Photography: Random film prints

I love finding a random roll of film that I forgot to get developed in the bottom of my bag, not remembering when I finished the roll and what on earth is actually on it. I finally got round to getting this roll developed today, all photos taken with my Holga over the past year, most of which I had totally forgotten that I had taken. I love the striking colours the Holga tends to produce in bright sunlight, as well as the softness, or slight blur, that appears in most prints. My favourites are definitely the ones taken by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco last year, mainly because the blues are so dense and pretty, and also because it is one of my favourite places to be in the world. I must make it one of my goals to use my Holga and Canon AE-1 more often this year - and then wait a while to develop the films so that I get more nice surprises.
Link to the full set below.

San Francisco BayWalking the Golden Gate BridgeView from my sideTime n PlaceSunset in JamaicaSnowed in
San Francisco skylineRosie at the beachOleanderGuinness IciclesGolden Gate BridgeFort Tilden
Clearing Orchard StCaribbean SeaCalifornia flowerBridge in the distanceBoats on the water200 Reflections
Film 2013, a set on Flickr.

Photography: Randomly in Spring

I finally have that FujiFilm XE-1 camera that I have wanted for so long... Bit the bullet and spent the money on it and I can't say that I am disappointed at all! It really is like using an old manual SLR (a lot like the Canon AE-1 film SLR that I have been using over the past few years), with all of the additional DSLR settings that you could wish for, including a "film simulation" setting, which produces photos that look like they have been taken with a film SLR. It's kind of like the best of both worlds for me, who still prefers to shoot film rather than digital, but don't have the time to develop rolls of film anymore. Or even the space really to store all of the prints I have.

The only issue I found was that I randomly got a "lens control error" the other day and couldn't take any photos anymore. I let the camera sit for a day, removed the lens and put it back on, flipped all the switches and dials, turned it into the fully manual mode, and the error message disappeared. It appears that this is a regular issue with this model, which is a little disappointing, but if you can't fix it yourself Fuji will service it pretty fast for you. I am just glad I took out an extra warranty on the camera, especially as it's not as sturdy as the Canon Rebel.

Anyway... Here are some of the first pictures I have taken on my new camera (see set below). I need to take it out more and play around with it, and find the perfect settings, but for now I am pretty happy with what it can do. I am still wondering if I should bring it with me on my trip this weekend, or just take the Canon. I am worried that I will get another lens error and be stuck taking photos on my iPhone all weekend. I may just go with the trusty older camera and leave the new one for other adventures.

PepeLaurenHenna through the windowLooking inside 200HennaDoyle
LightManhattan skylineBrooklyn churchWood pileWompOrchard Street building
Orchard StreetStatueEast Village wallBroadwayHouston StreetWall mural
KarliTadhg and friendsSeanKarli & MattLuisReading material
Randomly in Spring, a set on Flickr.

Real winter in orange and yellow

IcicleBay shotDirt roadShirley BeachShirley BeachShirley Beach
Shirley BeachShirley BeachShirley BeachShirley BeachShirley BeachShirley Beach
Shirley BeachShirley BeachFlags & Gas StationGrocery store, Mastic BeachThe abandoned house I see every dayEarly morning walk round the bay
GeeseThe sky matches the waterReedsTracksSnow moundsMarina

Film - Orange/Yellow, a set on Flickr.

I've been working so hard on my novel and working hard at my jobs, so I haven't really had too much time to post on my blog this week. I was perusing some old photo albums on my Flickr and found this one from January 2011... We've had such a mild winter this year that looking back at these makes me realise how lucky we have been!

These were all taken with my Canon AE-1, using a 35mm ISO 100 Lomo negative film without flash. Most in Mastic Beach on Long Island before my mum moved back to California, but some in NYC. I miss using my AE-1 and playing with the settings to get interesting photos, but I can't really afford to spend too much on film and developing film right now.

I kind of also miss the beauty of winter right now too... Maybe we will get one blizzard this year, but it's already the end of February and it doesn't really look like it...


HellfireHarry & GingerFacesPolicewoman and FiremanMiriam and GeorgeMason DaveDanaRosieGinaBirthday BethLauren KarliHagitRosieMeEric & MeDavid SmilesStephan wonChrisCharlieLaughing girlsJessica

Expressions, a set on Flickr.

Taken mainly over the past couple of years (although there are a couple of older ones), this is a collection of my favourite "people" photos. Each one for a special reason. I will probably continue to add to it once I take new favourites, or find old ones amongst the folders of photos I have on this hard drive. I took all of them on different cameras, but mainly a Canon Rebel DSLR and a Canon AE-1 (film).

