Yesterday I took a break from studio macros and spent some time outdoors with the Holga. A small path into a windbreak between two snow covered corn fields revealed this spot:
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 fish 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, NY
The 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.
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…
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.