I recently did an interview with Lomography which has now been published in their online magazine about the Highgate Cemetery Workshop I attended in October.
Check out the interview and photos here.
I recently did an interview with Lomography which has now been published in their online magazine about the Highgate Cemetery Workshop I attended in October.
Check out the interview and photos here.
I recently became aware of the Lubitel range of cameras when I arranged for my husband, a couple of friends and myself to go on a photography workshop with Lomography in London.
We were to choose one of their range of cameras for the workshop which, involved an evening of wondering around Soho for a couple of hours taking night time shots with one of their loaned cameras.
We had to decide on which camera’s we would like to try beforehand so they could make sure it was available at the workshop. I therefore showed my husband the range of camera’s on the Lomography website and he decided that he liked the look of their Lubitel 166+ camera.
I asked him what he liked about it over the other cameras and he said he liked the fact it was a medium format camera using 120mm film (as he likes the square photos) and that you have to look down into the viewfinder rather than a standard camera that you put up to your eye. He also liked the fact it had two lenses rather than one and just the general box style of it.
I had never been particularly interested in this style of camera before. However, the more I researched it, the more fascinated I was by it.
When I booked the workshop, Lomography informed me that they may not have a spare Lubitel 166+ camera for my husband to try as they had already loaned one out and wasn’t sure if it would be back in the shop in time for the workshop.
I thought this would be a shame since he seemed so keen on trying it out so I thought about buying him one as a surprise so he would have his own to keep instead.
However, I wasn’t prepared to pay £289.00! I therefore began the hunt of finding a second hand cheaper one….
I quickly discovered that the actual Lomography 166+ Camera doesn’t seem to come up for sale second hand that often. There was one on eBay for £40 but it didn’t have it’s original box or any of the accessories that it would have originally come with. It also wasn’t in great condition with marks on the paintwork.
I knew from my research that this camera was based on the original Lomo Russian Lubitel camera and quickly found that various models of the original Lubitel camera are for sale in abundance second hand and at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
I quickly decided that I would like to buy him the Lubitel 166B model since it was a bit more simplified than the earlier models, plus it is easy to do multiple exposures if you wanted to because you have to wind the film on manually with this particular model.
Ideally I wanted to buy one that had the original box, instruction manual and accessories. A few complete ones I found on eBay in great condition unfortunately also came with a higher asking price of £60-£80 plus.
As luck would have it, I ended up purchasing one completely boxed in mint working condition (looked like it had hardly ever been used) with the original box, a film winding spool, soft case, lens cap, neck strap (still in packet!), english instruction manual and cable release from a guy in Littlehampton, which had recently been listed on Etsy for £34.50. What was even more lovely was that the date of manufacture is handwritten on the back of the instruction manual (February 1986):
So I attended the Lomography Workshop and fortunately they were able to loan my husband the Lubitel 166+ camera. Since he isn’t that familiar with film camera’s, it quickly became clear that he had picked a rather complex camera to try out since it doesn’t have a built in light meter and the way of winding the film on in this camera and how to point and shoot it was extremely unusual to him.
On this particular evening in London, there was a constant heavy down pour of rain throughout the whole evening and we got completely drenched. It meant that it was very difficult for any of us to try and take decent photos outside and I found myself constantly apologising to my friends and husband for dragging them all they way from Brighton on the train (which had engineering works so was a long journey each way) to an event that none of us were really enjoying due to the bad weather.
What made things worse is that within 5-10 minutes of us leaving the Lomography shop to take our photos, it became clear that there seemed to be a fault with the Lubitel 166+ camera my husband was trying to use and it just didn’t seem to wind on properly and we weren’t sure if any of it was actually working at all. By this point we had lost the leader of the lomography workshop and was doing our own thing until it was time to return back to the shop and hand back our loan cameras and the films to be developed.
