Printing my holga work

I spent a few hours in the college darkroom today, making just two prints from my holga negatives. I am trying to get better at it, so I took my time.

I used a medium format colour enlarger, starting off with no filters creating a very flat muddy print:

I then applied a magenta filter creating a better contrast and longer exposure, making this:

I was also able to burn in the holga vignetting and dodge some of the shadows like below:

Having the filters built into the enlarger takes some getting use to, but it is useful to create better prints on varrible contrast paper. 

I’m still working on getting the paper straight and framing but the sloppyness seems to look good for images from a holga. Practice, practice, practice.

Printing my holga work

Holga around town

I wanted to do something different for materials and processes blah blah research for my FMP, so the holga camera out.

To make it more fun I taped a red filter over the lens:

The film is also processed differently from I what I usually do. I wanted to preserve highlights and have some sort of sharpness. To do this I agitated 15 secs every 3 minutes rather than 10 secs every minute. The film was pushed to 1600 (compensating for the red filter). Full technical: Developed in hc110 Dilution E at 20c for 14 minutes, agitated for 1 min at start then for 15 secs per 3 mins.


Here is the whole roll, from snapshot to blunder, of a walk around town looking for subject matter:

Stop signWeathered signWastelandBeer signageGraffitiMr straws houseDog in a windowFly tippingPriory ChurchGraffiti 2Market crossGatehouse

The holga is a lot of fun.

Holga around town

Stuff I saw – Clumber park with a Holga

Last night I ran a roll through the holga again. I scratched the shit out of the film somehow -maybe it was done in camera. I also had trouble spooling the film again, so the cupboard became the bastard-film-out-of-a-holga-and-onto-reels cupboard, once again fighting for space with shopping bags and the hoover.

I experimented with the built in flash. This holga seems to reflect the flash inside somewhere, kinda annoying, probably won’t use it much now. Having batteries in the camera really weighs down the plastic camera too.

I tried shots of the local wildlife, and double exposures of reflections in the water with some success. My favourite though is probably the church spire and tree with scratches either corner -which looks intentional. The waterfall is good too, though I’m still looking for a cable release adapter, which seem to have disappeared from the internet, so I can stick an nd filter on.

Stuff I saw – Clumber park with a Holga

Thoughts on Holga

The Holga is a well known plastic toy camera that film photographers either love or hate. I have had 3 different models, and I personally hate them at times. It’s not the plastic body with its light leaks from every nook and ridge, or the simple meniscus (one element) plastic lens, or the useless viewfinder that gives no indication of frame lines or focal length perspective (the equivalent idiom that might explain it – “might as well be talking to a brick wall”, in that the viewfinder tells you nothing).

No, I don’t mind all that. It’s when I take film from a standard holga 120 and try to spool it. I can’t explain it, but something about the holga for me makes film unwieldy and awkward. Normally I can spool film, especially 120, straight away. Perhaps it doesn’t keep the film tight enough when I roll on. Hell, I don’t know. All I know is I get frustrated, scratch the film a bit, and move from the changing bag to a closet, fighting for space with a shelf unit stacked with hammers and tools.

I struggle with both Holga 120n and Holga 120 GFN, but funny enough I have not had a problem with film out of the wide pinhole model. I swear at times I’ll go digital and be boring, and then I see the results. And more often than not, after all the trouble of taping up a holga and the awkward film that comes out of it, the results are worth it.

Here are a few frames for holga week:

FernsPushing DaisiesTemple and Graffiti double exposureRJCalow_HolgaWeek-1-2RJCalow_HolgaWeek-2-2

Another good thing about the holga is the ability to modify them easily, which I did by making a pinhole camera. But that’s for another post.

Sidenote – heres a top tip for holga cameras



Thoughts on Holga