had started playing with some baby toys, including a stuffed elephant they dubbed Elf. They goofed around, pushing him, a doll named Bertha and a dinosaur named Dino Baby in a baby carriage, rolling it down hills at break-neck speed and crashing it into fences, walls and stairs until the contents spilled out at which point they all laughed maniacally. One day Elf went missing and they accused the adults of hiding him so when he turned up the next day, we decided they needed a little mystery to solve. Uncle Harry hid Elf and posted this ransom note for the kids to find:

The look on their faces was pure surprise and delight. They immediately formed teams and went all CSI on us, asking for handwriting samples and alibis. They all swore they would continue to eat their ice cream. Finally, in an effort to try to crack us, they said they had found Elf and that he had a rip in his side. We knew we had to up the ante, so (here’s where photography comes in) I suggested we take a Polaroid of Elf and post it the next morning. Uncle Harry and I staged a kidnapping scene, complete with Elf tied to a pole, electrical tape over his mouth and a saw at his throat (yeah, it was a little macabre, but these are some crazy kids). Here’s what they found the next morning:

The flurry of activity and screams of delight after finding THIS note was CRAZY! They searched the house and found the room in which we staged the photo. Again, alibis were demanded and drawing samples obtained. That night they ate cookies for dessert, as the ransom note suggested, and the next morning, Elf appeared. It was crazy-fun for everyone and when Uncle Harry finally confessed they claimed they knew it all along.

I took some other less ominous Polaroids during my trip as well and tried a little experiment. I recently read on The Impossible Project’s website or Flickr page about warming up the color Push film for more vibrant colors so I decided to try it. This is the control picture in which I just let the film develop normally

The next picture I warmed with a hair dryer for the first minute of developing and this is my result

I’m not really sure which I like better. The lighter color of the first one is nice but the intensity of color and depth of shadows and light in the second shot are much truer to what I was seeing with my eyes. It’s a little over exposed but generally, not a bad picture. The experimenting with this film will continue with the acquisition of a green filter, which is said to cut down on the magenta tones.

My favorite TIP film will remain the Silver Shade. I love the sepia tones, the old-fashioned feeling and the consistency of decent, well-exposed pictures. I feel this film is much more forgiving than the Color Shade. These are my Silver Shade vacation pics:

Philly Lessons

Whenever I travel I bring a film camera along and our latest trip to Philadelphia, PA was no exception, but there was one little twist. Usually I bring a 35mm or medium format camera with me but yesterday I brought along my Polaroid Spirit and three packs of The Impossible Project’s instant film. It was a little bit of a risky move for me because it’s tough taking instant shots on the run: My family gets tired of stopping for me and often leave me in the dust so I have to be fast with my composition, focus and button pressing. Also, I’ve not yet mastered TIP’s films and usually get crappy results.

Of course, I also had my iPhone with me and I set a mission for myself. Take some macro shots of anything but flowers. They’re so easy as macro subjects, beautiful too, but I wanted to try to branch out (no pun intended). First thing I needed to do was find out what kind of film was left in my Polaroid–color or black and white. These two shots were the last of that pack.    

Lesson # 1: I got much better results on the second shots because I turned the light/dark slider to the middle, where it should be been in the first place for a bright sunny day, instead of all the way to the light side, as is often recommended for TIP films. So from now on, I’m going to set that slider where I think it should be, not where they recommend it be set.

We got a late start leaving and didn’t arrive in Philly until well after 1:30 pm so the first stop was lunch at Reading Market. I had a VERY yummy Italian Pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone cheese from this shop

Lesson #2: You can actually take a decent Polaroid picture inside a busy market! I was shocked that this one came out as well as it did but I applied the knowledge gleaned from lesson #1 and voila!