The following week, once our films had been developed by Lomography, we discovered that the Lubitel 166+ hadn’t produced any photos whatsoever and the roll came back blank so the camera hadn’t worked at all which was a shame.
This in turn, put my husband off completely using this style of camera. I then had to break the news to him that I had actually treated him to a version of one and as you can imagine, he wasn’t very excited by this.
So the camera arrived in the post and since I knew my husband wouldn’t be using it anytime soon I decided I would try it out for myself.
I managed to pick up a copy of the ‘Lubitel+ Love from the waist level’ book by Lomography cheaply on eBay (since Lomography have currently sold out of this book) and after reading that (which I really enjoyed) and watching various youtube videos and reading the actual Lubitel 166B instruction manual, I took the camera out to play and test that it actually worked.
As mentioned before, it doesn’t have a built in light meter and the photos I took was on a cloudy day. I was using Lomography Colour ISO 400 120mm film in the camera and rather than use a light meter, I went by my gut and my experience from using my Pentax K1000 camera and shot the film at aperture f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/125.
After my husband’s experience with the camera in London, I was quite nervous about getting the photos developed as I wasn’t sure I had done anything right on the camera and if there would be any photos. The main reason for this is because the shutter button releases so fast when pressed that it almost doesn’t feel like the camera has taken an actual photo.
Yesterday, I picked up the negatives from Colourstream in Brighton and thankfully there were photos…..11 in total! I knew I had missed a frame because I accidentally wound the camera on over one frame in error and couldn’t figure out how to wind it back.
Here are the photos:
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect which in my opinion is part of the fun of film photography.
However, I am quite impressed by the colours and detail in these photos! I really love the overall feel and style of photo that the camera produces. The last image is a double exposure as I wanted to see how that would look but I chose a tree and a bush to photograph which seem to merge so it may be difficult to tell that it’s actually a double exposure.
I really love this camera which I’m quite surprised at. I’ve much to learn still as some of the photos are wonky because I’m not used to shooting a camera ‘from the hip’ so to speak so I’m currently working out the best way of holding the camera to keep the image as straight as possible without having to use a tripod.
I feel this camera actually suits my style of photography because it is a slow camera. By that I mean that you have to take your time in taking a photograph as it’s not easy to point and shoot. You have to really work on getting the photo as you want it in the viewfinder and it shows as a reversed image which I’m actually fine with but I can imagine some people may find that quite tricky to work with if they want absolute precision of an image. As I work quite artistically with my photography, there is give in my style of photos so they don’t have to be 100% accurate to what I’m actually seeing.
A lot of my photos tend to be of still objects so I can patiently take my time perfecting the shot to how I want it to be. I would imagine in other fields of photography such as street photography that this camera would be an absolute nightmare to use because I would imagine the moment would have passed in the time it would have taken to line up the shot, get the exposure correct and distance etc.
I also need to work on the distance scale. From my first attempt, I couldn’t seem to see the focus in the viewfinder making any difference if I changed the lens from 1 metre to infinity. Apparently from what I’ve read the camera has a well know flaw for this and most people just tend to shoot with it on infinity.
You’ll see that some of my photos do seem out of focus so I’m hoping as I use the camera more, I’ll become more accurate with the focusing and if not, then perhaps I’ll just have to see that as being a fun quirk of the camera!
Now I know it can take photos, I’m going to be using it a lot to learn more about how it works. This camera is also quite light weight as I suppose it is cheap and cheerful in comparison to better made TLR’s but I actually like that because it is easy for me to walk around with it.
I look forward to blogging further about this camera as and when I take more photos with it.
I’m also hoping that when I show my husband the photos, it may encourage him to try it out again.
The 35mm film has an ISO of 200 and from the sample photos I saw it gives a rainbow colour effect. Dubble Film state that results of the photos will vary depending on shooting conditions.
