Friday, August 20, 2010

Photographic Opportunity

I have not finished a roll of film in a bit, but I found a great event going on at Governors Island on Sunday. I will probably make my way down there for what looks to be a lot of fun.

NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam

The heavy rain has put a damper on my photographic spirits and I have decided not to go. The weather has cleared up a bit, but by the time I get there the event would nearly be over.

I am thinking that I should have gritted my teeth and bared the hassle anyway.

flickr photos

Friday, August 6, 2010

Erections Guaranteed

The other day I nabbed my film back from the developer, eager to see the result from the Holga 120N (a medium format camera) which I have not used in about a year. Let me tell you: I love the results. The images are generally sharp at the center, but gradually fade and vignette toward the peripheries. This is the dreamy effect that so many people love on the Holga, but it is the bane of so many photographers who are too into their gear and too into sharpness of their lenses. Yeah, the camera is super limiting with its fixed aperture and shutter speed, but you have to figure out how to work around the issues.

A way to get around the limitations are not surprisingly to work with the available features on the camera, some of which are criminally underused.

1) The aperture is fixed around f/13. The obvious thing is that not much light is let into the camera, but the upside is that the depth of field will be greater, giving a little more leeway on the inexact focusing. The way to fake shallower depth of field would be to set the shot up more towards an edge of the frame, but you need to have the cropping and composition of the final image in mind beforehand. This takes advantage of the nature of the lens becoming more blurry at the edges.

2) The finder is not that good. What you see is definitely not what you get, so it will take a little practice to "see" the image beyond its scope. The benefit is that you will sometimes get surprising and pleasing composition happy accidents which really add to the picture.

3) The shutter speed is fixed around 1/100, slowing down as the camera gets older or if is heavily used. The spring is pretty cheap and wears out. Good thing the camera is under $30. There are no inherent benefits to the speed except that relaxed action will be sufficiently stilled. There is also a bulb mode which is neat for experimentation, but you will have to hold it down with your finger as there is no cable release socket.

4) The focus works. Really, it does. Do not listen to the guys who say they just keep the focus set to infinity. They are the ones with blurry all over pictures. Practice estimating your distances and you are way ahead of the game; this even helps when using the fancier cameras!

5) The inclusion of a hot shoe is an amazing feature. Play with light. Learn it. It will help you overcome nearly all of the camera's shortcomings.

6) There is no real benefit to the cheap construction, but other people like the fact the camera can have light leaks. I do not. I tape up the seams. It can be fun to be a diy'er after little things start to break and you have to figure out how to fix it.

7) Choice of 6x6 or 6x4.5 - it comes with both masks. I always pick 6x6, but there is the option to choose the different format.

8) The lack of meter makes you learn the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed - another lesson you can apply to other cameras.

All cameras, lenses, and systems have their limitations and the people who know how to work with their gear are usually the ones who churn out great pictures. I am not saying that I do great work, but I guess I think highly of it enough to share my images and words :)


I took this shot at Figment where people are especially encouraged to express themselves. I liked this guy a lot and he reminded me of a cartoon character. I believe I set the shot up with cropping in mind, but even if I did not, I felt the 8x10 ratio really suited him.


Hands. I love hands. I should photograph them more often.

Erections Guaranteed

I will sell all the college boys 11x14 prints.

flickr photos