February 2009


Genies Disderi 3 Lens Robot Camera ©Genie Ranada      

Genie's Disderi 3 Lens Robot Camera ©Genie Ranada

 

You can trust Genie Ranada, uber-cool gadget girl, to get her hands on the coolest cutest stuff faster than anyone else. This is her new purchase, a Disderi 3 Lens Robot Camera, which is something like a cross between an action sampler and a Sanrio toy.  I like that the images aren’t entirely rectangular within each frame, with weird scalloping in between. I also like how it captures scenes vertically. 

I saw a bunch of these in Hong Kong last year but didn’t realize they could take cool images. Back then I was all digital haha. They’re available in 2, 3 and 4 lens versions. Maybe Genie’ll get them all. 

To see the rest of her test roll shots, they’re here

Paoay Church ©Genie Ranada

Paoay Church ©Genie Ranada

Shadow Across Playa Tropicale ©Genie Ranada

Shadow Across Playa Tropicale ©Genie Ranada

Coca Cola Tarp ©Genie Ranada

Coca Cola Tarp ©Genie Ranada

Some technical specs for the technically-minded: 

Type: 35mm lens without flash
Lens: optical lens,f/8 28mm
Shutter speed : leaf shutter, 1/100 sec
Film to be used: 35mm format color or black/white 135 film of ASA 100/ISO 21 or ASA 400/ISO 27
View Finder: Eye level finder
Focusing: free
No need batteries
Dimensions: about 95mm*63mm*33mm
Weight: 90g
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kick ©Jena Ardell
 Originally uploaded by jena ardell

I found “Dreamer and Schemer” Jena Ardell’s flickr Oktomat set through twitter, yet another great find using this social networking tool.

Gotta love the movement captured in this photo, Kick, which just proves that even a toy camera, in the right hands, can produce something eye-catching and dynamic. There are several more in the set, but this is my favorite. This and Chipwich, which makes me crave for an ice cream sandwich. 

I don’t have an Oktomat yet and I don’t have any plans of purchasing one soon (a Blackbird Fly being my next priority), so I shall just enjoy the octet pleasures of the Oktomat vicariously through Jena’s photos.

You can find Jena’s photostream here, and her cool vintage photography site at www.jenaardell.com. On twitter, she’s @jenaardell.

 

LSIs Colorsplash Flash

LSI's Colorsplash Flash

 

Something I never leave home without, whether I’m shooting film or digital, is my Colorsplash Flash from LSI. I’ve had this flash since my pre-DSLR days, even before I rediscovered film. It’s taken its fair share of bumps and bruises – I’ve dropped this so many times, cracking it open often enough – yet it still prevails.

While the Colorsplash is, hands down, my favorite accessory, I’ve never gotten it to work with my digital cameras (Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F717 and Canon 350D). Mount it on the hotshoe and snap away, but the flash refuses to trigger, most likely due to a voltage incompatibility. Why do I insist on keeping it if it doesn’t work?

Two things: color and volume.

The main appeal of the Colorsplash Flash is its color gel dial. Surrounding the bulb is a small plastic barrel that has four slots for color gels. Twisting the barrel 90-degrees changes the color of the gel, say, from amber to blue or magenta to minty green. When you buy the flash, a small packet of assorted gels is included, (I’ve since lost mine. Anyone have a spare?) and you can switch them around depending on your taste. The ability to instantly switch the color of light you want to throw on a subject is, in a word, awesome, and allows you to create your own lighting mood.

The second appeal, brought on by the flash’s inability to work with my digital cameras, is volume. Triggering it by hand, I can position the flash just about anywhere my arm can reach – to the side of someone’s face, under a chin, or pointing straight at the camera. This lets me cast strange shadows across my composition, giving volume to a scene.

Triggering a flash by hand is tricky at best. I often set aperture to something small, say f/8 to f/11, and shutter speed to Bulb. I pre-focus or guesstimate range. Shutter Open – Pop Flash – Shutter Close. Timing is essential.  

The Bitter Pill @Canon 350D and Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

The Bitter Pill @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash + handheld Fisheye filter ©Karlo Samson

Years Before He Climbed Everest ©Karlo Samson

Years Before He Climbed Everest @Sony F717 + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

Gig Tune @Canon 350D ©Karlo Samson

Gig Tune @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

 

Junior Timelord @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

Junior Timelord @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

I had really wanted to go to this year’s Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, held over last Valentine’s Day weekend. I was all set to go, with my cameras, digital and analog, cleaned and loaded. The day job, however, insistently required me to finish a lengthy article on the impact of technology on small and medium businesses. With heavy heart, I unpacked my camera bag, stowed away all my gear, and took to the keyboard to hammer out copy like a man possessed. There’s always next year, I thought.

