August 8, 2013
Shovel Point, Tettegouche State Park on Flickr.I like panoramas and I like the dreamy images a Holga. In the past, I’ve experimented with in-camera panoramas using a Holga and with stitching two images (or more) together in the computer. Both have their charms, but I was really excited when I heard last year that Holga was coming out with a 6x12 (actually closer to a 1:2.35 cinematic aspect ratio) panoramic camera. It was initially priced at above $90, but recently the prices came down to the $50 range—-a steal for so much camera! I bought one for myself as a little gift for taking the bar exam. Anyway, it’s a perfect landscape camera, especially after a few modifications:
1. Velcro-ed half of a clothespin to the top for use as a long exposure trigger. There is no screw-in bulb shutter on the 120 Pan, but it’s pretty easy to shove a clothespin into the little space between the shutter lever (Holgas have a little lever on the side of the lens that you press down to activate the shutter, pretty simple). 
2. Sprayed Plasti-Dip onto the shutter lever to provide added grip for the clothespin so that it wouldn’t slip out of place during a long exposure. Holga lenses are really easy to take off of the body (thinking about putting on on a 4x5 camera for a dreamy wide-angle; I think the image circle will be just large enough for 4x5 since it’s wide enough for 12cm film already). I just removed the shutter lever from the lens, sprayed it, and re-installed it. 
3. Fit a 46-52cm step-up ring into the end of the lens so I can use my filters, especially my 10-stop B+W used in this image. The lens has no threads, but it’s plastic, so a step-up ring can be forced into the lens as a semi-permanent modification. This also allows use of a screw-in lens hood. I used a 28mm Nikon hood and there were no signs that it obstructed the image—-I think the field of view on the wide end is roughly 32mm (it’s a 90mm lens). I think the ability to use filters is really important for Holgas because of the one-speed shutter when not in bulb mode. Using the normal shutter gives you limited options as you are stuck with 1 film (give or take a stop or two depending on the film and the lighting), 1 shutter speed (about 1/100th), and 2 apertures (relatively small at f/13 and f/20). Use of heavy filters allows you to stretch out exposure time to seconds or minutes which expands the flexibility of the camera since you just need a tripod and some time for almost any lighting situation. Bright, bright sun is about 15 seconds with a 10-stop filter and ISO 100 film at f/22. The cool thing is is that you can shoot at high-noon and at dusk with the same film—-all you need to do is be a little thoughtful about filter use and have a tripod and be in bulb mode.  
4. Created a chart with exposure values for situations I’m likely to encounter that I pasted onto the back of the camera. I measured the aperture opening and found aperture values of roughly f/20 and f/13 for the ‘sunny’ and ‘cloudy’ settings the Holga generously gives the user. I added shutter speeds for f/22 to my chart corresponding to the EV as well as the shutter speeds with a 10-stop filter. Now, I can keep the filter on the camera at all times (the viewfinder is separate) and don’t need a digital camera to meter or a light meter. For the above shot, I think I used an EV of 12 or so (cloudy) and had a corresponding exposure of 2 minutes. Fuji Acros has almost no reciprocity failure, so no need to account for that here. 
This was a really fun camera to add to my arsenal. The images keep that dreamy Holga look, especially at the edges, but retain the detail and tonality inherent in a 6x12cm slice of film. More to come…

Shovel Point, Tettegouche State Park on Flickr.

