Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Worth the Weight...

As a further development of some of the ideas I have blogged about over the past few months I wanted to play a little more with close-up photography with a Holga. I have been enjoying the Holga 135BC (Black Corner) camera that I have - and which you could have too for just £40 from Minutefilm.co.uk. The combination of the Holga and a fast, grainy film gives a 'feel' that I really like. Until now the lens I have been adding to the Holga to get closer has been a 'Linen Tester' a sort of folding magnifying glass much used by old fashioned graphic designers like my brother... however I found an old paperweight that had been given to me years ago and I thought I would give that a go instead. It is a lens, a 'plano convex lens' for the techies - that is a lens that has one flat side and one domed side - but it is also a piece of marketing handed out by my former employers: Hasselblad.

Its main advantage over the linen tester is that the focal length is a little longer so the close-ups are not quite so extreme. I like extreme but one can have too much of a good thing... The paperweight is also a bit bigger than the linen tester so there is no cut off (which with the linen tester slightly added to the black corner effect).

So, having assembled the things I needed:
Paperweight - to use as a lens.
Tracing paper to check the focus distance before loading the camera.
A roll of masking tape for attaching both the paperweight and the tracing paper.
A small piece of wood to measure the fixed focus distance during the picture taking.
A camera, a tripod and a cable release,
and of course half a brick and some more masking tape to hold the subject in place!

This may all sound rather hit and miss and the first time I did it I did get it wrong more often than I got it right. However the more I play with it the more often I get something like what I expect. Really the only serious problem I have with this process is that it is not possible to frame accurately since the viewfinder bears no relationship to what the lens is pointing at so you have to do the best you can aligning things by eye.

The 3 black and white pictures you see here are full frame 35mm, scanned from TMAX 3200 negatives. I have adjusted the contrast, and spotted them in Photoshop and sharpened them slightly so that they work at this size. Otherwise this is exactly what I got!

Little did I suspect when I left Hasselblad that I would end up using a Hasselblad lens on my Holga! But it has been worth the 'Weight' (sorry about that one...).

1 comment:

  1. By "old fashioned" you of course mean someone who still knows one end of a pencil from the other...