The photographer’s daypack part 3: Toy camera style
Well, it seems like we hit a nerve with Jonas Lundström and he’s out for blood.
With all the hubbub surrounding Holga Week 2015, he wrote in to
complain softly ask why we haven’t yet featured any “toy cameras”. Well, we’ve got news for you, Jonas…the first picture in our first article was taken by yours truly on my very own Plastic Fantastic™.
Anyway, being the
benevolent overlord kind sort of person that I am, I invited Jonas to give us his take on what kind of daypack the toy camera / Holga / Diana / Plastic Fantastic shooter should be taking out and about during this year’s Holga Week.
Here we go, don’t say you weren’t warned… Jonas, it’s over to you to inspire the plastic masses!
— — —
Okay, hold on… What’s with all these fancy cameras all the time? C’mon, let loose and grab yourself some plastic fantastic action.
Daypack? More like a cloth bag with something fun on it. Do you miss mixtapes? Get one with that on it!
OK, let’s go…and yes, you CAN use a Domke or whatever else you have lying around for your toy cameras, too.
Anyway, let’s check those “bare necessities”:
- A pen/pencil and small notebook.
- A fine tip marker.
- A small lens/eyeglass cloth.
- Some spare film (fast, slow, color, black and white).
- A spare battery.
- A light meter, or alternative.
- A rubber band and some stiff card.
Really now? Well it could’ve been worse. Let’s make some adjustments along the way. Saddle up!
#1 – Pen and paper
Fun for doodling your future camera modifications in. If you’re part of the notebook army then sure, use it as your manual EXIF. In all seriousness, they can be useful for those new garage sale bargain finds. The shutter on that plastic fantastic might have slowed down a bit over the years. What’s next?
#2 – A fine tip marker
Not bad, not bad! A quick note on the roll is worth a lot six months later when you find it in the back of your closet. Make it a permanent marker if you want to scribble on/decorate your camera, too.
#3 – A lens, or eyeglass cloth
Do you have glasses? No? Then no worries about this one. A bit of smudge on the lens might just make that perfectly dreamy shot you know! Plus, you’re probably covered in cloth anyway, use that if you spill ketchup on the lens.
#4 – Spare film
Yes! Some expired, some to cross process, another redscale, and maybe that mystery roll from the garage sale that might be exposed already.
Into black and white for toy cameras? Okay, some variety in ISO for you then. By the way, don’t forget that Svema from the 60’s for when you want a REAL challenge!
#5 – A spare battery
What? Oh, for the flash I guess. Unless you’re using one of those Canokimatic/ Ouyama “professional” SLRs with their potato masher flash and motorized film winder *Wrrrrrrr!*.
#6 – A light meter , or alternative
If you nodded in agreement when you read “notebook army”, this is probably for you. For the rest of us? Hey, your camera probably only has one aperture and shutter speed anyway – not much to keep track on. I admit that the Sunny 16 rule is good to know though. Practice with your Smena and you’ll get the hang of it.
#7 – A rubber band and some stiff card
Rubber bands are fun and stiff cards are in your wallet but what you’ll get more use out of is some electricians tape. The black kind is perfect for taping up those cracks in the plastic and generally keeping the back on your Holga from falling off all the time. It’s also good for keeping those fat Diana rolls together.
Get colored tape if you want to decorate your camera while you’re at it, or you could write the aperture and shutter speed on that instead of directly on the camera (most cameras being black and all…yes I’m looking at you, box cameras).
Talking about the cards in your wallet, they can come in handy. For example you, can stick one or two behind the shutter button on your Holga for a hands free bulb setting. Just use your hand or funky hat as shutter.
That should cover the necessities, eh? Now looking at the medium format daypack. Hmm…. Ah, of course! Don’t forget a close up lens for those detail shots –great for flowers, snails, peoples ears and stuff.
#Bonus – A close-up lens
Where did I put that magnifying glass? Ah, here it is…
A 2x magnifying glass gets you about 20 cm or 8 inches from your subject if you’re focused at infinity, maybe an inch closer if your lens is “focus free” and set to the hyper focal distance, like most box cameras.
Just look at what kind of shots you can get from this kind of set-up:
Not bad, eh? “How do I use it?” I hear you ask. Simple:
- Take your (unloaded) camera and tape some frosted tape across the film path on the body.
- If your camera has a bulb mode, use that to keep the shutter open.
- Grab a magnifying glass and tie some string to it.
- Point the camera (with your magnifying glass in front of the lens), at an object.
- You’ll be able to see an image on the frosted tape you stuck to the camera body.
- Move the object further away from, or closer to the camera, while keeping an eye on the image being projected on your tape.
- Once it’s in focus, measure the distance using the string and then cut it, mark it, or tie it off at the right length.
- TADAAA! Plastic macro!
Here’s an example of how you might want to calibrate your own plastic fantastic macro:
Wow, that’s a tricked out daypack we’ve got now! Now you’ll be ready for anything! Just in case you’re still not convinced that a simple plastic camera can take great shots, have a look at some of these:
I was about to recommend a tiny tripod but eh, there’s stuff around us everywhere to lean the camera against for those bulb shots. If you even want to hold the camera still, that is!
Anyway, that should settle it. Got any questions? Then by all means, fire away ☺
— — —
And I’m back
And there we have it. “Thanks” Jonas…it was really…er, really interesting! Can I have my website back, now?
This all felt a little dirty but in a good way and actually, there are some pretty good points in there. I wonder how many Hasselblad fans will be ditching their extension tubes and Proxars for a magnifying glass and piece of string?
…I’m off to try it out.