Holga 135: What I’ve Learned So Far

I got my first roll of film shot in my new Holga back from Photo Market today.

Things I’ve learned so far:

  • The vignetting on the 135 is much, much less obvious than on the 120, which I kind of like. But take note: This is true of the regular ol’ 135, but NOT the 135BC. That thing has crazy vignetting, from what I’ve seen, and I’m pretty sure I read somewhere it was because of a filter. With the regular 135, the vignetting is natural.
  • Double exposing is awesome. Believe it or not, this is the first camera I’ve owned that’s capable of double exposure. (Shutter button independent of film advance FTW). But I need to find a place that does a better job at cutting prints than Photo Market. I know nothing about what the development process there is like, but it seems like they automated the thing; a lot of photos cut in half. It’s really upsetting.
  • Light leaks in the 135 are a lot less severe than on the 120. This is good or bad, depending on what you want, obviously.

TIPS. In case you are interested in buying at 135:

  • Shoot only in the best lighting possible. Even with high-speed film, only the bright, sunny, outdoor photos really turned out. That is unless you shoot in …
  • Bulb mode. Use it. The only good indoor photos I took were shot in bulb mode.
  • Aim high. Since this is not an SLR, the viewfinder doesn’t really give you an accurate picture of what you’re shooting. This should have been obvious, but my only other non-SLR camera is my Lomo Fisheye. If you’ve ever shot with one of those, you know you don’t use the viewfinder anyway because half your field of vision is taken up by the lens anyway.

UPDATE — Here are the photos:



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My first shot with Storify

I took advantage of an interesting Twitter conversation between Maine media folks to make my first story on Storify, the sweet new social media aggregator that’s been used so well to document The Last Hours of @MayorEmanuel, as well as may other awesome stories.

Anyway, the story’s not that interesting unless you’re a journalist. And even then, it’s nothing special. I’m no expert in the realm of online journalism, and I don’t think I got my ideas out very well. Mostly I’m just working my way around Storify. Hope you have a few thoughts on the matters, though. If you do, leave them in the comments.

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MODNIGHT was a night of firsts, marking my introductory foray into SPACE Gallery parties, and my first feeble humble at flash/event photography.

The night was a riot. Everyone was having a great time (except for the girl I overheard crying outside, whose ex-boyfriend had apparently spilled beer on her hair and slashed her tires. She wasn’t having a good time; he probably was, because he was clearly a jerk). I hope I was able to capture how much fun everyone was having, except for the beer-sodden ride-less gal, who I don’t think is in any of these photos anyway.

Kudos to SPACE Gallery for hosting such an great event. My fingers are crossed for this becoming a regular thing, like ’80s night at Asylum, but better.

Comment with any thoughts/ideas/suggestions/compliments(?), especially if you’ve got any tips on flash. Hope you like it.

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Favorite Thing of the Day: Definr

Definr is a super fast, super ballin’ dictionary that gives you results the second you hit “enter” without loading a new page or showing you ads. And it’s cute, which is always a plus. The creator says its word source is Princeton’s open WordNet 2.0. This is immediately replacing dictionary.com, which has lately annoyed me with obscene load times and ads.

Similarly, Thsrs, the thesaurus that not only gives you synonyms, but puts emphasis on brevity. Might come in handy for writing headlines. Or tweets, for that matter. Thsrs’ creator says the word source is the Big Huge Thesaurus, “which is based on the Princeton University WordNet Database, and has the distinction of being the only thesaurus I found with an API.”

Props to 10,000 Words for showing me these sweet search engines.


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The United States of Shame

I saw this floating around on the Twitterverse yesterday and thought I’d share. No one has more Maine state pride than me (see tattoo), but even we have something to be ashamed of. Apparently, based on SAT scores alone, us Mainers are the dumbest of the pack. It’s alright though because at least we’re not my second favorite state, Washington. (Bestiality? Really?).

The United States of Shame — pleated-jeans.com

The chart was created by Jeff Wysaski from a website called Pleated Jeans that I had not previously heard of. If you click the image, you can get more info on each of the claims. Some are not as bad as others. Ohio is the nerdiest state? Sounds fine to me.

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Going back to school

Well, sort of.

Thanks to the assistance of a Maine Press Association fellowship, for which I am grateful, I’ll be attending a two-day Photoshop course at the Maine College of Art. The course will be taught by Bryan Bruchman, a straight-ballin’ photographer and writer who contributed to the Maine Observer during its short existence. (I’d be remiss not to mention he runs what is arguably the best blog in Portland, Hilly Town).

Photoshop has always daunted me. I count myself as one in a narrowly defined age set that is expected to have a basic understanding of Creative Suite but did not grow up with the program the same way we grew up with mp3 players, the Web and VHS/DVD players.

There is a great piece of writing out there somewhere (I found it!) that talks about the difference between “digital natives” — people, usually young, to whom technology comes naturally because they were able to absorb it naturally — and “digital immigrants,” who as you can expect are just the opposite.

Photoshop has always made me feel like a digital immigrant. The herculean capabilities of the program are proportionate to how much it intimidates me. Adobe has made someone who normally feels right at home swimming along in the paperless, digital world feel like a fish out of water. And I have not appreciated it.

So hopefully this course will help. In all likelihood, it won’t make me a native. Not in 14 short hours. But I hope to leave the workshop with a digital green card, at least.

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How Journalists Incite Violence, Courtesy of Sarah Palin

Yesterday, Politico ran a story about how Republican 2012 hopefuls are responding to the shooting Saturday of Democratic Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (among many others) in Tuscon. She wrote,

“Palin, for her part, has practically gone underground since posting a message of sympathy for the victims on her Facebook page and removing the target map from her website.”

Map from SarahPAC, depicting target districts for the 2010 election, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords'.

That was the story yesterday regarding Sarah Palin. Despite being at the eye of Hurricane Rhetoric, Palin all but ducked. (The target map mentioned can be seen above. SarahPAC depicted target swing districts with a rifle’s crosshairs, including Rep. Giffords’ district).

But that was yesterday. Today, Palin released  her video response, “America’s Enduring Strength” (catchy title, huh?). In it, the Mama Grizzly rejected the idea that violent or heated political rhetoric could contribute to actual violence, saying:

“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state. Not with those who listen to talk radio. Not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle. Not by law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their first amendment rights at campaign rallies.”

Later in the video, Palin says:

“Within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

So there you have it: Rhetoric from Sarah Palin cannot possibly contribute to violence in society. That unique power is the sole propriety of journalists.

</logic fail> </insanity>

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