I decided to try this film out in my Pentax K1000 camera. I also knew that I wanted a circular fisheye effect. Now, I could have just done this in my Lomography Fisheye No. 2 camera but I wanted some control over the exposure which I knew I’d be able to do in my Pentax. This is because from previous experience of using Dubble Film’s Bubblegum film, I know that it had been best to over expose that particular film and I may have struggled to do this in the Lomography camera since I don’t have actual control of aperture and shutter speed except for cloudy/sunny option.
I also have a circular fisheye lens for my Pentax K1000, which I attach to my 28mm lens on the camera.
The reason I decided on using a fisheye effect lens was because I knew the film is pre-treated so the rainbow effect would show up on all of it and not just the circular photo. Normally the area around the actual circular photo is black when I take a picture so I thought it would be interesting to see what colour effects would show up on the black area.
I figured this style of film would be best suited to landscape style shots rather than of actual people so I decided to shoot a test roll on the beach where I live.
One key thing to remember about this film is that it only has 24 exposures. I had recently been shooting a lot of 36 exposure film so I completely forgot this when merrily shooting away and it meant that I missed out on some photos I had wanted to take because I thought I had another 12 exposures left to use.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film but it certainly did give a rainbow colour effect and I think it worked well on the beach. Here are some of the photos:
I’ve owned a Lomography Fisheye No. 2 camera for several months but hadn’t felt the need to blog about it until now.
The main reason was because I also have a circular lens for my Pentax K1000 which I always thought would give me better control of my shots due to it being an SLR.
Also, when I first tried out the Fisheye No. 2 camera I wasn’t overly happy with the results. I now realise it was probably due to me trying to be too sensible with the camera. I had taken some shots locally around where I live to test it out and I had used a normal colour film. Both of which I felt did not do the circular style photos any justice and they ended up looking really boring and dull.
What also hadn’t helped was that I had let the handy plastic lens cap with a strap which was attached to the camera just merrily dangle at the bottom of the camera when taking my shots and I didn’t realise whilst shooting that it would end up in a majority of my photographs like the one below:
Can you see it? The white circular thing that my dog and cat are looking at. I was most annoyed at myself for not realising this at the time of shooting but I guess I just didn’t see it in the viewfinder when I was taking the photos.
After being somewhat underwhelmed with the photos and knowing I had a circular lens for my Pentax K1000 I considered giving this camera away. Thankfully my husband intervened and talked me into keeping the camera (I think partly because he thought the actual camera looked really cool with the black and silver chrome design).
The camera remained on my shelf back in it’s original packaging for a few months, then one morning after feeling guilty about having a camera just sitting there not being used, I thought to myself, why don’t I load it with some LomoChrome Purple 35mm film and try again?
I promptly removed the lens cap and strap from the camera and popped to the local cemetery as I knew the purple film would work well there.
This time when I got my roll of film developed, I wasn’t disappointed. I was extremely impressed with the results! Here are a couple of shots I took:
What I really love about this camera is how easy it is to take multiple exposures! If I was to attempt that on my Pentax K1000 it really isn’t as simple as a push of a button like it is on this camera.
I had great fun experimenting with the multiple exposure option and here are some of the results:
I now finally understand this camera and it was really fun to use especially when using a fun film such as the LomoChrome Purple. I was also really impressed with the multiple exposure shots and will definitely be experimenting more with these.
The other great thing is that it’s fairly light so I can carry it around easily in my bag when out and about taking photos.
I’m going to try using the camera at night time next since it has a built in flash so I’ll be interested to see the results.
On a final note, I’d also like to mention that the ‘Fisheye Rumble in the Pond’ book by Lomography is a fun read. I had bought this book around the same time I purchased the camera as it gives some tips on how to shoot with the camera.
Since I wrote my blog about the Polaroid 600 camera, I have been completely obsessed with taking photos on a Polaroid camera.
The main reason is because I love the size of polaroid film. I feel the detail that comes from the photo is much greater than what I ever got on a mini instax film.
