Category Archives: Photography


Anyone who’s dealt with a Holga will find it not at all surprising that out of the entire roll of film I shot the other day on Route 66 here in Tulsa, this turned out to be the best shot:


I don’t even know why I shot it. I was pretty sure I didn’t have any shots left, but I just saw it sitting there and figured I might as well try, since I had to advance the film either way. Somehow I just knew it was going to end up being the best thing on the roll, too. Three rolls in, and I am already learning to appreciate — and exploit — the Holga’s decidedly off-kilter world view.


She’s definitely coming along with me to Illinois this weekend. Maybe I’ll get lucky and that Agfa film Ron ordered for me will come in before I leave Friday. That’d be cool.

I swear, I’m gonna have to design my own camera bag just to accommodate all the equipment I’ve been accumulating lately. Heaven help us if I ever track down my old Magimatic….


Doo, doo, doo …

… lookin’ out my back door:



Not the greatest shots from the greatest angles, but the sunset was too pretty to ignore this evening.

This weather is just the way I like it: cold enough for a fire at night, but warm enough to go out and take advantage of the sunshine during the day. I did lunch with Joy, which means I totally forgot to eat because I was too busy taking Holga pictures along 11th Street.

I made it up to myself by fixing a four-egg omelet with fresh eggs, a splash of leftover cream from my truffle project, and some leftover mozzarella and cheddar cheese from last week. I cooked it in real butter over the woodstove, which heated up quickly once I stoked the fire a wee bit. That stove is perfect for omelets. It’s a nice, even heat that just browns the bottom to perfection and cooks the whole thing quickly, but very gently. I have to finish a project and do some studying this evening, but if time allows, I will head out to the grocery store later to pick up some ingredients for chili and posole. I’m basically turning the living room into a second kitchen for the winter.

Hope you’re having a good evening.


Learning Joy

As a rule, cameras are generally not regarded as sentient beings, but I don’t hold with that; all of mine are individuals, with as many likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, quirks, hangups and personal opinions as the average human being.

Joy, my new Holga 120N, is a lot like me: feisty, occasionally clumsy, and determined to see only what she wants to see, but also capable of producing something beautiful when the mood strikes her.


Joy’s strength, apparently, is in portraits, as evidenced by this shadowy but interesting shot of my friend Linda.

Joy is also rather fond of blue skies, as she demonstrated in these images we took on Route 66 yesterday afternoon:



I’m not sure I like that soft focus she put on things in the two pictures above, but I think I’ve found the sweet spot in the lens (which for some reason is a little off-center), so I should be able to work with that a bit next time I take her out. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of really obvious light leaks, which could be good or bad, depending on your point of view.

For those of you trying to figure out how she got her name, here’s another hint: I initially considered calling her “Flannery.”


Antici …

(Say it!)


After shooting digital for two years, I’d quite forgotten the exquisite agony of waiting to get prints back from the camera shop. I got a reminder this morning when I handed the lady at Apertures a roll of 400-speed T-max containing my new Holga’s first images. Waiting for five o’clock (the time my prints would be ready), I felt like a little kid waiting for Christmas.

They’re not the best images I ever got, but considering the fact that I hadn’t shot black-and-white film in over two years and was breaking in a plastic, fixed-focus camera on a cloudy day, I think they turned out pretty well.

For the Holga’s maiden journey, I took her out on Route 66 to get some images of familiar places, including the bridge above, which is on an old alignment of the Mother Road in Chelsea.

I love my Rebel, but it felt good to shoot film again. Below are a few more of the pictures I shot with the Holga, which I have since christened “Joy.” (First person who can correctly identify the source of the name will win a fabulous prize.)


Swinney’s Hardware, located on an early alignment of Route 66 in Tulsa.


Roadside park on Route 66 in Catoosa.


Bridge on an old alignment of Route 66 in Chelsea.

Incidentally, this was the first time I’d used Apertures for processing, but it definitely won’t be the last. They were very helpful and friendly, the price was very reasonable ($5.50 for processing and 69 cents each for 5×5 prints), and the turnaround time was impressive: just under eight hours for black-and-white, medium-format film.

For my next performance, I’ll find out how the Holga does with color film on a sunny day….


Bandanna projects

I cleared several projects off my plate this evening. All of them, oddly enough, involved bandannas. Having been taught by my creative writing teachers to “show, don’t tell,” I’ll just let pictures explain it:

1. Gift wrapping. No tape, no wrapping paper — just reusable ribbon and bandannas. I’m hoping to start a trend that will keep a few rolls of wrapping paper out of the landfill. 🙂



2. Wallets. I finally finished making the “fabulous prize” I promised to Janet, the blog reader who got the correct answer to the Neil Diamond trivia question a few weeks ago. She’s getting a dark purple wallet with metallic gold paisleys on it. While I was at it, I made a purple floral print wallet for my friend Kathryn from Australia, who kindly shipped me some Vegemite and some cool souvenirs from Down Under a couple of weeks ago; camo and royal blue paisley wallets to hold checks for a couple of Ron’s young relatives for Christmas; and a saucy little rockabilly-looking lipstick-print wallet to replace the boring harvest gold paisley one I’d made for myself a few months ago. The wallets are all made the same way; I just showed them in three different positions because I’m probably going to post them on Craftster later and people might want to get an idea of how they’re put together.


3. Book cover. Because I’m a Christian Scientist, I don’t carry aspirin or anything like that … but I do keep pocket-sized copies of the Bible and Science and Health in my purse so I can look up healing ideas on the fly. The books survived WWII unscathed in my Sunday School teacher’s pocket, but my purse is a whole ‘nother matter, so this evening, I used a steam iron, a bandanna, a bit of fusible webbing, and a scrap of ribbon to make this handy-dandy slipcover, which protects the books from the stray coins and keys that have a tendency to get wedged between the pages and dogear them.

It took a bit of trial and error to fold it and press creases into the right spots, but I think it turned out pretty well. I’m including pictures of how it folds up in case you feel like riffing on the design to protect a book or two of your own. I think the basic design could probably be modified fairly easily to accommodate a paperback novel.





We spent part of this afternoon cruising 66 to Chelsea so I could take some pictures with my new Holga. I’ll try to get the roll developed this week so I can show you what (if anything) I got. This is the first roll I’ve put through the camera, and it’s a Holga, and it’s been a long time since I shot film, so I’m not holding my breath, but we’ll see….

I was going to decorate for Christmas today, but I have to clear my craft desk first, and I couldn’t do that until I finished my bandanna projects, so I guess I’ll just plan on cleaning the living room and digging the tree out of the garage tomorrow evening.

On a totally random note, I have been listening to some excellent blue-eyed soul this evening: Amy Winehouse (I have decided that “Amy Amy Amy” is one of the best songs ever written, and “Love Is a Losing Game” sounds like some long-lost Dusty Springfield relic), Joss Stone (love her cover of “God Only Knows”), and Van Morrison (“Tupelo Honey”). Wonderful stuff.

Hope you had a good weekend.


Lazy Saturday


I was supposed to run a half-marathon in Kansas this morning, but I decided I just wasn’t up for it after last week’s run (which revealed to me just exactly how out of shape I can get in two months’ time), so I blew it off in favor of running some errands this afternoon … including making a trip to Apertures in search of gaffer’s tape to seal up one of the major light leaks on the back of my Holga before I take it out for a spin.

The photo above is one I shot with my Rebel while we were puttering down Route 66 the other night. Here’s another angle of the same sign:


And just to make you smile, here’s a little dose of cute:


Have a good weekend.


Photo booth

When I was in Illinois last month, Jamie and I visited a photo booth at the arcade in the mall near our hometown.


Jamie was very interested in something invisible in the corner of the booth. The more I tried to get him interested in the camera, the dorkier I looked … and the more he wanted to stare at the invisible object on the floor.

That’s OK. I’m glad he got a good look at his surroundings. Photo booths that make real pictures using real film and real chemicals are rare as hens’ teeth these days, and I’m afraid they’ll all be gone by the time Jamie grows up. One more fading relic….


Horrid little cameras

I shot this terrible little video with my terrible little Vivitar keychain camera, which mysteriously recovered after its little glitch during the race yesterday. This is the high-res setting, and it’s just awful … but at least you can see the animation on the sign, which I shot with my Rebel and blogged about last year. The sign is the marquee for the Circle Cinema, which is on an old alignment of Route 66 here in Tulsa.

I took some still pictures today with the Vivitar on the low-res, compressed setting. I think they look like they’ve been put through the watercolor filter in Photoshop:




Sometimes a really awful camera can produce a really useful effect. I think this particular camera will be good for shooting images to use as backgrounds for collages and things.

What will be even better is the new toy Ron is buying for me online right now. After a lengthy discussion today, he finally agreed to let me have a Holga. He still doesn’t understand why I want it when I have a perfectly good digital camera that takes great shots just about every time I use it, but I’ve looked at a lot of Holga pictures online, and that vignetting thing that it does just knocks me out. I know you can fake it in Photoshop, but it isn’t the same. I want the crazy colors and weird lighting conditions and ethereal vibe you get from Holga photos. I don’t want it for everyday use. I just want it for special projects — like taking a really beautiful, really unusual portrait of a friend or seeing familiar places with new eyes.

I’ve got some ideas in mind, but based on what I’ve read, it’s best to just let the shots happen and not try to plan too much when you’re playing with a Holga.

We’ll see what I get.


Almost a Holga


It’s not quite a Holga, but I bought a camera tonight that’s about as dreadful as anything I’ve owned. Which means, of course, that I love it. If I had Photoshop on my laptop, I would love it even more, as its potential for digital creativity strikes me as enormous. It’s a Vivitar keychain camera. It will take 20 “high-res” images (example posted above), 81 “low-res” images, or 243 “compressed” images. It’s also capable of taking a few seconds of remarkably decent video.

I bought it for two reasons: It’s the size of a Tic-Tac box, and it cost $10.

I’m a sucker for tiny things. I like to be prepared for any eventuality, so my purse currently contains all of the following: a tiny sewing kit in a metal box smaller than my thumb; an LED flashlight half the size of a cigarette; pocket-sized copies of the Bible and Science and Health given to me by my first Sunday School teacher, a WWII vet who carried them in his pocket many years before I was born; a Swiss Army card, which is like what you’d get if Q from the James Bond movies crossed a Swiss Army knife with a credit card; a miniature box cutter on a keychain; and a 10-foot tape measure.

I think this tiny digital Holga wannabe is the perfect addition to my collection of tiny random objects. 🙂