Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Camera Collector

I'm not obsessed or anything, but when I think about it, actually own a total of eight cameras.

Film cameras:
Pentax zoom90-WR (somewhat broken)
Pentax ME super (somewhat broken)
Pentax K1000 (crack in the prism but otherwise intact)
Ansco gaf (old split screen point-and-shoot)
Lomo Super Sampler **NEW ADDITION

Digital Cameras:
Olympus D-460 zoom
Pentax K100 (digital SLR)
Motorola KRZR-K1 (camera phone) **NEW ADDITION

With the exception of the K1000 (which was given to me by a friend of a relative) and the Super Sampler (which I only got last week), all of these cameras have been my primary camera at some point. They all have their particular strengths and weaknesses. The Ansco was the only camera I took with me to Cuba - it just felt right and my ME super had just started throwing tantrums - and it took lovely photos of crumbling Havana architecture. The Olympus was my 1st digital, and the fact it was so light for cameras of its time made it a perfect companion when backpacking for the Hawkesbill Turtle Project. I took some incredible shots on that thing, simply by being able to take it places my other cameras couldn't go.

SO. The obsession continues. I'm currently having a great time checking out the particular charms of my camera phone. The Super Sampler is a toy camera from the Lomographic Society that I've had my eye on for YEARS. It is essentially four near pinhole camera lenses that take four side by side exposures on one "picture" - each image taken 2 or .2 seconds apart. For this camera to really shine, you need bright sunlight and lots of action (a sporting event, perhaps?). But sunshine is scarce this time of year, so I haven't made it through the test roll yet. Here's a blurry photo of the gadget, taken on my camera phone:
super sampler
AND, I was in the Metshop the other day, when I saw something I couldn't stop myself from buying: Sunprints. These are little blue squares of paper. You place an object on the square, stick it in the sun for a couple minutes, rinse in tap water, and an image appears. Magic! I can only assume these things are based on existing blueprint technology. My parents are in the land surveying business, this involves drawing maps, and originally my parents worked with my grandad and his ancient equipment. This included a blueprint machine: you take an existing drawing, stick it on some blue paper, run it through a machine that stinks of ammonia, and out comes a blue-and-white copy: the original meaning of "blue print." When I was a kid hanging out at my parent's office, I'd use the special blue paper to make images: find a leaf or something to stick on the paper in the sun, run through the stink machine, and you get a picture. I hadn't thought of this in years, but holding that tiny blue package in my hands, it all came back.

I was determined to test it first chance I got, but waited too late in the day and the sun was failing, so I went on a mad dash through the city looking for a spot of sun. Just as I was giving up, the sun broke through some clouds - it was on the verge of disappearing behind some mountains. So I just laid down my set up on an anonymous bit of side walk and tried not to look like a crazy person as I sat there staring at it and waiting for my five minutes to be up.
In the end I got a washed out image, due to the thin sunlight and long exposure time. And of course it has been raining ever since. Another new toy just waiting for a sunny day.
bule print feather

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