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Bill Hansen considers himself smarter than the average bear, although fortunately he has never had to put that hypothesis to a test. He was born at a very young age and, much to his chagrin, has been getting progressively older ever since. He has a lovely B.A. in Cultural Anthropology adorning his bathroom wall and it is, by far, the single most expensive piece of paper he owns. An award-winning photographer currently based out of Syracuse, NY, Bill's work has been exhibited multiple times at the New York State Fair and has been featured in several shows across Central New York.

He enjoys taking long walks on the beach; spontaneously going on adventures with his beautiful wife, even if it means driving twelve-hours just to try duck-fat-fried poutine; and sometimes, just sometimes, he finds subtle satisfaction in a good cup of coffee.

If given a choice, Bill would rather be in Hawaii.

Author Archives: Bill

PDX – Step Down Step Down, Push Push, Ace Hotel

Door signs at the Ace Hotel, PDX.

PDX – Bump Uglies

Bump Uglies

Bump Uglies, Portland, OR. 2010

I was highly amused by this.

Bikini Wahine Wading Waikiki

Bikini Wahine Wading Waikiki. O'ahu, HI 2009.

After several months of disuse, I finally dusted of the scanner and processed some 35mm negatives I had developed in the beginning of June. Taken last December on O’ahu with a GoPro Hero waterproof 35mm camera on expired Kodak UltraMax 400.

Advice for PDX???

I originally posted this over at the new toycamera.com forums, but then thought to cross-post it here for possible wider exposure.

My wife & I are planning a week long sojourn to Portland, OR later this fall as a kind of interview with the Rose City to see if it’ll fit as a possible relocation locale (the long heavy winters of upstate NY are getting to be a bit too much).

As such, we want to be as thorough as a week allows. Instead of hitting up touristy stuff, we want to try to see the city as a local would.

So any advice from native Portlanders or transplants (or anyone else familiar with the town, for that matter) on what to do, what to see, where to eat, et cetera?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

TOYCAM now available!!!

TOYCAM is ON SALE NOW!!!

I’m happy to report that a project that I’ve been proud to be a part of has finally come to fruition: TOYCAM is finally available on Blurb.

Andrew has more to say about the book’s release here.

I haven’t had the chance to physically flip through the book yet myself, but having been a part of the process, I know the product is top notch.

You can purchase the hardcover here.

Or the soft cover here.

Thank you to all the photographers who submitted their photographs and to those who agreed to be interviewed: you made our jobs tougher & all the more enjoyable by giving us some outstanding source material to work with.

Congratulations for a job well-done to the other book-team members Andrew, Ben, Blake, Gregory, Jason, Jose & Leah. It’s been a pleasure being part of the team.

UPDATE: www.toycamerabook.com has a flash-based preview of the book available for your perusal.


Long Lake Lilly Pads

Lilly Pads, Long Lake, NY 2010

Quiet Morning in the Adirondacks II

Lake Eaton, NY

Quiet Morning in the Adirondacks

Lake Eaton, NY

101 Life Goals

FYI: This is post is decidedly unrelated to photography.

North Shore, O'ahu 2009.

I’ve been feeling introspective lately. It’s funny how the passing of a loved one can do that to you. As my wife & I sorted through my father’s personal affects this past weekend in preparation of this weekend’s estate sale, it struck me just how much of my father’s life boiled down to stuff. He had a lot of stuff.

Yet, I hardly knew what his hopes & dreams were (he had to have had them, right?) and it’s now seemingly impossible to infer what they could’ve been from just his possessions.

One dream of his I know, as he constantly asked repeatedly, is also one that hits me the hardest, is that my Dad wanted grandchildren. He possessed a large collection of Disney DVDs in eager anticipation of the day some rug-rat would enamoredly watch cute cartoons with him, much as my grandmother did with us.

The funny thing is that was a hope & dream of mine as well. Christine & I, a couple years back, each made a list of 101 life goals, as an exercise in… well… I’m not sure. But it still felt like a worthy endeavor. Number 43 on my list was “for my father to watch cartoons with his grandchildren.”

Heart-wrenchingly, I just removed that one from the list.

But that got me pondering the rest of my list. How many things out of the original 101 had I actually checked off in the intervening years? Five. I bought a new car; I finished my degree; I cooked a lobster; I won a prize playing skee ball; and I did something with expiredfilm.com.

