Categories: "Toy Camera" or "Holga" or "Vivitar IC 101"
Been a while since I posted a Holga shot - so here goes. A few weeks ago I wandered through a clearing in the Allegan Forest, but saw nothing except for grasshoppers and flies. No dragonflies, butterflies, snakes, toads or other interesting subjects. I had a Holga with me and took this shot looking back into the scrappy dense woods that look all the more dark when you are standing in bright light. Click on the image below for a larger file.
Here are a some Holga shots from the last few weeks.
First - I’ve been experimenting with Ilford SFX in a Holga. A 52mm deep red filter fits nicely on the front of the plastic lens (you have to push hard, but it will fit on and stay there). Here’s a little country church taken with this setup:
Solar flare activity was quite high when I took that shot and you can see the aurora in the sky over the church even the the midday sunlight… Or maybe the Holga was leaking light. Well, more likely that…
Here is an SFX shot of barren spring woods - not much infrared effect but there was not much greenery out yet:
SFX is a pretty tame infrared film, but it is fast enough to be used in a hand held Holga, even with a deep red filter. (I developed the SFX in HC-110 Dil B and pushed these exposures by one stop.) I’m hoping for some more pronounced IR effects once the green foliage is out.
And here is a double exposure of a snowmobile trail, looking to the east, looking to the west …. Classic Pan 200 developed in HC-110 Dil H.
Lastly , a squirt gun found out in the woods, same place where I found a bunch of dead a few years ago:
I heard about the London Street Photography Award and that got me looking through of my old B&W scans. This isn’t street photography since I was driving a car when I took it (like, how can you take a street photo while driving in the, um, street…)
But it’s an overlooked shot that I like. It has inspired me to unearth my original Holga from the depths of my car trunk, and I might even develop the film in it and try a fresh roll.
This shot was taken in 2007, whilst driving through Battle Creek, Michigan:
Good news arrived a couple of days ago when I learned that one of my photos, Spent, was accepted into the 2009 West Michigan Area Show, hosted by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. After a two year hiatus in having work accepted into this show, it’s nice to get a piece in.
This image is one that keeps popping up on this blog, mostly because I like it. It was shot on film with a Holga in October, 2007 and where-else but the Allegan Forest. This was previously exhibited in last year’s Your Best Shot show hosted by the foto foto gallery in Huntinton, NYThe 2009 West Michigan Area Show runs from February 28 – April 26 with a reception on March 1, from 2-4 pm. This year’s juror is Larry Fink.
Here are a few more shots from my trip last week. We spent a day at Monticello, which was every bit as interesting as I hoped it would be. The weather wasn’t the greatest - a cool steady drizzle on a rather gloomy and cloudy day. After the first hour or so I put the camera away. But here is one shot of a portico near the estate’s garden:
Here’s a close up of a bubble in a glass window, Williamsburg, Virginia:
A few shots with the Vivitar IC101 Panoramic Focus Free Camera… A shopping cart on the Mall, Washington, D.C.
That’s probably half of the images I decided to cull out from the IC101.
Summer’s over and autumn is cooking – and I’m just standing here looking…
It’s been a while since I posted – mostly because I’ve been on the road for the last couple of weeks, wandering through Virginia, D.C., Maryland, and New Jersey. It wasn’t a photographic trip, and I don’t have a bunch of new images to upload.
The putative reason for the trip was to attend the artist reception at the Maryland Federation of Art American Landscapes exhibit. The show looked great (as usual) with some really excellent pieces on display. Lenny Campello, the DC area art guy and blogger who juried the show, was on hand for the reception as well.
Early on in the trip I tired of carrying around an SLR, and so reverted to the smallest and lightest camera I had on hand – which was the Vivitar IC 101 panoramic focus free. My camera’s mechanics are increasingly wonky – sometimes failing to advance the film and more often than not, failing to fire when the shutter button is depressed. (Though it inevitably fires *sometime* shortly after pressing the button.)Here’s a shot of some shrubbery in Washington, D.C.
