Photo of the Week

This week’s photo is from Potsdammer Platz in Berlin, Germany.  It’s a truly amazing place with an incredible history.  It used to be a sort of no man’s land between the old East and West Germany’s, but has since experienced some renewal.  There are now many buildings, restaurants, etc, and it’s a very busy place during the day as well as at night.

This shot was taken with my Hasselblad Xpan using the 45mm lens and Fuji Pro 400H film.  I had a bunch of shots from the same night and I really love how they all turned out so great.


Sprocket Rocket – Panoramics on the sort of cheap

I own a holga, I admit it.  I didn’t buy it though.  A friend had bought it, used it for almost a full roll, and decided it wasn’t for him.  I’m never one to refuse a free camera, so home it came with me.  I’ll also admit that I have enjoyed it from time to time, but it certainly hasn’t become my one and only camera.  Mine has no light leaks and simply gives a soft shot with vignette, I don’t think I would like the ones that leak.


From the makers of holga comes the Sprocket Rocket, a new camera that takes panoramic film images and can even expose the entire film (hence the sprocket part of the name).  I can’t help but think if this camera had been available during my xpan search, I might have bought it first to try and satisfy my panoramic urges without spending too much money.  I guess in a way I’m glad I didn’t as I would have still bought the xpan and then had also wasted money on the above camera…

It shoots 35mm film, has a 30mm lens (zone focus), and has one shutter speed (as I said, same people who make the holga…).  It does have two wind knobs which allows you to move the film forwards and backwards while shooting, enabling you to do cool overlap effects.  I like the design and I think it’s a great way to get into panoramics, but I’m not sure if I’d spend the money on this one.

Photo of the Week

It’s been a while since I took this shot and it took me a little bit to figure out just where this had been… It was a field of poppies in Chantilly, France of course.  We were there on a visit to the chateau (which I highly recommend, I liked it even more than Versailles, certainly nowhere near as crowded).  It’s fall in Paris right now, and the leaves are turning and this summery scene was what I needed to see today…. Taken with my xpan, 45mm lens, expired Kodak E100.


Photo of the Week

This week’s photo is of course the Louvre in Paris.  I went to a flickr meet up, hoping for some exciting photographic discussions.  After about 20 minutes, I was thoroughly bored and decided I’d much rather spend my night taking pictures so I left with my xpan and gorilla pod and a roll of fp4 (not my first choice for night but it was in my bag and I was low of film).  Took a bunch of shots through the left bank as well as a few around the Louvre. This was my favourite. I think it’ll look great blown up.  As I said, taken with my xpan, 45mm lens and fp4. It was a multi-second exposure but I don’t know what, had the camera set to auto…

The Xpan Book

It’s published!  Matthew Joseph got a bunch of us Xpan owners together through flickr and put together a book of 32 Xpan pictures (colour and black and white) to be published and sold on Blurb.  All the photographers donated their images, and any proceeds will go towards a charity.  It was quite the undertaking for Matthew Joseph, lots of haranguing to get photos and text from everyone, but he did a great job pulling it all together.  Due to the wonders of alphabetical order, I got the first shot in the book!

To view/buy the book

My picture.

DIY Diaper Scanner

Why would you want to scan diapers? Well you wouldn’t of course, but when you’re in Paris for 3 months without a scanner and a boatload of film cameras producing roll after roll of film that you can’t afford to scan, you get crafty!

I’d seen a few ideas for diy scanners on Feeling Negative?, all were quite amazing, but some were either more work than I was up for, or I’d need materials that I didn’t have around.  The only tools I brought with me to Paris is a Leatherman and a roll of duct tape!  The simplest scanner seemed to be just taking a negative sleeve and hanging it in front of a white screen on my macbook pro and taking a picture with a macro lens (sigma 105).  While this worked in practice, once you looked at the picture full size on the computer, you could see all the individual pixels that made up the white colour, a neat effect, but not what I was going for.

I searched around for something to use as a diffuser, then one day our baguette came with some tissue paper.  I thought this would be perfect, but the paper had creases and made the light from the screen too dim.  Finally I decided the solution would be to bring the film away from the screen and set the lens to a shallow depth of field (2.8), thus eliminating the pixels showing through.  To do this I constructed a box the size of the screen with a depth of about 5cm.  I then cut a hole in the centre slightly larger than a standard 6×6 negative and duct taped the negative sleeve to the front over top of the hole.

As you can see from this xpan pic, it worked quite well for something that took a couple of minutes to make.  The image isn’t as sharp as a high end scanner, and it took a few minutes in photo shop to get it to look right, but for web posting on our Paris blog it’s more than adequate. I can always re-scan the best ones when I get home on my Epson v700.