I just got my first roll of film back from Old School Photo Lab–woot! I’ll get into more about the actual camera stuff in a minute, but first I just want to say that Old School Photo Lab ROCKS!! I sent them the Holga film (Fujicolor Pro 400) as well as a roll of black and white I shot on my Canon FTb (Lomography’s Lady Grey, a 400 ISO b&w) and I am super pleased with the results (which you can check out on my Flickr page). These fine folks are awesome at what they do, and I’m not just saying that because they sent me a camera🙂
So the Holga. I’ve now shot two rolls of film on it (the color one which has already been uploaded here and a roll of black and white that I just sent up to them) so I’m starting to get a feel for the camera. The subject matter of these first shots is nothing exceptional, but I like to get a sense of what the camera is going to do before I try anything wacky with it (which I did on the second roll with some double exposures, long exposures, and flash).
First off, all the shots are rectangular, which isn’t what most people think when they think Holga. I looked at the two masks that came in the box and missed the tiny numbers that indicate which mask is rectangular and which is square, so I shot my first roll with the rectangular mask and square counter, then the second roll with the square mask and rectangular counter, so my first roll had a lot of gaps between photos and I’m thinking my second will have a bunch of overlaps.
The thing that messes with me the most is focusing. Since the camera isn’t an SLR, everything I’m seeing through the little viewfinder looks focused, which means I almost always forget to check the focus distance selection before shooting. Luckily I often shoot with at least one subject close-ish to the camera so that’s worked most of the time. The focusing process as a whole is not exactly precise, but the Holga aesthetic lends itself to having a subject that’s not tack sharp.
And I do really like the Holga aesthetic. I bought a Diana Mini at the start of the year because I wanted to shoot on 35mm instead of trying 120 + I liked the idea of using a toy camera, and while the Diana Mini has given me some shots I love, the Holga has the “dreamy” aesthetic that is more along the lines of what I expect from a plastic camera.
All in all there’ve been a few bumps in figuring out the Holga but I think I’m getting the hang of it and can’t wait to log some more time behind her lens. I’ve got a second roll on its way to being developed, and my next film to shoot should be here in time to travel out to the west coast with me for Christmas in Portland!