I was using my Polaroid 600 box camera quite a bit but quickly found myself getting frustrated with it. This was due to it being quite boxy which I struggled with taking out and about everyday with me unless I took a larger bag. I also quickly realised that I didn’t have much control on the focusing, which is fine if I’m taking a picture from a long distance but on shorter distances the photos were hit and miss.
I really love the design of the SX-70 folding camera and particularly loved the chrome and tan detail of some of the models so I knew that this was ultimately the Polaroid camera I would really love to have.
There are different types of the SX-70 folding camera but thanks to the Polaroid book by Rhiannon Adam I was able to decide that I would like to own the SX-70 Alpha 1 which came out around 1977.
The key differences that the Alpha 1 model has to the earlier SX-70s is that they have a built-in tripod socket, a guaranteed split-focus viewfinder, neck strap lugs and a fill flash capability where the flash isn’t limited to just being fired in low light conditions.
I had already decided if I was going to purchase one of these then I would need to pay a fairly high price for one if I wanted it in great condition. On eBay they are extremely popular and can go for quite a bit of money if several people get into a bidding war. There are some that come up cheap on eBay but they are often untested which I feel personally, you could end up paying even more to then get it refurbished. Also, I found that the Alpha 1 models don’t seem to come up as often for sale as the earlier models.
After much research I ended up purchasing my camera from a company called Revival Studio who are based on London. They sell refurbished polaroid cameras and they also come with a 6 month warranty.
The camera was immaculate and beautifully restored. Since the Alpha 1 model has the neck strap lugs, I was able to attach an original strap to the camera which makes it great for carrying around over my shoulder.
I’ve not been disappointed by this camera. I absolutely love it. The folding option makes it quite compact so I can also put it in an everyday handbag.
What’s also great is that I can use 600 Polaroid film in the camera if I use the Mint Flash Bar. I do tend to use the 600 film more than the SX-70 film because of the wider range of editions Polaroid Originals do. The cheapest place I’ve found the flash bar for sale is at Mr Porter where it costs £60 instead of around £80 which seems to be the usual price. You can also use the flash bar for the SX-70 film if taking photos indoors.
Another great accessory for this camera is the Mint SX-70 Lens set which can also be purchased from Mr Porter for £60 so again is cheaper than other websites that sell it for around £85.99. I was pleased to buy mine from there and delivery in the UK was really quick.
I purchased the camera back in September but wanted to experiment with it for a while before I blogged about it.
Since the camera is very transportable I do use it several times a week and I’m beginning to get a real feel for how it works and the best ways to take photos and when to use the light and darken switch depending on the film I’m using in the camera.
I’m at the early stages of experimenting with this camera and currently have tried both the Blue and Pink 600 Duochrome film, SX70 Colour film, 600 colour and black and white films and also expired films which have produced some interesting results!
I’m going to be blogging about the different film types and filters I’ve currently been using with the camera and some of the actual photos over the next week.
On Saturday 20th October I visited Highgate Cemetery to do a Lomography workshop using the Diana F+ camera.
You’ll see from one of my other blog posts that I already own a Diana F+ camera so am familiar with how it works, but I’ve always wanted to visit Highgate Cemetery so thought this would be a good opportunity to finally go.
The cost of the workshop was £20 which included a loan of a Diana F+ camera, a roll of black and white 120mm lomography film, entry to Highgate Cemetery’s East side plus development and scanning of the film that was used during the workshop.
I arrived at the cemetery’s box office (where the meeting point was) and quickly saw how popular this workshop was going to be since there were a few of us.
There were several employees from Lomography who also attended the workshop so they were able to split us into two groups.
Before we went into the cemetery, we were given a handout about occult photography in the 1800’s. We were told that with the Diana F+ we would be able to create some ghostly style images and were even offered some tissue paper if we wanted it to create an ectoplasm effect.
There was a whole bunch of Diana F+ cameras in different colours on display at the meeting point which were pre-loaded with black and white 120mm film. The nice thing was that we were allowed to pick a camera ourselves rather then just be handed one.