Hot Air Balloon Takes Flight @Holga 135 ©j-mi

Hot Air Balloon Takes Flight @Holga 135 ©j-mi

While I may have missed the hot air balloons, paragliders, helicopters and rockets this year, a lot of local photographers did take the effort to go north to Pampanga to document the event. One such shooter was J-mi, a contributor to the lomomanila multiply group.

J-mi has been shooting digital for over a year but has been shooting with the Holga 135 she recently acquired. This was shot on Fujichrome Velvia 100F. J-mi’s still in college and enjoys photography in the spare time between futsal practice and studies. For more photos, check out the multiply set or her deviant art site.

Looking at her photos, I’m still miffed at myself for missing the hot air balloon fiesta. So many interesting things and details to preserve. I should really make sure I make the time – SECURE the time – next year. 

Meanwhile, here’s last year’s article on the Balloon Fiesta, published in Asian Traveler magazine. Story and photos are mine. 

 

Flame On! @Canon 350D ©Karlo Samson

Flame On! @Canon 350D ©Karlo Samson

 

Duaflex Test Shot ©Marcushiro

Duaflex Test Shot ©Marcushiro

One of the great things about lo-fi photography is the freedom to tinker with the cameras that we purchase. Being relatively inexpensive compared to the latest digital snappers, toy cameras and vintage thrift shop finds lend themselves to modification without much thought to cost. Reasons vary why you’d want to jury-rig a new lens or deliberately force a crack on a body. Some modifications are brought on to achieve an artistic effect, such as replacing your plastic lens with a pinhole (un)lens to get dreamier, creamier shots. Other modifications are performed for matters of practicality, like modifying your camera to accept a more common, or cheaper, film format.

Kodak Duaflex II from Camerapedia.org

Kodak Duaflex II from Camerapedia.org

My friend and fellow electronic music performer Marcushiro (of the band Bagetsafonik and the art duo Electrolychee) recently found a dusty Kodak Duaflex II on a thrift store shelf. He bought it, took it home, and discovered that it uses a film format that was discontinued in 1995. Says Camerapedia.org, “the Kodak Duaflex is a 620 roll film pseudo TLR made [by] Kodak in the US and UK. The original versions were available from December 1947 – September 1950 in the US, and 1949-1955 in the UK; the Duaflex IV was finally discontinued in the US in March 1960.”

620 roll film? Turns out, this format was introduced by Kodak in 1931 as an alternative to 120 film, essentially the same film stock on a thinner metal spool. Cameras that use 620 film do not typically support 120 film. Marcushiro had two DIY options. One was to respool 120 film onto a 620 spool, a tedious process. Two was to modify his camera to accept 35mm film. He chose the latter after finding a lo-fi hack online. This hack will pretty much work with other cameras, too. Here’s the link.

As things go when you’re testing out a new modification, results vary in quality due to experimentation. You can find more of Marcushiro’s results on his multiply account here

If you’ve got any DIY stories of your own, feel free to share them in our comments section.

Cheers!

Late one night last December, I came across this exceptional flickr set while randomly hopping around the Interwebs. My eyes and attention were immediately drawn to this splash of vibrant color and crisp detail, photos of luminous quality that were both fresh and classic at the same time. Responsible for this smorgasbord of imagery is MrLomo.

 

closer Gormley man ©Marc Davies

closer Gormley man ©Marc Davies

 

MrLomo is Marc Davies, a London-based web designer and art director who has been shooting Lomo for over a decade. His experience and skill shines forth in his photographs. Armed with an arsenal of lo-fi cameras, and the occasional digital, he goes around capturing his surroundings on film. He seems to have a knack for capturing color and texture, which gives a sense of urgency and life to the subjects he shoots, subjects which aren’t so glamorous or sexy. And he makes it all seem so easy.

 

seagull vs cheesy wotsit ©Marc Davies

seagull vs cheesy wotsit ©Marc Davies

 

His are the types of shots we all wish we could take using our Lomos and Holgas and Smenas and Horizons. Marc, I’m a loooong way off from this level of lo-fi shooting but it pays to have something to aspire to, and, MrLomo, that’s you.

 

pipe smoking man ©Marc Davies

pipe smoking man ©Marc Davies

 

For more of MrLomo’s magical shots, visit him on flickr, here.

 

Baguio City Crucifix

Baguio City Crucifix © Georwyn Victor

What is it about square photographs that makes them so interesting? Is it because you can chuck the Rule of Thirds out the window and place your subject smack dab in the middle of the frame? Is it because there is horizontal and vertical balance to the image? Is it because square photos are native to film, specifically 120 film, and not to digital?

Here’s a particularly haunting photo taken in Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines. This was captured by Georwyn Victor, a communications student who has been dabbling in photography since 2007 and lomography specifically since April of last year.  He shoots with a Holga, a Supersampler, and a Kidzlab DIY pinhole camera. 

The rest of this set may be found here, and from there you can easily find his other photo sets.  His blog, which likewise displays many of his shots, may be found here.

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