Next we visited the Franklin Institute where I tried to take some macro shots but there just wasn’t enough time. We had to move quickly through the museum because we only had an hour and ten minutes before it closed. These are my macro attempts This diamond patterned metal never looks as cool close up as it does far away. I’ve tried a couple of times to do macros of it and haven’t found an interesting way to photograph it close up. I did, however, get some other really cool photos

The entrance to the museum

Pendulum filled with sand that drew a pattern on the table as it traveled

Pola shot of some optical illusion art

Looking down the stairs at the pendulum on the bottom floor

Surgical instruments

Cool, glowing light sconce

Old pocket watch and my eldest daughter in the background

We had a long walk back to Independence Hall and had to plot our course, so we stopped at the giant fountain in Logan Circle where I got one of the best shots of my three kids to date.

First they were goofing around. My son waded up to his knees in the water and then I got….

The Money Shot!

I saw them sitting staggered on the side of the fountain and took two shots, in which my son was giving his best cheese-ball grin, before I got this one. Look for it in this years’ Christmas card.

Lesson #3: The best family portraits are ALWAYS spontaneous!!

Our hike included Chinatown where I got some of these pictures

Loved the red in the lady’s hat and bags that echoed the red ribbons on the Foo Dogs necks

I’ll probably texturize this in Pic Grunger at a later date, but I loved the symmetry

On to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall where I KNOW I got the coolest shot of the day

I was FLOORED that this came out so well!!!!! It’s far and away the coolest Liberty Bell shot of the day. Here’s the picture I took with my iPhone. It’s a bit of a different angle, but you get the idea

No where NEAR the same detail. Which brings me to

Lesson #4: Just because a film has performed poorly in the past doesn’t mean it will perform poorly in the future.

I did NOT expect to get the crazy, detailed results of the Bell in those poor lighting conditions but, once again, I switched the light/dark switch all the way to dark because it wasn’t very well-lit, and I got a fantastic picture.

Other cool stuff from that area…

Granite wall with the names of George Washington’s slaves

Looking for something for dinner we strolled through what must’ve been the young and hip section of the city. All the beautiful people were sitting in tables on the sidewalk eating fancy food at restaurants with one name. That’s not really our style, especially with the kids in tow, so we found an alley with some excellent Irish-style pubs. Dinner was eaten here

Then, it was back on the subway for the trip back to the car. There are TONS of things to photograph in the subway. Here’s my Philly subway collection.

It was a really fun day and I learned some important lessons. The last of which is…

Lesson #5: Go with the flow. You may start out your day expecting to do one thing (taking macro shots of stuff other than flowers) but that thing might not be in the cards for you that day. Something better may be planned for you instead (getting excellent family photos and Polaroids).

Thank you, City of Brotherly Love, for inspiring my photographic journey. My little family and I will be visiting again very soon.

Lo-fi Thinkers Unite

Katie King is a very busy woman. Not only does she run a successful photography business called A Sense of Place with her husband, she’s also a very active member in the Female Photographers of Etsy (fOE) community AND decided to start-up a magazine this year. And all this activity takes place on a little tropical island in the middle of the ocean.

I met Katie through the very active and creative fPOE group. Her idea for a magazine featuring works from the fPOE ladies was tossed out in December 2010 and by April 2011, the first issue of Method Press hit the stands (so to speak) and was offered for sale on magcloud.com. The theme of that issue was “A Blank Stare” and it featured a collection of photos related to the theme as well as interviews with some unconventional artists, poetry and essays. Instead of just a photography magazine, Katie and her fabulous team have put together a very well-rounded lo-fi centered publication.

The ladies are hard at work on issue two, but Katie was generous enough with her time to answer a few questions for me:

For those unfamiliar with Method Press, explain a little about the magazine

Method Press is an art filled idea-magazine celebrating low-fi thinkers. It was made by me and some very rad fPOE ladies last spring.