While, yes, many on my list were meant as perpetual behaviors, as compared to quantifiable achievements, it still seems as though I should be doing more. Life is short. So as a semi-public means of accountability, here’s my newly revised list.

101 Life Goals in no particular order (other than #1)

1. try to make Christine smile everyday

2. leave Upstate NY for parts unknown

3. preferably to live in Hawaii

4. find something to do that I enjoy that will afford us a reasonable income

5. lose the spare tire

6. not lose all my hair

7. let Christine know that I love her, as much as possible

8.

9. think of something especially clever for #8

10. find something unique to share with the world

11. raise a loving family with Christine

12. to get a dog

13. preferably a Bloodhound

14. for my student loans to be nothing more than a bad memory

15. to go on adventures with Christine as often as feasibly possible

16. to still go on adventures with Christine even when it’s not feasible

17. never eat broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts ever again

18. to always be able to make Christine laugh

19. to be a better correspondent

20. to be a better friend

21. to be a better husband

22. to eat a grilled cheese sandwich everyday for a month

23. to make a scathing documentary of the grilled cheese industry

24. to snuggle with Christine as much as possible

25. to become a better photographer

26. to always greet Christine with a hug and a kiss

27. to find something worthwhile to say and to say it well

28. to buy Christine roses when she least expects it

29. to make sure I actually buy roses for her when she does expect it

30. to always win when playing “not it”

31. to have a hot dog whenever at Yankee Stadium

32. to have Christine take a bite of said Yankee Stadium hot dog

33. to own a house that Christine and I can make into a home

34. to have a vacation every year where Christine wears a bikini

35. to find new things that interest me

36. not to be this old this young

37. to celebrate holidays without feeling guilt

38. to never eat cottage cheese just because “it’s healthy”

39. to have the confidence to know whether I’m good at something or not

40. to watch a sunset and sunrise in the same night with Christine

41. to own art I appreciate

42. to see Mariano Rivera go into the Hall of Fame

44. always be able to find time to read a good book

45. remember to use deodorant most days

46. to be less slovenly around the house

47. to pick up my boxers whenever we are expecting guests

48. to dance with Christine whenever the opportunity presents itself

49. to not look utterly ridiculous doing so; unless on purpose

50. to be the most ‘whoamantic’ person I know

51. to never catch Ebola

52. or smallpox or The Plague or other bad bug

53. to let Christine squish a slug with her hands

54. but to be the voice of moral restraint when she endeavors to kick a pigeon

55. to improve my handwriting

56. to always be Christine’s best friend

57. never eat yellow snow

58. to accomplish something I can feel proud of

59. learn a cool yo-yo trick

60. to not break anything in the process

61. to spend Thanksgiving with our family at our house

62. to dress more “snazzily”

63. to carve a pumpkin for Halloween each year

64. to not schedule my life around television

65. to learn how to smile in front of a camera

66. especially when Christine is holding the camera

67. to win a whole boat-load of money in the lottery

68. to learn a cool new origami thing

69. to create a meal using veggies from our garden

70. to have a garden

71. to have a backyard barbecue with our friends

72. to have a backyard to barbecue in

73. to have a grill to barbecue on

74. to know how to make good mixed drinks

75. to eventually figure out Christine’s system of hiding my stuff

76. to eventually not need Christine to hide things on me in the first place

77. to never wear pink socks to a wedding

78. or pretty much never wear pink socks

79. to grow a thriving Chia pet

80. to always find things to shake a stick at

81. to never dress a pet in a holiday festive sweater

82. unless it’s really funny

83. I mean really funny, not just a self-deluded funny

84. to never fall victim of a pirate attack

85. to drink more water

86. to eat less pizza

87. but still eat pizza

88. to actually traverse the Oregon Trail

89. without dying of dysentery

90. take a train across the country

91. to spit into an active volcano

92. to learn how to surf

93. to complete my run of DC Sandman comics

94. to own a vintage Optimus Prime

95. to visit all 50 states

96. to drink a pint of Guinness in Ireland

97. learn to play the ukelele

98. to never be compelled to smell/taste sour milk against my wishes

99. to snorkel in Bora Bora

100. to finish reading Moby Dick(done), War & Peace, Walden, Paradise Lost, and Ulysses

101. to find the means to overcome the resting inertia in my life

102. to be happy

So there it is. I’m impressed if you actually read through the entire thing. Just to be clear, it’s not a “bucket list.” It’s just a list. It may change, it may grow, it may shrink, but hopefully along the way I’ll be able to check some things off.

