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.

Category Archives: B&W

FNCE 2010 – Anthony Bourdain 2

Anthony Bourdain at FNCE 2010, Boston.

Ok, fine. Here’s one where you can actually see Anthony Bourdain‘s face. I like to imagine he’s singing “O Sole Mio,” but alas and a lack, he wasn’t.

He was the closing speaker at this past year’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Boston, giving a talk entitled “How to stop worrying and enjoy globalization.”

I thought he was an odd choice to address a room filled with registered dietitians, given his predilection towards… shall we say… foods on the “unhealthy”* side of the spectrum.

Yet Bourdain was funny, engaging and he assuaged any fears of being contrarian to modern dietetic paradigms, by acknowledging he was a father who wanted what was best for his child. The dietitians, for their part, had no reservations about Bourdain (no bad pun intended) embracing & applauding his commonsense point of views and raucously laughing at his witty banter impugning his fellow celebrity chef/ tv personalites Rachael Ray, Paula Dean, & current first-lady of New York, Sandra Lee.

I had some prior reservations about his talk, stemming from the whole “enjoy globalization” part of his title. But instead of espousing a nihilistic homogenized western culture that dominates and eradicates indigenous cultures (as I tend to connotate globalization), he was rather suggesting that we take the opportunity to expose ourselves to other cultures & cuisines, while we still have the chance.

Part of the whole “be a traveler, not a tourist” and “eat like a local” concepts that I wholeheartedly support.

So yeah. Good stuff.

*I put “unhealthy” in quotes, as I try not to think of food as “healthy” or “unhealthy,” but rather follow a philosophy, given to me by my dietitian wife, that every food has its place and everything should be taken in moderation, including moderation.

FNCE 2010 – Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain at FNCE 2010, Boston.

Quiet Morning in the Adirondacks II

Lake Eaton, NY

Quiet Morning in the Adirondacks

Lake Eaton, NY

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/


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


My Favorite Photographer

Central Park Cherry Blossom

Central Park Cherry Blossom, flipped lens BHF, Ilford hp5+, developed in Diafine

So apparently I’m not above a little bit of open pandering for free film.

UPDATE 03.16.10: I didn’t win the free film. Oh well.

Who is my favorite photographer? I’m not necessarily sure I’ve ever truly pondered that question before.

Of course, my mind goes to such luminaries as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Andreas Feininger & Walker Evans, but have they visibly influenced my work, other than inspiring me to pick up a camera?

Then, what of my low-fidelity brethren, if I may aspire to call them as much? The toycamera.com community has consistently challenged me to become a better photographer through their wit, comradery, advice and jaw-dropping talent. Yet, dare I single out one particular photographer from the whole?

I guess, push come to shove, I’d have to say my favorite photographer is me. Not out of hubris or any sense of vanity, but rather out of necessity. I need to believe in myself as a photographer, not just as a man with a camera. My wife has already sacrificed so much to allow me to pursue my passions, I owe it to her, if not myself, to follow through with my dreams. It’s been a gradual process; a bit slower than either one of us originally imagined. The current economy hasn’t helped. But I’m getting there.

What would I do with the film?

I’d use it.

To capture images, to build a stronger portfolio, to find my own distinctive visual voice. One-hundred rolls of film roughly equals 1200 shots in a Holga or BHF; 1600 in a Diana; or 900 shots in a Kodak Jiffy. That’s a lot of man-hours of work, in shooting, processing, scanning and editing, so I don’t enter this contest lightly. It’s a hard-sworn promise to rededicate & immerse myself into my craft.

Why am I my favorite photographer?

Because I’m always eager to see what I’m going to do next.

How to flip a Brownie Hawkeye Flash lens

Brownie Hawkeye Flash

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

I’ve noticed a lot of search traffic hitting my site specifically looking for information on how to flip the lens of a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash (BHF). While there are probably multitudes of other resources on the interwebs, I figure I’ll just throw my two-cents out there.