Just got my first issue of Method Press in the mail and I must say bravo! Very well done from the layout to the artwork to the choice of paper. My impression is that it’s not only a visual arts magazine but also a literary one. Was that the original intent?
Grazie! Yes it was. I wanted it to be a literary journal / idea book hybrid, but more accessible than an academic publication. I had such a great pool of talent to pull from with the fPOE individuals willing to help that it seemed both obvious & resourceful to include a visual arts emphasis.
You’re a very busy woman, no doubt and creating a magazine is a time-consuming and ambitious endeavor. What inspired you to create a magazine in this day and age when book and periodical sales are slumping?
 I don’t know-I’m insane. I just get these ideas and run with them. In 2009 it was to self publish a poetry book, in 2010 it was to create a one woman show. This year it was to start a magazine. 
I LOVE that I can get a physical copy of the magazine in my hands. There’s nothing like flipping through the pages, smelling the paper and (as your first magazine suggests) creating new things from its pages. Was it always the intent to offer it for print? It seems to go along with the lo-fi way of thinking.
Yes that was the original intent. I’ve always liked feeling things in print. Its easier on the eye. I also enjoy making notes-circling underlining, making shapes as I read along. It makes me feel more connected to the material.  

How do you see Method Press riding the current wave of nostalgia for things analogue into the future, when retro may not be so cool?

I’m not too into nostalgia, myself. It gets sticky. I’m not sure how MP will do in the future or how it will be received because we’re just getting started, but we’re into talking about what kind of art is being made right now.  What I mean to say is that Method Press isn’t aiming to ride any waves at the moment that I’m conscious of. We just want to creatively present the methods of how people work, what makes them tick, and what helps them do what they do.

Now, let’s learn about you. How did you get started in photography?

I’ve tried answering this question 4 times so far and nothing feels right. The most decent answer I can give you is “I don’t remember.” Somewhere a long the line my sister told me I had a talent.
I was a little put off, actually. I had been studying theater & music my whole life but people just kept talking about what good photos I took when I hadn’t studied a single thing about it.

Since Method Press is about lo-fidelity thinking, I’m curious, do you like to use lo-fi/analogue cameras? If so, which ones? If not, what’s in your camera bag?

 Not as much as I used to. I have a Minolta SR-T303, a Polaroid Land Camera, several other Polaroids & a Diana but I use my Canon Rebel T1i most often (thanks, Kickstarter backers!)

Could you share with us a few of your favorite photos and give us a little info about each one?

Usually I love other people’s photos more than mine but, since you asked… 

These photographs were both taken as a part of a film swap in 2010. There is something about that first one that just gets me. Who knew sheep could embody such purpose. The second one has a theatrically powerful quality. Most people think it’s a horse; it’s a donkey. 

This one just cracks me up. It was all his idea.

Now for some delightfully unconventional questions….

1.     What do you use as a camera bag and what do you absolutely have to have inside it (besides film and a camera)?

I’m lucky if I can find the camera on time. I’ve never really had a fully functioning camera bag.

2.     You’ve suddenly been declared King of the World…what are the first three things you would do?

Call my mom, tweet about it, then call my psychologist 

3.     Not only are you King of the World but you’ve suddenly acquired a time machine. Where would you go and what would you do?

I’d charge admission but not use it for myself. I think now is important. 

4.     The ubiquitous desert island question with a twist…what kind of an island would you like to be deserted on and which five things must you have with you?

A cold one. A windy island with snow-capped peaks.

1. excedrin migraine
2. a ballpoint pen
3. a blank notebook
4. a really comfy blanket. Maybe electric.
5. twix 

5.     Look around and give us the title of the book that’s closest to your hands

How to trust God even when life hurts. 

6.     Name four people, living or dead, that you’d like to hang by the grill, BBQ and drink beer with

Gosh. Someone that could cook really well because I sure can’t cook but I love to eat. I love kabobs. Maybe a famous kabob chef. But then I would feel so awkward. Just me and this random chef, you know? Add Casey Abrams. Yeah. Plus Meatwad. And….Jesus. Totally.

Now for some ‘this or that’ questions…

Color or black and white


1940’s or 1970’s


Cash or Credit


Beatles or Elvis

Yikes…that’s really tough. Elvis. 

Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts


Markers or Pencils


Dogs or Cats


Beer or Liquor

Liquor. Although I’m not much of a drinker. 