Knee high by the Fourth of July

Knee high by the fourth of July

Knee high by the Fourth of July.

Or an example of the relative height of maize as compared to the lower extremities of able bodied human beings on the fourth day of the seventh month of the Gregorian calendar.

The wife & I, trying to remember any semblance of normalcy, drove all around the area farms yesterday looking for knee high corn, given the titular colloquialism. To our surprise, we discovered most of the corn was already way past chest height.

After almost giving up on the concept, we found this comparatively stunted crop in a nearby community garden.

The image itself is kind of an inside joke. I have a habit of butchering colloquialisms. Such as “six of one; half dozen of another” in regards to equal quantities, becomes “half of one; six dozen of another,” but still used in the original capacity in a manner of attempted ironic humor.

“Knee high by the Fourth of July” entered our lexicon as “ankle deep on a rainy Thursday in the third week of April” or “hip length on the 17th of June” or “up to your armpits in August” and other such variations of nonsensical meaning.

My wife & I often bat these pseudo-sayings around without regard for our audience, sometimes leading to semi-awkward explanations, akin to the one you’ve just read.

A Eulogy for my Father

My father & his dog Blue.

My father, Svend S. Hansen, passed away on June 23, 2010. He was 66 years old.

Below is the text of the eulogy I delivered at his funeral.

“Last night, I was trying to think of something to say today regarding my father. I found it much harder in practice than it was in concept. I felt as though there was a deep wellspring of things I wanted to say, yet the words somehow failed to freely flow from my mind.

What does one say at the death of their father? How does one convey all the thoughts & emotions that lay muddled beneath the fog of the present? Regrets, while many, seem trite; Grievances, inappropriate; Anger, misplaced; Sorrow, apparent. Yet Love, love seems about right.

I loved him and I knew that I was loved. Dad loved his family, even if he wasn’t always the best at expressing it. He loved his daughters & his sons. He loved his varied hobbies and he loved his friends. He loved sausage and he loved his constant companion, Blue.

But most of all, he loved my mother.

Taken from us far too soon, near 15 years ago now, my father was never quite the same without her. It may be understatement to say that since my mother’s passing, my father was a broken man. But who could blame him? He lost the Love of his life.

But somehow, he persevered and continued to persevere. I would never say it was easy, but he was a survivor. No matter what tribulations life threw at him, he always managed to bounce back; on that it seemed to be it could be depended. Despite whatever problems he faced, I was never worried, because I had learned through sheer repetition that his indomitable spirit would always prevail.

I sometimes wondered about the source of his strength. Where did it come from? How did he consistently overcome such seemingly insurmountable odds? How did he find the fight to keep him going each day?

In the hours immediately following his death, I began to question why was this time different? What had happened this time that he finally didn’t bounce back? What had changed? Why had the challenges finally gotten the better of him, after surviving for so long prior?

Then, while sorting through my father’s papers this week, I discovered a poem he wrote, entitled “A Dream:”

I had a dream,
of a place of bright flowers,
and green fields,
of pure clean waters, and running streams,
with tall mountains and low valleys,
I heard a song so pure,
sung by angels,
singing high on peaks,
and showering down like a heavenly dream,
and this is where I dream of you
you, my love,
I know you’re waiting,
for the time we’ll meet again,
yes, I had a dream that will come true.

In this poem, I found both the answer to my former & current questions. His strength, as best as I can suppose, came from Love, a deep faith in God and the belief that one day he would be reunited with my Mom in heaven. He had survived for nearly a decade & a half, because he was living for that day he would see her again, and now in death, his dream has finally been fulfilled. He didn’t somehow fail this time; no, in the end, his indomitable spirit finally won.

I miss you Dad, but I find solace knowing you’re finally happy again.”

He was interred at Bath National Cemetery with full military honors.

May flies & June bugs….

Fog of Mystery

Fog of Mystery, O'ahu. Vintage Diana F, Ektar 100.

Hello Internet,

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I know, I know, I’m a bad friend leaving you hanging like that. Not a word or a peep or even just a heads up.

Suddenly, it’s June. I know May existed by the subtle carnage it left behind, but as to where it went, only future archaeologists may know….

So yeah. How are things?

Good, good (unless, of course, they aren’t; then you have my sympathies or other appropriate response).

Things have been hectic here. But you know how it is and how it goes and what-not.

Ok.

Well it’s been nice chatting with you.

Hey! Let’s try to keep in touch.

Reminder – World Pinhole Day is April 25th

Hidden Canal, Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool, NY.

Hidden Canal, Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool, NY. Home-made Altoids pinhole, expired T-Max 400 developed in Diafine.

Just a friendly neighborhood reminder that this Sunday! Sunday!! Sunday!!! is World Pinhole Photography Day.

In previous years, I’ve been well-intentioned, but still never quite actually participated.

This year however, I’ve built a custom pinhole camera from an Altoids tin (would that make it a ‘mint-hole’ camera, a ‘pintoid,’ ‘curiously lensless’???) from scratch. There are still some kinks (light leak, frame spacing/film winding) but, knock on wood, I should hopefully have them ironed out by Sunday (Sunday!! Sunday!!!).

For more info:
http://www.pinholeday.org/participate/


Diana F – Surfer Lanikai

Surfer Lanikai

Surfer Lanikai, O'ahu. Vintage Diana F, Ektar 100.

Lanikai Beach, on O’ahu’s windward coast, is a place that existed in my imagination well before I ever knew it actually existed.

It has a beauty that makes any words used to describe it feel brutish & hackneyed in comparison:

– Water that openly defies Crayola with an ever shifting palette of blues and greens not found even in the big box of crayons.

– Sand so soft you could use it as cake flour.

– The sun in the sky so inviting, that you lay back and close your eyes to let the warmth embrace you; yet still feel compelled to open them every couple of seconds to reassure yourself it’s not a dream.

– Two picturesque off-shore islands that so perfectly compliment everything you see around you, you’ll find faith in a higher power, because shit like this doesn’t just happen… this… this is Intelligent Design.

– It inspires hyperbole so thick… uhmmm… you could eat it with a spoon…?

Yeah, sorry about that… got a little carried away there, I suppose.


Ok, ok, one more:

– The ocean, so serene, gently lapping against the subtle sloping shore, that despite being in Hawaii, you nearly wonder aloud “what the hell is that surfer doing here?”

BHF – A couple more from Hawaii

Palm Fronds, O'ahu, fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

Palm Fronds, O'ahu, fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

As I twittered (tweeted, twooted, twinkled, twunctated or twhat-have-you) yesterday, I’ve finally finished scanning all the 120 rolls from my December trip to O’ahu; now I face the Herculean task of processing the rough scans into pretty pictures. At first glance, there are several frames that have caught my eye that I can’t wait to return to later.

The fact I at least finished scanning two consecutive projects (HolgaHike & O’ahu 2009) is progress, in more than the immediate literal sense. I should try to explain.

I’ve been loosely following The Art of Waiting project. The concept, as best I understand it, is that several photographers go out & contemplate ‘waiting’ in their work; then, they themselves (and the audience), have to wait until next year to see the fruit of their labors. I said “loosely” following, mostly because their concept hit a little too close to home: part of what they’re doing as art, I’ve been doing for years out of sheer procrastination.

I have a backlog of twenty-some-odd rolls of 120, some dating back to 2007 and most before I started labeling my rolls with location/camera/date information. So I have a shoe-box’s worth of my mysterious past awaiting to be discovered. Perhaps, instead of feeling traces of guilt about neglecting the past, I should mentally justify my procrastination as ‘art.’

If my negligence was on purpose, then what I’m really doing is just ‘aging’ those rolls, like one would with a fine wine or cheese, to be appreciated at some later date with pinkies out.

Or not.

So the fact that I’m close to completing a project or two, means I can start another with a clearer conscience, which is progress.

Waikiki Morning, O'ahu. fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

Waikiki Morning, O'ahu. fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

Anywho, here is some more recent Hawaiian ‘wine,’ fresh from the box (camera).

The wife & I were strolling along Waikiki beach (as one is wont to do in Waikiki) in the morning on the way back to the hotel from a sunrise breakfast at Duke’s (great view, good coffee, terrible eggs Benedict). The beach itself was still mostly abandoned due to the early hour, so it felt like we had the entire shore to ourselves, which, in & of itself, is a somewhat rare thing in Waikiki.

It was serene.

An amusing aside about Duke’s: our relatively youthful waiter noticed my BHF sitting on the table as he took our drink order; first he asked what it was and then inquired how many mega-pixels it had….

See more:
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009

Holga Hike – Another Beaver Lake Shot

Flooded Meadow, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY.

Flooded Meadow, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY. Holga on Ilford HP5+, developed in Diafine.

Another image from the Holga Hike / Beaver Lake shoot.

