Category Archives: Cameras

Negativity and More with my Takashi Special Effects Camera


Holy Family Cathedral

When I was rummaging around Saturday looking for my generic Go Pro camera and I found my Takashi Special Effects Camera. It is kind of strange little camera with only 5 MP but it has various special effects built in such as negatives, black and white, sepia, and so forth. Check here for a list of my previous posts. Anyway I found it and fed it the AAA batteries it chews up like candy and took it for a walk at noon in downtown Tulsa.


I love the negative effect. It makes me see old sights in a new way.


It also gives scenes a spooky feel. I kind of like that.


The camera also has no shutter. When you press “the button” the camera just scans the photocell. So if you are moving the camera while it is scanning it distorts the image in ways that are pleasing to me. It is called the Lartigue Effect after a Frenchman named Jacque Henri Lartigue who discovered the effect in the early 1900’s. It can make buildings look kind of wavy.


I went down to the temporary replacement library for the Tulsa Central Library to pick up a book that I had on order and found out that that since they are closing it to move back to the regular library  they moved it to another library, miles away. Oh well.


I love our library and the staff and have known a couple of them over the years but the present administrator I kind of worry about. The library gave him several months off to finish his PhD and then we come to find out that that he spends a huge amount of time and money flying to conferences here there and yonder. Much more so than libraries of similar sizes both regionally and nationally. He says that is where he found out about automated book checkout machines. Wow, I remember those from the last century. Oh well. I go to one conference a year and I think I’m pretty much up on what is going on in the natural gas industry. Oops, off topic.


My favorite sidewalk in downtown Tulsa on Denver avenue.

So I walked back to the office taking pics along the way. Isn’t it wonderful that electrons and photons are still free?


Downtown Tulsa in a negative mode.


The entrance to a downtown apartment complex.

Anyway I always dragging my lowfi funky Takashi out, feeding it some batteries and taking it for a walk.

My Next Camera,Maybe? The work of Abelardo Morrell

As some of you know I am attracted to cheap offbeat cameras. My latest project is a pinhole camera that my Mother in Law gave me. I posted a few pics yesterday.

As much as I enjoy that camera and as much as I plan on using it some more I have my sights set on something even more ambitious but still relatively inexpensive.

I subscribe to National Geographic and a few months ago they had a photo spread that blew my mind away. It was photographs taken by a man named Abelardo Morrell and he used a “Camera Obscura” to take the photographs. A Camera Obscura is a fancy name for pinhole camera except in this case he used a tent as a camera and a periscope as the “pinhole.”  On National Geographic’s web site they showed some photographs he has made where he used hotel rooms and other small rooms as his “camera.”

The above for example is an image of St. Mark’s Basilica that is projected onto the wall of a study in a building across from the Basilica. The study is totally blacked out including the windows with just a hole about the size of a dime being the “pinhole.” Of course you have to use a regular camera to photograph the photograph so to speak. Abelardo used a small lens to flip the image to “right side up” since a pinhole camera shows a flipped image.

This is an image of Central Park by Morrell showing the upside down image.

And the following is a video put together by National Geographic showing how they made their own “room camera.”

So my next project is to make a room size Camera Obscura. Our house has an open floor plan plus lots of windows and I don’t think that Heather would appreciate me turning one of the rooms into a camera. We actually have a couple of rooms that would work except they don’t look over anything besides a picket fence in our side yard.

So I have fixed my sights on a hotel room in Dallas in April. I’m attending a convention there and I have already made my hotel reservations. It will be on the 37th floor of a hotel downtown. So, unless opportunity presents itself somewhere else that is where it will be.

Of course I have a few things to work out. First off of course is that my employer sends me to conventions to work and learn not build room size cameras. Plus I’m not sure how the hotel feels about it. Can you imagine the maid opening the door and seeing that I have overlaid plastic over the windows except for a small hole? They might want to discuss the situation. Plus I’ll have to have mastered my “good camera” for low light. long exposure because what the naked eye sees is really very dim.

So whaddya think? Am I off my rocker? Should I go for it?

I think it will be fun. I just don’t know how I’m going to bring the camera home with me. 

National Geographic Online Feature on Camera Obscura

Abelardo Morrell website Check it out. The man’s creativity is awe inspiring.

Pinhole Photography: Holga 135PC – First Roll


My MIL Nana gave me another film camera for Christmas, a Holga 135 PC. It doesn’t have a lens, it has a small hole (one fourth of a millimeter) where the lens is supposed to be. This is getting back to basics on photography. It has a manual shutter also. The shutter opens when you press the button and closes when you release it. This is because very little light gets through the pinhole and thus the shutter needs to be open for an extended time.