Goodbye or See Ya Later

See ya later 
“A Funny Story” is the theme for the magazine’s next issue and the crew is still accepting submissions so all you lo-fi writers, photographers and artists, pop on over to the Method Press blog and get all the details.
Here’s a list of links where you can find information on the magazine…..
Blog: http://meetmethodpress.blogspot.com/
FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Method-Press/164023166984403
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/methodpress/

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.

Pimp My Camera

Finally–I’m back from a much-needed vacation to Florida. We went to worship at the Mouse House (otherwise known as Disney World), visited Harry Potter at Universal Studios and got to hang out with family. Pictures from all the fun are in the process of being developed so for now, I’ll share with you some of my new and improved cameras.

One of my favorite photo buddies Jeff (check out his blog) sent me and a few other ‘unconventional friends’ a crazy pinhole camera kit in honor of World Pinhole Camera Day, which was April 24th. It really was a crazy kit. The wording of some of the directions seemed as though the were poorly translated from some arcane language. Have you ever heard of a mountain fold? A valley fold? How about a trapezium? Yeah, me neither. On the front of the instructions it says the kit is for ages 6+ and requires adult supervision. It SHOULD say it will take 6+ hours and require 2 adult brains.

This is a picture of my whacked-out camera upon completion of assembly. It states that all you need is some glue to hold this thing together but I’ve taken a picture of everything I used to make sure it wouldn’t fall apart. In addition to glue I used some crazy colored duct tape which I cut with the box cutter, plus clips and magnets to hold bits and pieces together while the glue was drying.

Here’s how the process went….

I held little parts down with these clips and worked on other areas while it was drying. For some pieces the clips didn’t work so well so I used some magnets from a long-forgotten science project. They worked like a charm.

After I’d gotten the body together I realized the glue wasn’t going to cut the mustard. That’s when the crazy-colored duct tape came into play.

I saw this stuff at my local office supply store and had been looking for an excuse to use it.

Once most of the major parts were together it was a matter of putting them all together with some flair. Orange tie-dye and zebra stripes seemed like the appropriate combination for my new pinhole camera.

And the finished product, minus a few little bits that wouldn’t stay on with neither tape nor glue, was fabulous!

So, what to do with all that left over duct tape? Why, pimp out another camera, of course! I got this Holga on super-sale when one of my favorite local camera shops had to close its doors (very sad) so I gave it the striped treatment.

It was by far the best looking camera in Florida.

Duke Ellington is a Kiev 88

Have you ever wondered what camera your favorite musician might use? OK, maybe I’m the only one. Since I love jazz I was thinking the other day about what kind of lo-fi camera some famous jazz musicians might use or which camera best captures the spirit of that person. Here we go…

Duke Ellington: Elegant, classic, sharp as a tack, refined, beautiful harmonies, smooth…..all the things I think of when I use my Kiev 88

Thelonius Monk: Crazy genius, marches to the beat of his own drummer, eccentric, always in motion. Kind of like my Spinner 360

Ethel Ennis: Smooth, elegant, vocalist with velvety voice, dreamy, soft. Born in one of my favorite cities, Baltimore, MD. I think she’s a Diana.

Dizzy Gillespie: energetic, Be-Bop trumpeter with crazy technique and great cheeks. I’ll give him an Action Sampler and see what he does with it.

Miles Davis: Can NOT forget one of the best musicians ever. His trumpet style ranges from frenetic be-bop to smooth, low, dreamy jazz. A true innovator always pushing the boundaries, always re-inventing himself, just like the Holga.

Tito Puente: Latin jazz master who plays some of my favorite percussion instruments (I played the marimba in high school….it rocks). Always on the beat but always trying new, crazy different things while staying within the confines of the tremendous genre known as Latin Jazz. I think a Lubitel is in order.

Joshua Redman: One of my favorite modern jazz artists, I went to see him when he first started touring. His style is unmistakable but not too crazy. Clean but innovative. His sound and his interpretations are unique and noticeable (to me, anyways) from afar. Polaroid SX-70, anyone?

These are just a few of my favorites….add to the list now, why don’t ya?

%d bloggers like this: