some more diana snaps from last christmas

Evangeline Theater, New Iberia, LA. Diana F+.

I took these last Christmas, but it took me a while to get the rolls mailed off because I had to finish up the last one. I had them mailed to Louisiana even though I was still in California at the time, because sometimes it takes a few weeks and I didn’t want to miss them.

I think the second one is an especially good example of the Diana’s iconic dreaminess.

and don’t tell me “bring them all”, because that would require a seperate suitcase

The annual fretting over what cameras to take to Louisiana has begun. (And to a lesser extent, what shoes.) When I went last summer for Granny’s birthday I only brought the Holga, so this time I think I’ll bring the Diana F+, with both the regular and 35mm backs. I’m hoping someone gets me the Golden Half camera (pleasepleaseplease) for Christmas, so I don’t think I need to bring any other trick cameras. Umm, maybe the Pop 9. It’s small. Or perhaps the Oktomat, which I’ve barely used since I bought it. Aaargh.

Okay, the F+ and the Oktomat. And the digital and Instax, which I bring everywhere anyway, so it goes without saying. But if I don’t get the Golden Half, I’m going to be piiiiissed that I didn’t bring the Pop 9.

Last night I was organizing stuff and stumbled across a stash of film I didn’t even know I had. I must have put it in one our family’s infamous “safe places” (translation: Forget all about it until you stumble across it up to a decade later) when I moved. I found 3 rolls of 35mm color, 2 rolls of 35 mm redscale, 3 rolls of 35mm color slide, a pack of Instax, and a roll of 120 B&W Ilford. But I still hope I get all the film I asked for for Christmas, because you can seriously never have too big a film stash. It all gets used eventually.

This isn't my photo, the roll is still in the camera

I haven’t shot the F+ in months, and this morning was a beautiful sunny interlude between rainstorms (although it started getting overcast around noon). So I slapped the 35mm back onto it and loaded it with a roll of Lomography ISO 400. (Shut up, I like their 35mm film. And I don’t think it’s all that expensive.) And practically the first thing I saw upon leaving the house was that one of my neighbors had stuck about 2 dozen pink plastic lawn flamingos all over their front yard.

Leave the house with a camera, and you will be rewarded. You just have to keep your eyes open.

ETA: I think the flamingos were actually a prank, because they were never there before — I walk past that house twice a day on my way to and from the bus stop, I think I would have noticed — and they were gone when I came home in the afternoon. Not to mention you’d have to be crazy to put that many lawn flamingos on your lawn; they were so close together you couldn’t even have walked between them. They’d have to be taken out every time you mowed.

If you think about it, that’s really a hilariously bizarre way to prank someone. And it’s not even mean in the way that egging or TPing someone’s house would be.

first color roll shot in the holga

Nothing really amazing here. Basically I just wanted to see what a color roll looked like in the Holga, especially before I went on vacation. I kind of forgot about this roll actually, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it in the mail yesterday.

bunny doorstop holga


holga vs. diana: fight!


Holga Blog wrote a technical review of both the Holga and Diana, comparing the various specs. It’s pretty in-depth and I found it an interesting read. Ultimately he comes to the same conclusion I do: Why choose? Like me, he owns both.

It’s hard to explain the differences between the two, especially since the flaws in such poorly-made cameras tend to vary widely. For myself, I find that the Diana (shooting medium format film) has more obvious vignetting, and the focus tends to be more uniformly off. Sometimes photos taken with my Diana almost look like they were taken underwater. The Holga, on the other hand, has a really interesting center focus/blurred edge effect; as well as more light leakage (which can be considered either a plus or a minus; I would list it as the former).

For me, it’s not about what the finished product looks like, anyway. They both shoot unpredictable and weirdly lovely photos. It’s more about what the shooting situation requires. I think of the Diana as a higher maintenance camera: The flash is not integrated, it’s almost as big as the camera itself*, color gels have to be manually inserted, the lens sticks out more, it’s a bright teal color. It’s more noticable, and it takes more time. I like to use it in situations where speed or conspicuousness is not an issue: in graveyards, or taking photos of buildings, say. Or any place where photo taking is expected and lots of other people will be doing it — next time I go to the Winchester Mystery House I am definitely taking my Diana.

My Holga has an integrated flash with a color wheel (although not all models do), so there’s less set up for situations that require a flash. It’s also black and has a lens that sits more flush to the body of the camera, so it feels more inconspicuous. I like it for candid photos (especially of people I do not know); and photos inside of commercial or public locations, where you never know how people are going to react.

I had planned to take just my Holga to Louisiana, since I had the Diana at Christmas and shot a couple rolls with it. But I think I’ll have room for the Diana, and I didn’t have the flash last year (and it offers many more colors than the Holga color wheel — a dozen gels as opposed to just green, red, and yellow), so I may decide to bring her along, too.

*You can use a hotshoe adaptor and use any conventional (and smaller) flash with the Diana. But I actually like the retro look and feel of the large Diana 2-pin flash.

first roll from the holga

Umm, apparently this was a roll of black & white? I KNEW THAT!