Enjoy :)

Wanuri Kahiu

I recently read an interview with Wanuri Kahiu in the 51st Edition of Bitch Magazine. What an inspiration! Wanuri is a 30 year old Kenyan woman, who went to university in England and the US, and then went back home to Nairobi to become a hugely promising filmmaker. Here first two pieces of work, From A Whisper, based on dealing with loss and forgiveness 10 years after the US Embassy bombing in Nairobi) and Pumzi, a short sci-fi film based in a world after World War III, have already been critically acclaimed with awards and glowing reviews. I'm really excited for the release of her next piece of work, Ger, a documentary based on the return home to Sudan of former child soldier who became an actor and model, Ger Duany.

Here is a link to the whole article: "The Africa That I Know" in Bitch Magazine
I love her response to the inevitable "why didn't you stay in the US?" question: "From the moment I entered UCLA, I knew what kind of filmmaker I wanted to be. I wanted to make films to take back home. Or films about people back home. And when I tried to write when I was in America, I inevitably found myself writing about films or about characters that were very, very African. So it just didn't make sense for me to stay."

Some more links:
Wanuri Kahiu's Blog
Pumzi trailer on YouTube
From A Whisper trailer on YouTube
Ger Duany

New Black & White Prints

A lot of overexposure on these, but I can't help loving the stark atmosphere they relay. Here are some favourites, link to the full set at the bottom of the post.

Seagulls and Pelicans on a roof along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Miriam and George, filming Emilie's part in the first scene.

Michelle sitting outside of our Fort Tilden camp in July.

Written on a mural on Jefferson St, Bushwick.

More HERE on my Flickr.

Canon AE-1 - my not-so-secret favourite

I've always naturally gone for Canons, probably because my mum (who is an amazing photographer) uses Canon. I started a while back with a Canon Powershot point and shoot, and once I started looking to take photography more seriously, shelled out on a Canon Rebel Ti1, a great DSLR for those just getting into it. I love digital photography, I love taking many many pictures and then picking out those that really captured the image I wanted, but I also have a passion for the imperfect, the tangible and the unexpected. Trawling eBay for vintage Canon SLRs one day last Autumn I randomly bid on an AE-1, and won it, with all accessories, and even in the original box from the factory.
I bought film (Kodak 400 Colour), popped it in, didn't change any settings except for the shutter speed and took a bunch of pictures around my Mum's old house in Mastic Beach. They came out great. A few weeks later I bought some of that Black & White film that can be developed in any drugstore, took a roll, they came out great. And then I took pictures of the first snow storm and they were ALL overexposed. THAT's when I learnt how to use the camera correctly, mess around with the aperture and the speed and the natural light... Knowing how to use the camera took away a certain element of surprise, but has made me understand and love my camera and the outcome so much more.

I recently came across another one on eBay and bid on it, and won it. This one came with a Vivitar 75mm-205mm f3.8 Close focusing zoom lens, which I am really excited to start using, and is completely black (the other one is black and silver, and now has a piece of blue tape on the battery door as it won't stay shut). They are like peas in a pod, brother and sister... And perfect, because now I don't need to choose between colour or black and white, as each one will have its own film specialty.

The only annoying thing about this camera (and there is only one, I can't think of anything else at all!) is that it takes a very special battery... 6V battery that I couldn't find in any drug stores or camera shops, after looking online I saw that the same battery is used in dog collars, so I called a PetsMart out of curiosity and they stock it. Keep in mind to always have a back up handy, as they last a long time, but the camera will NOT work without one.

These cameras are not rare, but they are a great buy - there are always quite a few going on eBay for a decent price. I am totally in love with both of mine...

Here are a few of my film albums for anyone interested:
February 2011
Winter Beach Town
Orange & Yellow
Black & White - January 2011

Developing film

What happened to getting your film developed in drug stores?! Less than a year ago I dropped a disposable camera off and got it developed in a Duane Reade. Now I can't even buy a roll of film there, and when I went to see if they still did their photo developing service I was told "we don't do that anymore" (complete with shooing away gesture with hand). Great customer service people! Not EVERYONE uses digital ONLY nowadays. I know 4 people in my office alone who still use their film SLRs. It makes me sad, because if you can't develop film on any street corner anymore, it really means that it is dying out... I was a little bothered that I had to hunt for 126mm film cartridges, but having to search for 35mm rolls, and having to search for a place to develop my 24 prints?!? That's just ridiculous.

Digital prints will never last as long as film prints. And hard drives die. And digital cameras break. And memory cards can get lost. So why not at least have the option? I'm not bothered about getting my prints developed within the hour, I just want to be able to drop them off and pick them up!

Ugh. Frustrated.