how not to holga

A few weeks ago I photographed Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier as it was destroyed by fire. At the time I fired off a roll of Fuji Provia 400 film through my Holga to see what I results I might get and how these would differ from my D200 shots.

This turns out to have been a perfect example of almost everything it is possible to get wrong with a Holga, so what better way to deal with my failure than by putting it on the internet for all to see?

Error 1.) Leaving the camera in “bulb” mode and over exposing the first two frames. oops.

holga error

Error 2.) Trying to do a panoramic with a Holga but not advancing the film enough or moving the camera enough. oops.

holga error

Error 3.) Not securing the back of the camera allowing it to open and expose the film and ruin it. oops

holga error

Error 4.) Assuming the whole film was ruined when in fact I only needed to advance it 2 frames and could easily have used the rest. oops.

holga error

The only thing I didn’t get wrong was I managed to remember to set the focus correctly. So, one full roll of film, and processing costs, and all I have to show for it is one frame of the pier burning, which isn’t even that good anway. Curses!

Weston Pier burning, holga style

The next two rolls I shot with the Holga were processed at the same time and have all come out great. I blame my pier fire errors on the fact that it was early in the morning and I was still half asleep!

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monkey see, bristol zoo

Meerkat, What?


In the last of the “what I did on my holiday” series, I’m going to break from tradition and actually not say anything bad. We were lucky enough to go to Bristol Zoo on one of the three days this summer where the sun came out. So it was a nice day.

Granted it rained at about four in the afternoon but we were already in the car on the way home then.

Bristol Zoo isn’t a bad day out really, although photo opportunities are limited to shooting through glass or long lens stuff. These are all shot with an 80-400 VR lens.

Monkey business

Meerkat, on guard

I’ve run out of stuff to say. Until next time, bye!

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oh deer

I mentioned in my Wookie Hole post that we’d been to various attractions during our week off work – one of these attractions was Longleat.    Longleat is actually a pretty good place to visit, there is a lot to do, in fact we didn’t get to see even half the stuff so we are going back to see the rest!

The only problem with Longleat is that it’s full of shuffling cretins. Normally this particular species of human can be easily avoided or ignored but at Longleat you are continually smashed in the face by acts of sheer moronity (a new word I invented).

Take for example the drooling gibbon lady who stopped her battered old Peugeot 406 to look at the Tigers. Ahh, pretty stripy tigers. BUT YOU ARE BLOCKING TWO LANES OF TRAFFIC YOU UTTER UTTER GOON. So now something like 30 cars have to sit and wait. And wait…. And wait…….

Until the mouth breather and her brood have crushed their faces up against the car windows for long enough and having had their fill of tigers they move on, only to block the entire two lanes a short distance later, ohhhhh… Look at the Wolfies…. droooooooool…

Still the tigers didn’t seem that bothered.

Tiger at Longleat

Acts of stupidity such as stopping in doorways and blocking pathways are the norm at Longleat. Luckily I am a calm and balanced person so I wait until I get home then write sarcastic things on the internet because actually saying something to someone just wouldn’t be the correct behaviour for an Englishman.

The best bit of the Safari driving experience has to be the fallow deer – you buy a cup of food, then you feed them and they eat right out of your hand. Look!

Fallow Deer at Longleat

As I was taking this photo of a particularly cute deer eating out of my wife’s hand, another impatient chap had his head right in the car trying to find some delicious deer munchies:

Fallow Deer at Longleat

Second highlight of the trip was watching a car who felt that the massive queue waiting to see the monkeys didn’t apply to him. Fortunately one cheeky little chappy had a sense of justice and so ripped a couple of trim pieces off that particular car.

Throughout the safari I attached my Nikkor 80-400VR lens to my camera to see what photos of the animals I could get but there ended up being a number of problems, such as focusing through wet glass or through my front windscreen which has a heating element in it. As a result almost all the photos were consigned to the big delete bin in the sky.

The deer photos were taken with a Sigma 10-20mm, the Tiger photo with a Nikkor 80-400VR.