Maybe more later…
Almost two weeks ago now, some good news came in the mail. One of my Holga shots from last October was accepted into the fotofoto gallery’s “Your Best Shot” exhibit. I didn’t do a lot of Holga work last year, but “Spent” was the best shot (in my mind) that I did get with the toy camera – so I’m glad to see it head off to a show. I had the photo boxed up and in the mail a week ago, so it should be there now.
Definitely an October image - and here it is, a beautiful May morning…
Two weeks since my last post – I’ve been down in the basement workroom much of that time, cutting out mats and mounting photos. All this in preparation for the Art Etc art fair last week – which seems to have gone pretty well based on the conversations had with visitors to my booth.
I guess I should talk about art fairs before they happen so people know about them. Someday I’ll work on the commercial side of all this…
Anyhow – in a totally non-commercial spirit, while shooting fall colors last week I stuck the Vivitar IC 101 Panoramic camera into my pocket, loaded with some rather stale Fuji NPS 35mm film. The ISO 150 NPS seemed ideal for most in the sun shooting situations (good thing since the camera has no exposure controls) and as I schlepped around with the Pentax 6x7 medium format rig, I used the Vivitar to take a few other than standard shots of the autumn foliage.
The camera did not always cooperate. It seems to be getting fussy about when to respond to shutter button – and whether to respond at all. And each roll is missing a few sprockets where there wind / drive mechanism jammed while advancing the film. But for a $2 camera it’s holding up pretty well.
Most of my favorite spots in the Allegan Forest are featured here. We have the Olf Farmstead, the Coreopsis Field, Laughing Bird Woods, and other select locations.
Not that you’ll find those names on a map. If a place doesn’t have a name, I give it one and use it. That may seem pointless, since I’m only the only person who knows the name, but then Adam was the only person who knew the names of things before Eve, and naming things is a birthright we inherit from him. So these names aren’t so much points of reference as they are, well, you know, names.
Shooting with the Vivitar 101 IC Panoramic camera got me thinking in panoramic terms. And so while in the Coreopsis Field I shot a few frames with the Pentax 6x7, composed with the intent that they be cropped to the same aspect ratio as the Vivitar. The result is this last image - the negative is about the size of two 35mm exposures, side by side, and the detail on an large print is exquisite. I was experimenting (I.e. using for the first time) with Kodak UC 400 – 120 format, of course. Grain is not much of an issue with the 6x7 format, and the colors really snap with this film.
So ultimately Vivitar IC 1010 toy camera not only kicked out a few good shots by its own right, but go me thinking outside the box a bit to put the 6x7 to different.
Well, at least thinking in terms of a different sized box…
And in what has to be a little bit of a milestone - I hit over 1,000 film scans this year while scanning this latest bast of film. Film may be waning - but over 1,000 images scanned in the last 10 months or so tells me its still an important medium - at least to me.
My Holga has spent the summer, and now the fall, sitting neglected under the passenger seat of my Subaru. I don’t mean to neglect it, but demands for my attention invariably push something away.
It spent several months there with the same roll of Neopan 400 film wrapped onto its spools. Like a clock – or perhaps a bomb on a timer – the film slowly advanced as the days went by. It must have been the changes in temperature in the automobile. Every time I’d pick it up the carefully aligned frame number would be absent from the red window.
When I did use it I was rusty and out of practice. There’s not much to fumble with a Holga – no aperture or shutter settings – but invariably I’d leave the lens cap in place or focus set to minimum. These discoveries would be made long after the subject and moment had moved on – so the empty squares caused by the creeping advance of the film would be next to empty frames caused by leaving the lens cap on.
No matter. I finally pulled the Neopan out of the camera, mixed up some HC110, and coaxed the latent images out on the film. Two shots caught my fancy.
Spent was taken in the Allegan Forest, of course. It’s not uncommon to find piles of spent ammo on the ground out there – it’s probably more uncommon to look down and not find a shell or two. But the cologne bottle? I’ve seen lots of weird things that people bring into the woods to dump or shoot at, but never a bottle of men’s cologne… This is of course a double exposure – one of those happy accidents that only the Holga can bestow.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about experiments with multiple exposures with the Holga toy camera. I’ve been continuing with these experiments – “time and motion studies” – with mixed results.
My goal with these shots has been to utilize the Holga’s multiple exposure capacity to create a single image that captures an extended period of time. I’m not interested in putting together a few recognizable images, juxtaposed on top of each other. Rather, I’m interested in putting together lots of exposures (25, 50, maybe 100) with few if any individually discernable images being present. The idea is to build up an image through the successive exposure of the film to varying (and weak) light sources – so that the resulting exposure on the film is not representative of any specific image, but rather is the cumulative effect of many exposures. A “layered exposure.”
Ultimately the photograph is a temporal composition – the combined effects of light and time, as opposed to light and place.
Well – that’s the theory at least. I’ve encountered a few challenges in terms of pulling it off, but the process is still new.
The first challenge is finding the right window of ambient light to work with. Without using a neutral density filter, multiple exposures outside on a sunny day will very quickly block up even the slowest film. As a result, I’ve confined this project to twilight hours – snapping away in the mysterious gloom that separates day from night. (I suppose this project could be taken indoors – the multiple exposures would be much easier to manage in a dimly lit building or interior. But that would be limiting – it would be too tempting (or even unavoidable) to take shots of the same place.)
I tried for a few more shots in this genre last week, and the results are something of a mixed bag. “Rotary”, above, is a series of mad snaps taken while whirling around a rotary, shortly after sunset. The result is interesting, and I like the dynamic, but it really is a composite of several individual shots of streetlights, and not a layered-exposure, since so many areas of the frame are dark.
One nice thing about the Holga camera is that you can take as many multiple exposures as you want. That’s one of the camera’s nicest features.
Don’t as me why, but I’ve been avoiding that feature. I keep the lens cap on the Holga, not so much to protect the lens, but to prevent accidental multiple exposures. Looking back, I’m not sure why I was so worried about that – after all, randomness and the happy accident are where it’s at when it comes to the Holga.
Driving into work the other day, I wondered about putting the whole commute into one image. It was a dark morning – the sun is barely up when I leave and the heavy clouds made it all the more gloomy. I didn’t count the number of exposures I took – probably about 20. It was raining and the raindrops on the windshield made for an interesting patina to the shot. The wiper blades should have appeared in some of the shots – I don’t know why they didn’t, but they didn’t.
I like this shot – kind of moody and blue, low on impact and graphic elements, but still engaging to my eye. I plan to continue to work with this technique – ideas for other multiple compositions are coming to mind already.
For those interested in technical matters – this shot was taken on JandC’s Pro 100 film, developed in Agfa Rodinal 1:50 for 1 hour (very low agitation.) Well – even with 20 exposures it was still pretty dark out.
"And all I see are little dots Some are smeared, some are spots..." -- Talking Heads
And what for? After all, I could just be shooting away with toy cameras, where even the crappiest shot is made even crappier by lens distortions and light leaks.
A toy camera (or two) is a standard item in my car these days. The Holga is ever present, and for a change of pace I grab a $1 Special Moments Focus Free camera loaded with 35mm film.
So today I cobbled together an update consisting of images taken with toy, krappy, and other than standard cameras, featured here...
Do spots of light qualify as a “subject?” Does it matter if the spots in Night Driving are streetlights, while the dots in Little Dots are just sunlight on window curtains?
I don’t think so… The toy camera kitsch of course is a plus, but I just like the dots. Maybe connecting them is the challenge.
For those interesting in film and developing - Holga shots were taken on Classic Pan 400, developed in HC110 Dilution H. The 35mm Special Moments shots were taken on Fuji Neopan 400, developed in Rodinal 1:25. All exposures were pushed 1 stop.