Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week 23: bike cops of Boston

I've put three rolls of film through the new Holga panorama camera, the first two were B/W (Efke 50 if you're interested) and third roll was from a new pack of Kodak 400 VC Portra film.

I have learned a few things.

First - the Portra film scans pretty well. Even with the complete guess work that went into the original exposure, and the fact that a lot of the frames were underexposed, the film still scanned well. The trouble I've been having with scanning Velvia or other thick emulsion film is kinda driving me to stick to color negative.

Second - I'm generally OK with the look you get from Holga cameras. The expected vignetting, and even the light leaks are tolerable and sometimes they create some interesting and pleasant surprises. I think I am getting a bit impatient though, and a bit less tolerant of the unexpected. Also, with a plastic lens (or pinhole in a piece of metal in this case) you're never going to get a crisp shot, and it's unfair to expect that of a Holga. I think I am getting to a point where I value sharp focus, and with the Holga you're just not gonna get it, so I expect that I won't be using this camera all that much going forward.

Third - most police officers are camera shy...

There was a parade starting at the back entrance of City Hall that I just happened to stumble upon this week. I saw a lineup of bike cops and thought it would make a good shot, so I asked one if I could take their picture. They said no, but I was welcome to shoot the bikes. Little did they know that the plastic brick I had mounted to the tripod captured a 120degree field of view. So the cops are there, lurking in the shadows, ready to hop on their bikes and hum the CHiPs theme song.

I took two more shots from the parade that day, consider them outtakes --

So it may be a while before I post another set of shots using this camera, but then again it may not. The Portra film does look nice, and I like the width of these shots a lot. Maybe I need to just experiment with some better subjects.


inHERdarkroom said...

Don't stop shooting the WPC!!!! :) I love your images. Also, to get rid of that hard vignette at the edge, I took my Dremel and shaved off the edge of the hole on the front of the camera to make it wider. Now my vignette is more "natural" looking.

Matt Allen Photography said...

whoa! I'll have to look into that vignette thing - did you follow any instructions you can point me to, or did you just wing it?

Matt Haines said...

When dealing with unsharp images (like pinhole, plastic lenses etc) it makes sense to stick with very simple subjects. Don't shoot landscapes, street scenes or things that are super detailed, because it will be disappointing. Shoot what the camera is good at: dreamy, simple things. Same actually goes for wide angle cameras like your panorama: the more stuff a camera can squeeze into the shot, the less you need to make sure is actually in the shot. Give it another try and perhaps you'll think differently.

Matt Allen Photography said...

Thanks for the encouraging words Matt - I won't be giving up on the WPC anytime soon, I just need to set proper expectations next time I go out with her.