The recent snow melt had created a temporary pond around two winter-barren bushes. There were all kinds of little birds frolicking amongst the branches, chirping, hopping and occasionally splashing away.

Even though I stealthily approached the scene in my best Elmer Fudd-esque stalk, my fine feathered friends all took flight before I could even raise the camera. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have been humming the Pink Panther theme out-loud.

Anyway, now looking at the image I ended up capturing, I don’t think it would’ve actually made much of a difference if they had stayed, as they prolly would’ve been indiscernible in the details.

Oh well.

Sorry for the dearth of updates lately. Physical therapy on my stupid knee has been taking its toll on my motivation, if not free-time.


Holga Hike – Beaver Lake Nature Center

Wood Swamp, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY. Holga on Ilford HP5+, developed in Diafine.

Alas & alack, it just wasn’t meant to be…

I didn’t submit my Holga Hike image in time due to a mix of FedEx fumbling the delivery date of my fresh developer, family visiting for Easter and a misinterpretation of a vague deadline.

C’est la vie.

The good news is Randy from HolgaMods assures me that he’ll be running another Holga Hike in the Fall. So hopefully I’ll have better luck with that one.

At the very least, I was able take my wife on a lovely nature walk around Beaver Lake, while enjoying the beautiful first day of Spring; that was more than enough of a reward in & of itself.

Oh, and I also ended up taking a couple of photographs as well (all images taken with a Holga on Ilford HP5+, developed in Diafine):

Bush

Bush

Fallen Leaves, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY.

Fallen Leaves

Sapling, Beaver Lake, Baldswinsville, NY.

Sapling

Trees above, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY.

Trees above


Diamond Head

Diamond Head Sunrise

Diamond Head Sunrise, Waikiki, HI. Canon 40D, PS.

Diamond Head, the iconic Hawaiian volcano, is probably one of the most photographed mountains in the world and, as a good tourist on O’ahu, I tried my best to do my part.

From sea to summit, Diamond Head rises 762 feet; fortunately, the hiking trail inside the crater already spots you two-hundred feet of elevation for a modest 560 foot climb over a 3/4 mile to the top. I say ‘fortunately,’ because after the roughly 160 steps to the top and an odd little ladder scramble to the summit, my knees felt like they were made of molten iron, and not in a good ‘molten iron’ kind of way.

But the views from on top were worth it.

Waikiki from Diamond Head

Waikiki from Diamond Head, Canon 40D.

Waikiki as seen from Diamond Head

Waikiki as seen from Diamond Head, O'ahu. fBHF on Ektar 100.

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Diamond Head Lighthouse, O'ahu, HI. Canon 40D.

Windswept Bush on Diamond Head

Windswept Bush on Diamond Head, O'ahu. fBHF on Ektar 100.



Read more

BHF – Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

"Aging Gracefully - Waikiki, HI." fBHF on Kodak Ektar 100.

Ah… this has to be one of my favorite shots from our last Hawaiian adventure.

My wife and I waxed poetic about this older couple walking Waikiki beach hand-in-hand in front of us. We playfully envisioned them as though we were staring thirty-or-so years into our future: still in Hawaii, still madly in love, flaunting what we still had left, as we stroll along the sandy shore, the azure Pacific lapping at our feet and the sunshine warming our wrinkling skin as it gently flaps in the breeze.

I teased my wife that I’d be lucky if she still wore bikinis that far into the future; she said she’d be lucky if I ever wore a Speedo. I replied that it would probably take the full thirty years just for me to squeeze my fat-ass into a Speedo and humanity would probably be for the better if I never tried.

She heartily disagreed, so I gave her thirty years to change my mind.

See more:
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009

Holga Hike Today

Today’s the day!!!

Both Spring & the Holga Hike are here. Shake off those Winter blues by getting outdoors with your Holga and capturing the pleasant pastels of Spring (or lovely black & whites, if you’re so inclined…).

Just remember to submit your image by April 5th.

I was already out & about with my trusty Holga during the first training run of the Mountain Goat Run at The Armory in downtown Syracuse (my wife was running, I just puttered around while waiting; I had a pretty good cup of coffee though).

I’m not sure if I’m completely happy with what I’ve shot already, so weather permitting, I’ll probably go out again later this afternoon to try to take some photographs that are a tad less urban and a bit more rustic.

Maybe Beaver Lake would be an idyllic destination.

Holga Hike logo © HolgaMods; used with permission.