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.
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.
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.
UPDATE: www.toycamerabook.com has a flash-based preview of the book available for your perusal.
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.
Well it’s been nice chatting with you.
Hey! Let’s try to keep in touch.
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:
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?”
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.
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.
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….
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009
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.
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.
Alas & alack, it just wasn’t meant to be…
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):
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.
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.
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009
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.
Somewhere along the way, my vintage Diana F developed a dastardly light leak in the upper left-hand side of the frame (lower-right image).
As opposed to a beneficial or relatively benign light leak, I’d say this one ruined several rolls of film from Hawaii, except ‘ruined’ is such an ugly word.
How about I just say it ‘challenged’ the composition of several of my shots?
When dealing with crappy cameras, you learn to expect the unexpected. Sometimes the magic gives you unicorns riding motorcycles; other times it gives you toads.
Mind you, they’re still magical toads, so with some effort you still might be able to finagle it into a Princess; but then again, sometimes all you end up with are warts.
The above image is my attempt at saving a princess from an eternity of toad-dom. It’s definitely not the image I had conceived when I shot it, but I think it works. The mirrored symmetry of the new composition balances out the unevenness of the original.
So the good news is that it only took me the better part of fifteen minutes today to diagnose the leak in the Diana F (around where the viewfinder & the flash contacts meet) & plug it with ‘fun-tack’ (you know, that ubiquitous sticky putty adhering beer posters to walls in dorm rooms all across our nation’s colleges & universities).
The bad news is I still have a whole bunch of amphibians waiting for their turn to be kissed.
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.
Another image from my trip to O’ahu this past December. My wife & I were hurrying along, trying to get from the hotel to the House Without a Key for cocktails, after spending a little bit too long at the beach that day. We had just started our mile-long stroll when I startled my wife by suddenly running out into the middle of the street, just to capture the scene relatively unobstructed with my favorite blurry-cam.
Of course, my wife chided me for violating the “No running out into traffic while in Hawaii” rule, but I think the result was worth it.
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009
Ah… the signs of Spring’s imminent arrival keep popping up around me: Temperatures are rising and the snow is beginning to melt, robins are roosting and geese are returning from their southernly sojourn, and probably most tell-tale, I finally wore my Chucks outside for the first time this year; although on March 20th, the first official day of Spring, I may temporarily trade my Chucks in for a pair of hiking boots.
“If hiking is good for you, then hiking with a Holga is even better, right?”
No arguments here.
Holga Hike logo © HolgaMods; used with permission.
The article is a general survey of toy cameras for the uninitiated (generally sticking to the Lomography retail line-up) and includes several digital means to reproduce the toy camera and Polaroid aesthetics.
While the semanticist in me disagrees with the inclusion of the Lomo LC-A, which to me would be better classified as a low fidelity (lo-fi) camera, as it has more bells & whistles than a typical “toy” camera and what’s left of the analog purist in me partially disagrees with digital imitation on a core level, I do have to say I am flattered that the author saw fit to include my image as representative of what can be achieved with a Holga.
This specific image, in particular, I have always felt unsure about. According to Flickr, it’s one of my most popular images, except I could never ascertain if that was because it was a good photograph or if it had something to do with a prurient phenomena of bikinis on the internet.
Maybe it’s a little of both and maybe “prurient” is too strong of a word. The image has more going on than just the foreground subjects and an easy rule in photography:
Pretty girls often make for a pretty picture.
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.
I’m starting to process some of the multitudes of images I captured on O’ahu this past December. The above photograph was taken at a tourist pull-off on the Pali Highway, a scenic route that takes you over (and through) the mountains from Honolulu to Kailua on the windward coast.
By its nature, it’s a shot that probably untold millions of tourists had taken before me and a shot that millions of untold tourists will continue to take in the future; in my imagination however, I’d like to think I was the first to use a vintage Diana F with Kodak Ektar 100 to make a multiple-exposure panoramic.
I’ll continue to process these images for now, as my wife is itching to scrapbook/album our entire vacation and wants to see what I have to contribute. So, I’ll post anything of interest here and then bulk load the rest up to flickr.
In blog news:
- – I’m learning enough CSS to finally tweak most of the little things that I disliked about the blog layout. I’m still not 100% satisfied, as I still don’t truly understand why certain aspects refuse to change, despite my better efforts; but I’ll continue to work on it.
- – If anyone out there is knowledgeable in WordPress, how do I get to fool around with the ‘dynamic_sidebar’? I want to have widget-specific CSS, but the sidebar doesn’t separate label widgets independently. Am I even making any sense?
Last year, I received a Polaroid PoGo printer for Christmas and with it came daydreams of creating a photo-a-day journal in a series of Moleskine Cahier notebooks….
I never made it out of January.
My beloved new gadget wasn’t what I hoped it would be… instead of being a source of inspiration, it became a major frustration. So, soon it sat on a shelf gathering dust.
The PoGo is designed to be a mobile printer: a small, battery powered, pocket-size device that could print small 2×3 low fidelity pictures on the go. A pseudo-replacement for the middle ground between film & digital photography lost after Polaroid bewilderingly discontinued its namesake instant films.
You would no longer need a bulky Polaroid camera with expensive film to have that instant gratification of physically holding a photograph you just captured… any digital camera would do, even your always-on-you cell phone (as long as your device had bluetooth or was PictBridge enabled and had a USB cable with you).
Sounded good enough to me.
The updating here at expiredfilm.com has been a little lax of late, as I have been thinking of doing some sort of a major overhaul of the site design. I want to move away from WordPress being the index and content manager of the site. I’ll keep WP around as a component of the site, but I think I want something more immeadiate for you the viewer.
Instead of just seeing whatever I happened to have posted last, I want you to see some of my best images right away; not have to notice the Gallery link on the right and have to navagate there, then wait for the page to load, then have to click on a thumbnail, then wait for the image to load, etc, etc etc….
I want “Here, this is what I’m about!!!” as soon as the browser resolves www.expiredfilm.com. I don’t want to be just another generic flash slideshow either, but I want to do more than I have now.
So with all these wants, the question now is “how?”
Flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash on redscaled expired 35mm Kodak Gold 400.
Shot for World Toy Camera Day, October 18, 2008.