For those who don’t know, the BHF is a black bakelite beauty with a top-down viewfinder, single element meniscus lens, shutter speed somewhere around 1/30 to 1/60 & a bulb setting, while it lacks a tripod mount, it has a nifty handle. In it’s heyday, the BHF was a very popular camera. Your grandparents most likely had one. Nowadays, you can find them cheaply at thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and eBay, or for a higher premium decorating shelves in antique stores & hipster boutiques.

I got mine for free on Craigslist thanks to a kind-hearted Samaritan who was donating several cameras to anyone who could justify receiving one. I simply wrote “I’ll use it.” It arrived in the mail a couple days later and I’ve been enthralled with it ever since.

Anywho, an unmodified BHF takes a relatively normal photograph, but something magical happens when you flip the lens. It’s like the soft focus of a vintage Diana multiplied to the Nth degree. The lens’ focal point shifts from infinity to about 3 feet in the center, while the edges just melt away into blurry goodness. The effect can be quite surreal.

Flipping the lens of a BHF is actually a simple procedure with a very low-risk of permanently #@$%-ing anything up and is easily reversible. That said, I assume no responsibility with these directions if you somehow manage to accidentally bork your favorite family heirloom.

Ready? Let’s get flipping.

Read more

BHF – Bridge to the Adirondacks

bhf-adk-bridge1a
Yet another flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash, Rollei Retro 400 developed in Diafine. Tinted in PS.

BHF – More from the Adirondacks

bhf-lp-road1
NY 86, near Lake Placid, NY.

bhf-lp-ausableriver5reedtree
Ausable River.

bhf-lp-gorge
High Falls Gorge.

All taken with a flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash, Rollei Retro 400 developed in Diafine.

BHF – Ausable River

bhf-lp-ausableriver1
The western branch of the Ausable River, near Lake Placid, NY.

Flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash, Rollei Retro 400 developed in Diafine.

Phantastic Phear

Phantastic Phear
Serendipitous Holga double-exposure. Kodak BW400CN.

Expired Film – Dragonfly

kbf-cny-dragonfly
Taken with a Kodak Brownie Fiesta on expired (Nov 1962) Montgomery Ward Panchromatic 127 film, developed in Diafine.

BHF – Strawberry Picking

bhf-cny-bucket
Bucket of strawberries @ Hafner’s Farm, Baldwinsville, NY.

Kodak Brownie Haweye Flash with a flipped lens; Ilford HP5 Plus developed in Diafine.

Diana F – Tree bark

dianaf-olp-bark
Tree root on the shore of Onondaga Lake.

Shot with a vintage Diana F on Fuji Neopan 400 developed in Diafine.

Haudenosaunee Peace Tree

holga-olp-peacetree
The Haudenosaunee Peace Tree in Onondaga Lake Park.

Holga with red filter, Ilford HP5 Plus developed in Diafine.

Kodak Jiffy II

IMG_2000a
The Kodak Jiffy II, a nifty $5 find at a recent garage sale.

A folding 6×9 ‘six-20’ camera with two viewfinders (horizontal & vertical), the original Jiffy had a really cool Art-Deco motif; the sequel here just has a plain black faux leather covering. It has a ‘twindar’ lens with two focus settings: ‘5-10ft’ & ‘beyond 10ft’; two shutter speeds: ‘I’ (about 1/60) and ‘T’ (bulb) and two apertures as well.

It needed some TLC after I purchased it. After a thorough cleaning, the biggest problems were a sticky shutter and folding mechanism. Careful application of some ball-bearing oil resolved both issues. As Kodak discontinued  its ‘six-20’ film for quite some time now, I trimmed the plastic spindle on a roll of 120 film and used the metal 620 take up spool that came with the camera.
Read more

Chittenango Falls & The Parking lot of Green Lake State Park

holga_chittenango

holga_reeds2

holga_reeds

holga_tree

Ithaca Falls Holga

 

holga_ithacafallstreea

A shot of Ithaca Falls taken with a Holga 120CFN with a vintage Kodak red filter on Rollei Retro 400 film (Afga APX equivalent) and developed in a fresh solution of Diafine. Scanned with an Epson v500, curves slightly tweaked in PS.