Probably the last roll of film I ever (or will ever) shoot.

With all this time on my hands lately, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning, and going through junk that I haven’t seen, or even thought about in years. On the top shelf, at the back of a closet, I found my old ‘Diana’  that I bought years ago when the hipsters started popularizing film cameras. It’s an all plastic toy camera that uses 120 (medium format) film. Has palm trees, camels, and pyramids screened onto the body, and is a perfect match for the thousands of packages of Camel cigarettes I’ve smoked over the years.

Looks hilarious, because it is hilarious.

A hundred bucks or so, got me the camera, and two lenses. For another thirty, I grabbed a ‘fish eye’ lens, and the viewfinder you see perched on top of the body above.

Obviously, it’s completely manual -there’s no meter, and you have to hand crank the film through it, and because there’s no ‘stops,’ you have to be pretty sure you’ve twisted the advance knob enough, or else you’ll end up shooting another exposure over the one you’ve just taken.

For a camera that was geared towards, and marketed to kids -or folks who didn’t want to shell out the shekels for a real camera, there’s a surprising amount of photographic knowledge a user has to have to get anything approaching ‘good.’

But that’s not the point.

The whole idea was to embrace the vignetting, the light leaks, the double exposures, the colour cast, the… The marketing slogan should have been something like WE provide you with the shit, YOU get to take the fucked up pictures!”

After about five rolls of film, the novelty wore off. I quickly tired of having to pay for images that I knew were going to be awful. (I can take awful picture anytime I want to -for free!)

Was it a waste of money? Hell no! I’ve got a cute little plastic camera that sits on my fake mantle piece in my living room, that is an interesting talking point for guests, and visitors I never have over.

Slipped one past the editor

Photo: Carl Racine/Reuters

Reading up on HRH The Queen’s speech in the BBC today, like a good little colonial does, when I scroll down the page and see the above image. Holy Hell!! LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT KIDS HEAD!!! It’s the son of The Great Gazoo!

Good reason to be careful when shooting with ultra wide-angle lenses.   …or not…

I like to think that the fella that took the shot noticed, but sent it in to see if it’d get past the photo editor.


Nocturnal Activities

Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean you have to put away your camera. In fact, quite a few shots I’ve taken at night have wound up being some of my favorites. Through the lens of a camera, the world looks a lot different. Shadows are deeper, light sources can seem brighter, colours get skewed, and with a couple of easy tricks, you can actually warp the time-space continuum! 

Look at the above photo which took about 25 seconds to expose. If you look at any given point along where the tracks are -if you could see them, a big part of the train passed through it during the time of the exposure. But you can see right through it in some places! 25 seconds, and if they’re passing at roughly one car a second, that’s 25 freight cars. 25 freight cars all at once, occupying the same space -and yet in some places, you can see right through it! Jesus! 25 freight cars are there, but NOT there!

By introducing a basic Lorentz transformation with simple kinematics one could easily show that using mass and energy, it becomes mere child’s play to curve flat spacetime into a Pseudo-Riemannian manifold! 


But don’t think about all that shit. Just take the picture.

A few years ago, the power went out in my neighborhood for a couple of hours. ‘Why freeze your balls off at home, when you can just as easily freeze them off outside taking pictures,’ I thought. Got a couple of reasonably clichéed long exposures of auto headlights, but with no extraneous (ambient?) light.

If you’ve got a camera that captures reasonably high ISOs (3200), with a lens that will open up to, say, f2, you don’t even need the tripod for other types of pictures. This next shot was taken just minutes after the Raptors had won the championship. Everybody seemed to want to have their picture taken.

If you shoot colour, the light that’s illuminating your subject will change the colour, or project a colour cast. Plus, because it’s coming from a different place other than the sky above, shadows are a lot different. Below, the left side has tungsten (yellow-ish) lighting, the right neon. (green-ish)

All you really need is a tripod, and a way to trigger the shutter on your camera without touching it. Self timer works, as does a cable release. My brand of camera, Fuji, has an app that lets me remotely trigger my shutter. You might even want to see if your camera has the ability to switch to ‘electronic’ shutter mode. That way, you don’t even get the tiny vibrations known as ‘shutter slap’ when firing off a shot.

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