I like panoramas and I like the dreamy images a Holga. In the past, I’ve experimented with in-camera panoramas using a Holga and with stitching two images (or more) together in the computer. Both have their charms, but I was really excited when I heard last year that Holga was coming out with a 6x12 (actually closer to a 1:2.35 cinematic aspect ratio) panoramic camera. It was initially priced at above $90, but recently the prices came down to the $50 range—-a steal for so much camera! I bought one for myself as a little gift for taking the bar exam. Anyway, it’s a perfect landscape camera, especially after a few modifications:

1. Velcro-ed half of a clothespin to the top for use as a long exposure trigger. There is no screw-in bulb shutter on the 120 Pan, but it’s pretty easy to shove a clothespin into the little space between the shutter lever (Holgas have a little lever on the side of the lens that you press down to activate the shutter, pretty simple).
2. Sprayed Plasti-Dip onto the shutter lever to provide added grip for the clothespin so that it wouldn’t slip out of place during a long exposure. Holga lenses are really easy to take off of the body (thinking about putting on on a 4x5 camera for a dreamy wide-angle; I think the image circle will be just large enough for 4x5 since it’s wide enough for 12cm film already). I just removed the shutter lever from the lens, sprayed it, and re-installed it.
3. Fit a 46-52cm step-up ring into the end of the lens so I can use my filters, especially my 10-stop B+W used in this image. The lens has no threads, but it’s plastic, so a step-up ring can be forced into the lens as a semi-permanent modification. This also allows use of a screw-in lens hood. I used a 28mm Nikon hood and there were no signs that it obstructed the image—-I think the field of view on the wide end is roughly 32mm (it’s a 90mm lens). I think the ability to use filters is really important for Holgas because of the one-speed shutter when not in bulb mode. Using the normal shutter gives you limited options as you are stuck with 1 film (give or take a stop or two depending on the film and the lighting), 1 shutter speed (about 1/100th), and 2 apertures (relatively small at f/13 and f/20). Use of heavy filters allows you to stretch out exposure time to seconds or minutes which expands the flexibility of the camera since you just need a tripod and some time for almost any lighting situation. Bright, bright sun is about 15 seconds with a 10-stop filter and ISO 100 film at f/22. The cool thing is is that you can shoot at high-noon and at dusk with the same film—-all you need to do is be a little thoughtful about filter use and have a tripod and be in bulb mode.
4. Created a chart with exposure values for situations I’m likely to encounter that I pasted onto the back of the camera. I measured the aperture opening and found aperture values of roughly f/20 and f/13 for the ‘sunny’ and ‘cloudy’ settings the Holga generously gives the user. I added shutter speeds for f/22 to my chart corresponding to the EV as well as the shutter speeds with a 10-stop filter. Now, I can keep the filter on the camera at all times (the viewfinder is separate) and don’t need a digital camera to meter or a light meter. For the above shot, I think I used an EV of 12 or so (cloudy) and had a corresponding exposure of 2 minutes. Fuji Acros has almost no reciprocity failure, so no need to account for that here.

This was a really fun camera to add to my arsenal. The images keep that dreamy Holga look, especially at the edges, but retain the detail and tonality inherent in a 6x12cm slice of film. More to come…

June 20, 2013
Superior Storm on Flickr.Crown Graphic | 135mm Optar | f/22 | Ilford HP5+ | Yellow filter | XTOL (1:2)
Last weekend, the hardest rain came in the sunshine, which made for an interesting drive along the North Shore. The atmosphere was really unstable as small thunderstorms developed and quickly moved across the lake. This was one of the bigger ones. We were driving back to Two Harbors with burgers on the mind when I saw the storm over the lake. Living in the city makes it hard to appreciate the magnitude of Midwest storms. Luckily, I was able to find an overlook to make this image. 4x5 captures so much detail and I knew that HP5 would record the subtle tonality in the clouds; the only thing I had to do was point and shoot (as much as you can with a vintage 4x5 press camera!).

Superior Storm on Flickr.

Crown Graphic | 135mm Optar | f/22 | Ilford HP5+ | Yellow filter | XTOL (1:2)

Last weekend, the hardest rain came in the sunshine, which made for an interesting drive along the North Shore. The atmosphere was really unstable as small thunderstorms developed and quickly moved across the lake. This was one of the bigger ones. We were driving back to Two Harbors with burgers on the mind when I saw the storm over the lake. Living in the city makes it hard to appreciate the magnitude of Midwest storms. Luckily, I was able to find an overlook to make this image. 4x5 captures so much detail and I knew that HP5 would record the subtle tonality in the clouds; the only thing I had to do was point and shoot (as much as you can with a vintage 4x5 press camera!).