We were shown the features of the camera and were informed that we’d always be best off using the cloudy setting on the camera for UK weather even on a bright sunny day. The day of the Workshop was very bright and sunny which I was pleased about since we’d be outdoors. I’d also learnt something new as I personally would have used the Sunny setting if I hadn’t have been told this.
We were talked through how double exposures can be taken on the camera to try and create a ghostly effect. We were also shown how we could take pinhole photos if we removed the main lens and took a longer exposure in bulb mode.
Since the film only has 12 shots, we were also able to purchase more film if we needed it for an additional £5. I’d thankfully thought ahead and brought my own Diana F+ camera with me and some spare black and white Lomography film. However, I initially used the camera they loaned for the workshop since it already had the film pre-loaded.
We proceeded to walk round the East Side part of the cemetery and it certainly didn’t take very long to use up the 12 shots. I then used my own Diana F+ camera with the spare film I had brought with me.
I decided to take the used film home with me rather than let Lomography develop and scan them since I have my own flat bed scanner that I scan my photos on and I wouldn’t have to wait for them to post me the negatives after scanning the film etc.
Here are the results of the photos I took using the camera that Lomography loaned me during the workshop:
I can see why Lomography used this particular camera for the workshop as the heavy vignetting produces a great dreamy effect which I think works really well with the graveyard shots and also the black and white film gives them an old fashion feel.
Here are the photos I took using my Diana F+ camera and the black and white 120mm Lomography film I own:
I think most people will agree that the photos I took using my camera are a real disappointment and this is because the backing paper from the film has imprinted itself onto the negatives.
I can see this has happened on a couple of the shots too using the loan camera from lomography but it’s not been no where near as bad as my film.
I’ve since discovered this will most likely happen if the film is expired or not stored correctly.
I normally store my film in the fridge, however, I have to admit that I had originally intended to use this black and white film in my Diana F+ camera several months back for another project which I didn’t end up doing and I lazily left the film on the side and didn’t end up putting it back in the fridge. We’ve also had quite a warm summer in England and the room where the film was left does get very warm so I think this has definitely been a contributing factor.
Overall, I found the workshop great fun and the Lomography staff were really nice and extremely supportive with any queries we had throughout the workshop which ran from 1pm-5pm.
I thought the workshop was great value for money and such a good thing to do around Halloween time.
If they run one next year, I would highly recommend it to anyone who can get to London and is keen to try out the Diana F+ camera.
Back in September I visited Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for the day along with my husband and a couple of friends.
I knew my husband would be taking lots of bulk standard photos during our visit there with a digital camera so I decided to mix it up a bit and load up my Sprocket Rocket Camera with some LomoChrome Purple 400 35mm film.
I’d figured that whilst visiting I would be taking a lot of landscape shots, which the Sprocket Rocket Camera is great for since it’s panoramic and as mentioned in previous blog posts, I love the sprocket hole effect.
Unfortunately on the day I visited, the weather was really bad and constantly rained. This meant I didn’t manage to take as many photos as I had originally planned.
Also the frame counter on my camera didn’t seem to be working properly and I’m still not sure whether this was me not loading the film correctly or if the film had got slightly jammed or due to the torrential rain, in my haste to try and take photos quickly, I just wasn’t using it correctly.
Either way, since the frame seemed to remain constantly around the 3 mark and didn’t seem to count upwards beyond that number, I knew that I would most likely end up with multiple exposures which is exactly what happened.
It transpired after developing the film that several of the photos I’d taken ended up being multiple exposures and here they are:
Here are a couple of shots that I must have managed to move the film on correctly so they didn’t end up as a multiple exposure:
Trying to take photos or do some sightseeing in bad rain was certainly not a pleasant experience and although I didn’t manage to take as many photos as I had hoped, I’m pleased I at least managed to take a couple.