It’s harder to tell with B&W, but the light leakage appears to be manageable. Other than taping the clips that hold the back on, I really didn’t tape the camera when I shot this roll.

pho noodles BW

I think this one is actually suited to black & white.


shinn park & arboretum: diana F+, 120 film

I got this roll back yesterday, and most of it’s no good. It looks like it was exposed; which I was afraid of, because when I removed it from the camera it wasn’t as tightly wound as it should be. It was sort of bulging on one side. I’m not incredibly disappointed, because the park was actually kind of dull when I went; pretty much everything had already bloomed. The photos I took a few years ago when I went in April were a lot prettier. I just hope that the problem was with the roll of film (which was pretty ancient), and not the camera, because I will be veeery upset if my Diana is busted.

Anyway, here are a few that I was able to salvage with a little editing:

shinn park gazebo diana 120


DVDs denied, another krazy kamera, & hints from the universe

The main goal of the weekend was catching up on my sleep. I’ve been a zombie all week. Not having 2 days in a row off really threw off my sleep schedule, which is easily disturbed as it is. I have to work next Saturday, and I think I’ll just take Monday off.

oktomat cameraFor some reason I thought the second season of Pushing Daisies was coming out on June 21, which makes no sense as the last episode just aired last weekend. So I was all set to buy it from Amazon, then realized oh hey, that’s not until next month. So instead I bought an Oktomat camera, because umm, they’re about the same price and it was in the budget? I don’t know, it was kind of spur-of-the-moment, even though it is a camera I’ve been planning on acquiring for a while. A lot of the reviews complain that its junk; but a lot of people say that about the SuperSampler, and mine still works fine.

That’s pretty much the last camera I wanted that I can buy without feeling pangs of remorse — I want an LC-A and a Lubitel, but they’re about $250 and $350, respectively. The LC-A was 25% off at for one day on June 19, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and I was really tempted, but in the end just couldn’t justify it. I’ve decided I don’t need a Colorsplash, because my Diana’s flash came with a bunch of colored gels. And I don’t really see the point of a Fisheye: it’s kind of a one trick pony, and I’m not especially enamored of that one trick.

I called Phil yesterday to wish him a Happy Father’s Day, and of course I wound up speaking to my mother for even longer. She’s all excited about us coming out for Granny’s 90th birthday in August. Between this trip; Netflix sending me When The Levees Broke; the first season True Blood DVDs; and all these transcripts I keep getting from like, Thibodaux High School and University of Louisiana Lafayette, I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

shinn park & arboretum: 35mm in the diana f+

I’m not in love with this roll. Maybe it was the light, but none of the photos really seem to have that je ne sais quoi quality that I usually seem to achieve with 35mm film shot in a medium format camera. Also, I don’t really care for the frame I used this time; this was the first time I used the standard non-sprocket hole frame, and it seems to crop things really awkwardly. I think I’ll stick with the square sprocket hole frame, even if I can’t show the entire image until I get a flatbed scanner.

Maybe the roll of 120 I shot will come out nicer. In the meantime, here are some photos from the roll that I don’t totally hate.

shinn park japanese garden 1


holga & breaking bad


I finally bought myself a Holga! They’re pretty cheap, cheaper than a Diana — well, you could probably find a Diana for next to nothing on eBay or wherever, but I’d rather pay more money for something I can have NOW. Bargain-hunting is not something I generally have the patience for.

Anyway, I bought the model with the color flash wheel. In addition to a regular white flash, you can also get a blue, red, or yellow flash by turning the wheel at the top. The camera also seems easier to modify for 35mm than the Diana; you don’t need a special back, just some tape and a couple pieces of foam. There’s no way to rewind the film in the camera though, so you have to find a room as close to perfectly dark as you can get, take it out, and rewind it manually. I might try it eventually, but for now I think I’ll just see what she does with medium format.

I bought the kit, which comes with a roll of black electrical tape (which, as you can see, I’ve used to tape the back on, because the clips that hold it on seem kind of rickety, and I’d hate to have it pop off and expose the film inside). This is because the Holga is notorious for having light leaks, worse even than the Diana. But until I shoot the first roll and see how much it leaks, I’m going to hold off taping it. A little bit of light just adds to a toy camera’s unpredictable charm, and if it isn’t so bad that the photos are totally obliterated, I probably won’t bother taping it up.

I don’t know when I’ll get that first roll shot though, because this month has been the definition of June Gloom. Although, it is a FLASH camera…

In addition to my Amazon order, last night I also finally received the first disc of the first season of Breaking Bad, which I have been dying to see, but which was on very long wait at Netflix for MONTHS. I really wanted to watch the second season while it was playing, but I have this total horror of watching television shows out of order and HAD to see the first season first. Maybe I’ll be caught up by the time the third season starts and I can watch it as it airs.

Anyway, it’s really good so far (high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, teams up with former student to cook meth so he doesn’t leave his family in debt), Bryan Cranston is fucking awesome. The whole “inoperable lung cancer” thing makes me worry that the show has a built-in expiration; but the second episode started almost literally where the first left off, and if they do that, and don’t have real-time lags between seasons, they could stretch it pretty far.

It was kind of unbelievable how fast Walter came to the “Hmm, think I’ll cook meth!” conclusion; but then again, I appreciate that they didn’t dick around when we all knew it was gonna happen. USA’s new show Royal Pains did that with the pilot, it’s about a hotshot doctor who gets canned when a rich benefactor dies on his watch and becomes a private doctor for snooty rich people in the Hamptons. The pilot was 90 minutes, and it was only that long because it had WAY too much of Hank dragging his feet and protesting about how noble he is. So kudos for getting to the fucking point fast, A&E.

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