Define an area as `safe' and use it as an anchor.

Toy camera effects with digital SLRs

I love lo-fi photography.

Shooting lo-fi removes any obsession with capturing the “perfect” image. With lo-fi photography, I focus more on composition, creativity and experimentation than when I shoot with a “real” camera. Vignetting, soft edge focus, light aberrations, limited exposure latitude, color casts, even light leaks – the imperfections add a level of personality to the photo.

I have a collection of my lo-fi photography up at

One of my favorite lo-fi cameras is the SiPix Stylecam Blink. It only shoots 640×480, but has a wonderful dream-like plastic camera effect. And, it was only $10 on eBay!

I would like to get a little more resolution than is possible with most lo-fi digicams. Enter Randy Smith at Holgamods. He’s made tweaks to Holga cameras for years, adding black flocking to the insides, adding a bulb setting and remote shutter release threads. Dude from has done some wonderful night-time photography with his.

Randy has taken a Holga lens, mounted it on a Canon lens cap, and made a digital Holga hybrid. What a wonderful idea! Some of the samples on the net have the same plastic camera quality, but with none of the complication and expense of shooting on 120 film.

Some photo examples with the digital Holga lens are online here. has another alternative – a tilt-shift lens made for several modern camera mounts. Version 1 uses a rubber assembly to hold in aperture rings. Version 2 has a sharper lens and uses magnetic locks to hold the aperture rings in place. The 3G model allows for pinpoint focusing and tilt lock. Both the Holga lens add-on and Lensbabies give modern digital DSLR shooters a means for creative, frivolous shooting. Very cool.

If you want do get that same toy camera effect digitally, see my previous post about the Holganizer. In addition, there are Holga actions for Photoshop that let you automate the effects process. But, it’s a lot of fun to shoot with a plastic camera!

Lomography+JPG Mag+Photojojo meetup (Updated)

See for the whole story. Now, with more photos!




How to spend quality time on the web?

Here’s an interesting post from Merlin Mann, one of my favorite productivity gurus on how he’s going to improve his approach to the web:

…To be honest, I don’t have a specific agenda for what I want to do all that differently, apart from what I’m already trying to do every day:

  • identify and destroy small-return bullshit;
  • shut off anything that’s noisier than it is useful;
  • make brutally fast decisions about what I don’t need to be doing;
  • avoid anything that feels like fake sincerity (esp. where it may touch money);
  • demand personal focus on making good things;
  • put a handful of real people near the center of everything.

All I know right now is that I want to do all of it better. Everything better. Better, better.

#2 resonated the most with me – continually evaluating return on investment (whether it’s time, money, emotional investment or whathaveyou…) should be a continual process.

Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home

I’ve never been a fan of camera bags that looked too much like a
CAMERA BAG!!!“. Much of my photography is done at dusk, early mornings, and urban street street photography in dodgy neighborhoods. I need to be able to pull my camera out, take a shot quickly and stuff it back quickly, all the while looking innocuous.

My current bag is a cheap $12 messenger bag, and is stealthy as hell. As a day to day bag, it’s WONDERFUL. It holds my laptop, all my computer peripherals, a LOMO LC-A, papers, pens, my lunch, and whatever else i could throw at it.

Unfortunately, there’s no padding and no compartments inside, so lenses, flashes, cameras, film, and whatever else is free to jostle about. One good drop would total a camera.

Enter the 7 Million Dollar Home. From a distance, it looks like a plain old messenger bag, but it’s got stiffeners, padded, reconfigurable dividers, a zipper compartment inside the flap, an expansion pocket on the front of the bag, a pocket that might work for a tripod, an adjustable strap with removable pad, and it looks like it’s built to last.

I’m taking it out tonight for a test-drive, wish me luck!

Product page (Crumpler), Buy a 7 Million Dollar Home (Amazon)

“American Photobooth”, a book review

American Photobooth is a new illustrated history of photobooths, which first made their splash in the 1920s. Photographer Nakki Goranin became obsessed with the technology after creating a series of her own photobooth self-portraits now in the collection of the International Center for Photography in New York. She then spent nearly a decade tracing the history and culture of photobooths and collected thousands of vintage photobooth prints, like those above. The new issue of Smithsonian profiles Goranin and includes an online slideshow of images from the book.

Goranin doesn’t much care for the mall’s machine, which is digital. But, she says, there are only about 250 authentic chemical booths left in the United States…

Before the photobooth first appeared, in the 1920s, most portraits were made in studios. The new, inexpensive process made photography accessible to everyone. “For 25 cents people could go and get some memory of who they were, of a special occasion, of a first date, an anniversary, a graduation,” Goranin says. “For many people, those were the only photos of themselves that they had.”

Because there is no photographer to intimidate, photobooth subjects tend to be much less self-conscious. The result—a young boy embracing his mother or teenagers sneaking a first kiss—is often exceptionally intimate. “It’s like a theater that’s just you and the lens,” Goranin says. “And you can be anyone you want to be.”

Photobooth article (Smithsonian), Buy American Photobooth (Amazon)

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BBF, a TLR 35mm camera?

(updated, more picture-y goodness at the bottom!)

A little birdie told me about the BBF (Blackbird, Fly), a camera that the LOMO Society was planning to sell. I hadn’t heard of it before and decided to do a little research.

A little googling uncovered this post with some information. It sounds fun – a 35mm TLR with basic manual controls that shoots a square image? I wonder who would be able to develop them as square? I suppose anyone who processed 6×6 prints should be able to figure it out.

My first experience with a TLRs was with old 120, 620 and 127 cameras I had originally collected as interesting wall art. When I dusted them off and loaded them with film, I found the combination of a coupled viewing and taking lens, the distinctive upright shape of a TLR, and the old-school feel of a waist finder to be a unique experience in photography. With a TLR, I was more in touch with the shot, spent more time composing, more time taking my shots and ultimately took better photos.

The manufacturer’s official page is at

Check it out!

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