August 20, 2012
Storm over Valley II on Flickr.Prints  | tumblr 
Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3

Storm over Valley II on Flickr.

Prints | tumblr

Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3

August 11, 2012
Dusk over the Mountains on Flickr.Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3
This is a three-shot holgarama, each frame is approximately a one minute exposure (it was pretty damn dark out).

Dusk over the Mountains on Flickr.

Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3

This is a three-shot holgarama, each frame is approximately a one minute exposure (it was pretty damn dark out).

August 9, 2012
Storm over Valley, Holga on Flickr.This officially kicks off the film photographs I took over the past week in the Black Hills and in the Rockies of Colorado. I’d kill for a nice digital camera (fingers crossed that the Nikon D600 is real and that all D700 owners sell their rigs for cheap to pick up the new toy so I can buy cheap on the flooded used market!), but sometimes film, especially film shot on a plastic lens, gets results that digital could only dream about. I was struck by how many photographers, undoubtedly all amateurs like myself, were out shooting in the mountains. I wonder, if 1,000,000 people take a picture in the same spot, will there be 1,000,000 identical results? Obviously not, but with digital the chances are much higher. The dynamic range of the negative I started with would not be possible on one shot using digital. Even with HDR, the result would somehow look digital, processed. The reason I’m still out shooting with film (and my iPhone) is because it’s not always a different perspective that yields a unique photograph of a popular subject; sometimes it’s the medium. On that day, my medium was of the medium format film, plastic camera variety. Long live the Holga!

Storm over Valley, Holga on Flickr.

This officially kicks off the film photographs I took over the past week in the Black Hills and in the Rockies of Colorado. I’d kill for a nice digital camera (fingers crossed that the Nikon D600 is real and that all D700 owners sell their rigs for cheap to pick up the new toy so I can buy cheap on the flooded used market!), but sometimes film, especially film shot on a plastic lens, gets results that digital could only dream about. I was struck by how many photographers, undoubtedly all amateurs like myself, were out shooting in the mountains. I wonder, if 1,000,000 people take a picture in the same spot, will there be 1,000,000 identical results? Obviously not, but with digital the chances are much higher. The dynamic range of the negative I started with would not be possible on one shot using digital. Even with HDR, the result would somehow look digital, processed. The reason I’m still out shooting with film (and my iPhone) is because it’s not always a different perspective that yields a unique photograph of a popular subject; sometimes it’s the medium. On that day, my medium was of the medium format film, plastic camera variety. Long live the Holga!

March 15, 2012
Light and Sand on Flickr.Mamiya 645 1000s | Mamiya Sekor-C 80mm f/1.9 (shot at f/11) | Red filter | Ilford FP4+ | XTOL (1:1)
This is the first shot here from my recent trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. It was amazing—-I’ve never seen so much sand in my life! Trying to photograph the dunes is an adventure, partly because you’re basically in a sandblaster, and also because conditions change so quickly. I took this shot in the waning afternoon light just after the sun came out from behind the clouds. I had taken a shot about 3 minutes prior which was uninteresting because of the lack of shadow definition. After all, the dunes are just big piles of sand without interesting light and shadows…

Light and Sand on Flickr.

Mamiya 645 1000s | Mamiya Sekor-C 80mm f/1.9 (shot at f/11) | Red filter | Ilford FP4+ | XTOL (1:1)

This is the first shot here from my recent trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. It was amazing—-I’ve never seen so much sand in my life! Trying to photograph the dunes is an adventure, partly because you’re basically in a sandblaster, and also because conditions change so quickly. I took this shot in the waning afternoon light just after the sun came out from behind the clouds. I had taken a shot about 3 minutes prior which was uninteresting because of the lack of shadow definition. After all, the dunes are just big piles of sand without interesting light and shadows…