A special mention to the chap with a back seat full of kids who shouted the “C” word out of his car window at another driver. That kind of high quality parenting gives me hope for the future of our country, I salute you sir.

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i done maded a web page

Occasionally I like to furiously smash the keyboard on my computer in the pursuit of creating something moderately interesting. I feel a sense of achievement having made something which will be looked at by literally as many as several people.

I also like free things, and I constantly marvel at the stuff that people are willing to give away for nothing. For instance, whilst digging around for free gallery viewers to use in a web page, I went to have a look at what the latest version of SimpleViewer is looking like, only to find the author Airtight Interactive has moved the game forward with several new flash gallery packages.

One that caught my eye was the TiltViewer package because not only is it all whizzy and 3D and makes my eyes and brain feel all nice, it also has a very cool feature in that it can display images using a live feed direct from a flickr stream. So I thought I’d give it a test. For those without a pathological aversion to flash websites, you can click to view my tiltviewer flickr gallery. For anyone that doesn’t like flash, you’ll have to make do with this image showing you what you are missing.

Tilt Viewer

Hurts doesn’t it? I’ve only had a brief look at what else you can do – one thing is specify a tag from flickr so it only loads images with that tag – such as this Holga gallery or this Cars gallery

In other news, I had a comment and an email requesting a more detailed photo of how my suction cups attach to the metal poles for my car rig. Happy am I to oblige as I continue my one man crusade to lift the shroud of secrecy pulled over car rigs.

Car Rig Suction Cup

Car Rig Suction cup and pole

So there you have it – a hole into which you insert a pole. Then tighten a screw. This particular pole has a bevel cut out of it, but I’ve used some lengths of aluminium which don’t and it doesn’t need them, as long as the pole is 5/8th of an inch you will be ok. Also you should use solid aluminium not hollow, as it’s not strong enough and you’ll get loads of flex otherwise.

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wookey cheese hole

“Everyone needs a holiday”, said Ernest Hemingway, except of course that he didn’t say that because I just made it up.

In an attempt to prove that day tripping our way around the South West of England is actually more expensive than a week in sunnier climes, we spent a few days visiting various attractions within driving distance. In no particular order, Bristol Zoo, Longleat and Wookey Hole all were graced by the soles of our shoes and my incessant camera waving.

Starting with Wookey Hole; I’ve visited “the hole” a couple of times before and thought it a fairly interesting attraction. However each time I go they make the tour more and more cheesy with ludicrous lights in the shape of Witches plastered across every available surface replacing something called “imagination” which was what the tour relied upon when I first went as a scrawny little child.

You can’t see the Witch in this picture as I waited till the tour guide had moved on and propped my camera on a handy rock (there are loads of rocks in the caves, oddly enough) but trust me, she was everywhere.

The Caves at Wookey Hole

Speaking of cheesy, with any requirement for imagination having been replaced by rampant commercialisation, portions of the caves have been set aside as a giant fridge for storing cheddar cheese during the ageing process. This means sections of the caves smell like an arse, so basically we paid money in order to smell arse. Great.

Cheddar Cheese at Wookey Hole

The section of the tour that showed the Wookey Hole paper mill in action was closed for “improvements.” which was nice as they warned us it would be closed when we paid full price for the ticket – oh wait – no they didn’t.

I’m sounding like a miserable sod, because that’s what I am, in actuality we had a lovely day out including a delicious lunch at the Wookey Hole Inn which I’d highly recommend to anyone not least because they have about eight Belgian beers on tap.

One final comment – to the couple who bought an 2 year old child into a dark, wet, smelly cave, then spent the entire time trying to stop her relentlessly screaming in fear, nice one, thanks, I really preferred hearing your child scream instead of the tour guide, really.

Can you tell I don’t have kids yet?

Coming soon, I moan about idiots in cars (Longleat) and animals that do that disturbing repetitive behaviour thing (Bristol Zoo).

Bet you can’t wait!

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