Hell Freezes Over

August 31st, 2007

Untitled 1 Hell Freezes Over That’s one possible explanation. Others say it’s a sure sign of the apocalypse. I shot a roll of film yesterday. That’s the first time this century.

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I’ve been playing around with a Holga lens mounted on my Nikon D200. I started wondering what it would do with a full size 35mm frame. It’s nice and soft in the corners, so the larger frame should be softer. Since the D3 isn’t available yet, the only way to find out was with a film camera.

So I got one of my old FE2s out of the cabinet and went to the camera store and got a new battery for it and a few rolls of film. Then I called up trusty friend and model Nemesis who came on in to my studio on the spur of the moment along with her husband.

It was a different shoot for me. I tend to shoot a lot with my digital cameras and sort it out later. This time I only shot one roll of 36 exposures. It took some adjusting. I shot 35mm for many, many years…starting as a newspaper photographer in 1968…but it really has been a long time since I shot film. When I took the first frame I pulled the camera away from my face and looked at the back for the histogram…hmmmm…hope the meter is working right…and then I tried to take the second frame, but the camera wouldn’t fire…oh…you have to wind this little lever…how quaint. How did I ever manage to work this way?

But at least the Holga lens is a bit easier to focus with a real focusing screen with aides in it instead of the clear screens on autofocus cameras. And the FE is a sweet camera…I fell back into the groove with it very quickly. Not surprising since they were my primary cameras for 20 years or so before digital came along.

I don’t see a lot of difference in these photos, although that may be because of the lighting I chose for this test…and maybe the fact that I was able to focus more accurately with the FE. It does seem pretty soft at the bottom edge of the photo. Nice highlights blending into the shadows. I have several more rolls of film to shoot, so I’ll try some different things with them and let you see the results.

But, so far I find the Holga lens to be a fine soft focus lens. A real bargain at the price compared to the ridiculously overpriced Lensbaby. Too bad it comes attached to a Holga camera. In my opinion the best thing to ever happen to a Holga was to have the lens hacked off and put on a real camera. But I do tend to have an attitude about the random disasters that Holga users seem to be fond of dealing with.

Thanks Nemi for being so readily available for my testing. I have a few more ideas I’ll be calling you about in the coming weeks.

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Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

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