projects

12 Months, 12 Projects – July: Up and Down

For my July project, I had decided on photography from extreme angles. That is, shoot straight up and shoot from just above the ground. This was actually inspired by those pictures of skyscrapers from below. You know the type, straight edged pictures with a bright blue sky between three or four imposing buildings bending to the center of the picture. Or those pictures straight up from Parisian courtyards. A whole alphabet has even been created from pictures like that. The close-to-the-ground part of the project was a sort of saftey, in case I didn’t find cool shots straight up.

I must admit, I didn’t really try my best this month. I wanted to use the Holga, because I have decided that August is Holga month on my blog. That limited the possibilities a bit. In the absence of too much angle of view, the those high-rise building did not really work out. I don’t have any handy skyscrapers or quaint little courtyards close by. Our local office buildings are not so high or close together that it makes for an interesting picture. Some old alleys in the inner city proved to be slightly interesting, and the art at Amsterdam sculpture event Art Zuid produced a nice straight up photo, and that was more or less it.

The low pictures were easier to realize. Though I have to learn to keep my camera straight, since in half of my pictures the horizon is skewed. I really should put the camera on the ground for these kind of pictures. Half a meter above the ground doesn’t quite produce the extreme picture I was looking for.

Well, all in all, not a very spectacular result. Nevertheless, it has encouraged me to look for other points of view more often. For example, when I didn’t just took a regular frontal view of the monument at the center of the Netherlands, but also tried an extra low point of view. I probably wouldn’t have done that if it handn’t been for my project. I wouldn’t have photographed the artwork either, and have missed a fairly nice picture. It once again made me realize that it’s good to think about things in a different way. That’s another win.

12 months, 12 projects – June: Hacked Supersampler

Contrary to what my plan for 2017 states, I did not try lightpainting last month. In stead, I’ve hacked a Supersampler. The Supersampler is a funny little camera with four lenses underneath each other. When you take a picture, it fires four times in a row, one lens after the other. All four pictures will appear as a narrow strip on a piece of negative the size of a standard photo.

Lomography Supersampler II and Lomography F2 CN 400 film.

Lomography Supersampler II and Lomography F2 CN 400 film.

Inside the camera you can see dividers between the lenses, which make sure that the four strips are clearly delimited and the images do not overlap. If you remove the dividers, the imagees will overlap. Disadvantage: removing the dividers is irreversible. The plastic strips are firmly attached to the camera. You can break them out, but you will not be able stick them back. Quite a step, one that I never dared to take with my Supersampler.

But some time ago I found a Supersampler in the local thrift store, new in its box. A great opportunity to finally try the trick with the dividers removed.

With some pliers, I quickly had the dividers out. Whether it was due to the customized interior, I don´t know, but it took me quite a bit of effort to get the film properly inside the camera. Somehow, the take-up spool didn’t take. But in the end, it seemed to work, and I could go ahead. I took the Supersampler II on a cycling holiday trough Belgium.

The result is not bad at all! The images captured by the different lenses overlap, but are still recognizable as four different images. No murky blur of four overlapping pictures. It works best if you keep the camera in landscape mode so the lenses are sitting next to each other (rather than above each other). That way, you get one beautifully overlapping image. If you hold the camera upright, it will be a less integrated picture. You often get a relatively large amount of sky in the top half of a picture, which in the Supersampler II portrait mode will overlap the image underneath. White clouds trump darker bits of landscape. Of course, if the sky is darker (blue), or not in the image at all, ‘this is not a problem at all.

Lomography Supersampler II and Lomography F2 CN 400 film.

Lomography Supersampler II and Lomography F2 CN 400 film.

As with the unmodified Supersampler, Supersampler II delivers the best pictures when you’re close to your subject. In my opinion, portraits therefore do better than landscapes. Because the image always overlaps, you should take into account a certain amount of overexposure. Still, this is not really a big deal, since we’re talking about tiny plastic lenses.

I think this was a successful experiment: Supersampler II is actually more fun than number I.

 

2017 Resolutions

The year is almost halfway trough, but let me just share the photographic New Year’s resolutions I made in January. I have been doing this the past few years. It helps me to think of something to do when I’m bored and to get better at photography by forcing me to  actually do the things I have been thinking about.

January
I’ve been meaning to take more nice camera porn pictures of my classic camera’s. The winter is a good time to improvise a home studio and take some pretty camera portraits.

Update

Done!

February
The 1/4 splitzer is a super fun trick to make fantastic abstract architectural flowers. Let’s see how that works out with a 1/3 splitzer.

Update

Not bad! It’s a bit harder that the 1/4 splitzer, but I did get some cool pics.

March
I managed to get the hang of caffenol developing. But all that counting and turning tanks and timing is a bit of a hassle. Stand developing seems an easier option, so I´m going to delve into that in March.

Update

A glorious success! It´s easy, and the results were good.

April
April traditionally is for pinholes. Making a new pinhole camera is always fun, but perhaps this time I´ll play around with an existing camera. The combination pinhole / microclicks is playing trough my head…

Update

I had set my mind on some instant pinholes, a combination of the Diana F+’s Instant Back and pinhole setting. A bit of a failure. I took some pictures with the Holga PC 135 that did turn out fairly okay, though.

May
In a bag full of photo gear someone gave me, I found a polarisation filter. A promising new toy that I want to learn how to use.

Update

Not a great success. It clearly takes more practice, and a camera without light leaks.

June
One of those thing I always admire in other peoples pictures is lightpainting. I never got around to trying it myself, though. This year, I’m going to.

July
New points of view are always good. In June, I’ll take pictures straight up, or from ground level. Let’s see if this will give me a new perspective of the world.

August
I found a new Supersampler at the thrift store. I always wanted to modify mine by taking out the dividers between the lenses, but I was afraid to ruin my camera. Now that I have a spare, I can finally try it.

September
I want to do a photographic re-make or re-interpretation of an existing work of art. A painting, a record cover, a song, a film… I’ve got 9 months to think of something.

October
I want to photograph an entire quote or slogan, letter by letter, in the right order, so if you look al the negative, you can read the entire quote. I tried this before, but failed (wrong camera, it took way too long). This time, I’ll make it work.

November
I will do a serie (or more than one serie), of a particular location in different seasons, to document the passing of time.

December
After every holiday or bigger trip, I make one of those printed photo albums. Usually of my digital pics, because it’s more of a memory of how the trip was than an art project. It would be nice to have a printed book of my best analogue pictures. A good job for the cold days of December.