This is part of my NYC Tet Travelogue.
this was originally written on 14 Feb 2010
Life sure is strange. This morning I was sure I’d be buying a Holga today. After talking to Danielle, it even seemed that SHE would get one too. She wanted to have one loaded with color film and one loaded with black and white film. Then she asked a few questions. I can’t remember the exact words, but it got me thinking. Do I REALLY want a Holga? I mean, the biggest attraction for me was the ability to medium format film. As I mentioned on 12 Feb, it’s a connection with the past and a chance to shoot with better film than I ever did. But the more I looked at other photographers’ Lomo results, the more I wondered if this was how I wanted to re-experience film. What put me off the most is the fact that the results are so random. I don’t understand how people go on vacations to places as far away as Asia with a Lomo as their sole means of capturing their experiences. They could be getting completely blown out photos the whole time and come back without any photo memories.
I think, in the end, the more I read about Holgas, the most I realized they didn’t fit my personality. The focus is not accurate and is often blurry even if you get the settings right. There’s only one f-stop and it’s insanely small. So you’re stuck mostly shooting outdoors on sunny days. Sure, that’s mostly what I wanted to shoot with the Holga – like the Brighton Beach boardwalk, but still – I think the expense in film is what gets me the most. I guess I have to admit it – I’m a cheap f-ing bastard. The thought of spending $20 total for film and development is just too much to bear when I don’t even know if the entire roll will be crap. Digital’s cost structure is just too awesome.
Of course, everything I listed as a negative is exactly what Lomography geeks tote is awesome about the Holga. So, in the end, it’s like trying to get with a girl because everyone says she’s fun, but everything she likes to do for fun is exactly what I hate to do. It’s not as much of a match as I first thought. Again, I’ve definitely experienced that with relationships. Girls I thought at first would be great fun to be with turned out to be people I couldn’t stand to talk to for more than a minute.
I think there’s still something attractive to me about trying film now that I know more about photography. Enough that I’m sure I’ll try it. I don’t mind spending the development money if the photos have a reasonable chance of coming out good. I even think that maybe medium format would be fun to shoot. But I think Holga won’t be the one I do it with. And that’s a shame because it’s the only affordable option right now. But, that’s also just life.
In other news, I went to the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday. I always wanted to get a shot from below the Brooklyn Bridge. I see lots of people take these shots and I never knew how to get there. While researching other shots to show Danielle so she could help me figure out how to get there, I saw mention of DUMBO. DUMBO strands for down under manhattan bridge overpass.
We ended up at a different train stop than I expected to, so we had to wander around a little. We passed by this really neat firehouse with a painting of the Brooklyn Bridge on it. But when I went to take a photo, they were raising the the garage door. A guy came out with a chainsaw and he saw us and played around for the camera. He was cutting some ice and after he was done we stuck around to see if the would close the door, but after a few minutes we were getting a bit cold and bored so we just left.
Afterwards we continued to head for DUMBO and found Brooklyn Bridge park. I got the shots I wanted. Well, kinda. I think I really wanted to get closer, but I also realized that I needed a wider lens to get the exact shot I wanted. From where I was, my EF-S 18-55mm (on my 400D 1.6x crop factor camera), could just barely get the entire bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan in one shot. I am anticipating getting the Sigma 10-22mm wide angle lens in the next few days (I’ve finally saved up enough money) and I’ll probably be back to try again. I also have to figure out exactly how to get over there because the way the onramps were designed for the bridge, they a impede direct route to the bridge area by foot.
While we were there, it appears that someone was probably shooting some portraits for an album cover. They were definitely professional-level photographers (if not out-and-out professionals). They had a grey Canon lens (probably EF 70-200mm f2.8L), and some assistants holding circular reflectors. And the subject was a woman with a guitar. So it could just as easily have been a model or fashion shoot, but we guessed it was a musician shooting for her album cover. That wasn’t the only bit of professional stuff going on around and on the bridge. After taking pictures we went back to the steps to ascend to the Brooklyn Bridge footpath. For the first time, I walked from the Brooklyn side all the way to the Manhattan side. When I first came to the Brooklyn Bridge (after getting my Fujifilm Finepix S7000) we went from Manhattan across the bridge, but we didn’t go all the way to the “Welcome to Brooklyn” sign.
We took some photos that might end up using to decorate the house (Danielle had some very definite ideas in her head for what she wanted).
Then, as we got to the Manhattan side, we saw some people filming a rap video. It was pretty funny to see two different professional events going on in roughly the same location, but at the same time – it IS New York City. Although it’s not commonplace, it is definitely possible to see various celebrities around the city filming movies or TV shows. Total, we were moving for an hour with an average speed of 2.6 MPH for 2.53 miles.
Finally we went to a french bakery where Danielle’s dad’s best friend works. We had tea and some sandwiches and pastries. The food was good and the the atmosphere was great. Definitely check it out if you’re into french pastries and french sandwiches.