In bright sunlight you just open and close it as fast as you can. For shots in shade it may require up to 10 seconds. Inside shots can require a minute and a half.

(This is our dove nursery. We always get at least one dove nest here every year. Last summer I think we may have had three. Not all at the same time. We try and leave them alone and not stress them out.)

These cameras are known for making soft dreamy shots. Also, there is no focusing as it has a large depth of field.


The hard part is figuring how long to expose the film. A lot of chatter on the web about buying light meters and blah blah blah. Fortunately there is an app called PinholeMeter that I downloaded to my Ipod Touch. It uses the Touch’s camera along with the fstop and film speed to give you an exposure time. It worked great. Complicated light situations like the above are fun. I took readings on the rock wall, the shadowed glass, the wreath, the hedge, and the shadow. I got widely different exposure times so I used the wreath setting. As a result the rock got a little overexposed. It makes me appreciate all the ciphering that a digital camera does when it sets the aperture and exposure time.

(My tree shadowed on my neighbor’s wall. So you legal experts out there, who owns the shadow?)

All I need now is a “Take the Lens Cap Off” app. I took about ten shots before I realized that the lens cap was still on. Oh well.

(I love garden decorations. You don’t have to water them for one thing.)

I took the first roll of shots in and around the house just to test it and the app out a little bit. I am really pleased with the results.

(Neighbor’s willow tree. Pretty but I hate those long strings that fall in our yard. They don’t mulch very well when I mow the yard. They don’t rake up very well either.)

Of course this camera requires a tripod because of the exposure times. I am also going to get a cable release for the shutter. Anything to cut down movement of the camera is helpful.

Backyard Wheelbarrow
(Old school red wheelbarrow. How do you store your wheelbarrow?)

These images were made with 400 speed film. I have now loaded it with some slower 100 speed film and will be taking it out and about a little bit.

(I see lots of opportunities for double exposures.)

I love my digital cameras but there is something about film that really gets me. The richer colors of film, the nostalgic look, I don’t know exactly what it is but I just love film. I know that film in general and pinhole cameras in particular are pains in the butt and the effort is worth it to me.

(Hey, how about a shadow selfie. Holding down the shutter.)

What did you get for Christmas? Tell us about it.

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Christmas with the “P” Setting on the Canon SX40 HS

(A little over the top on the lighting intensity but that is how I’m rolling with my P mode this days.)

My “big” camera is a Canon SX40HS Powershot. It is a nice point and shoot with a Superlens which combined with great low light capabilities makes for great concert photos and is “concert legal” because it is is small and doesn’t have the separable lens. The only time I’ve ever been interfered with is at a Sting concert last year at an Indian casino in Thackerville, OK and all the ushers were doing was waving their finger at me. I’d put the camera away for a little while and then resume when they got busy waving their finger at somebody else.

(I think ice and Christmas lights go well with the P  mode.)

Anyways, the camera has been pretty much locked into the “A” for Automatic setting most of the time unless I used the low light option at a concert. I was using maybe 1% of the camera’s capabilities and I was okay with that.


The problem was that I was a little frustrated with several things. First off, taking pics inside under artificial light often gave everything a yellow cast and then taking pictures of things like Christmas lights didn’t turn out very satisfying. Also, taking of back lit objects led to dark shadows. I learned to live with all that. I don’t strive for perfection in my photos, I just forge on ahead and go with it.

(Heather and Rascal, with no yellow! And some detail on Rascal. He usually comes out as a black blob.)

But recently I’ve learned about the “P” setting on my camera and a whole new world has opened up. It’s got adjustments for everything that has been troubling me. It gets the yellow out of inside shots. It has ways of correcting the exposure on back lit objects. You can emphasize or deemphasize colors. I feel like I have a whole new camera!

(Nana, the world’s great MIL and Fiona.)

Sure, I read the manual a little bit but the fastest way to learn this stuff is via Youtube videos. My favorite are those made by an English lady who goes by “Snapdragon.” Here is her 5 minute video on the “P” mode.

I just love her voice. I understood her perfectly on this video. On some of her other videos I had to replay certain sections and I still had no idea what she was saying. Is their an English to Okie hack out there so I can get a translation?

So, I’ve been playing around with it. The bear shot above would have been almost impossible before I used the P setting. Now, I’ve learned how to get the camera to using the right exposure.


This is the kind of shots I was getting before learning the P setting.


I love inside shots without the yellowish tint.


And how to make colors pop out. Don’t be yakking at me about how I’m altering the pic to something unnatural. How about I just agree with you and we end the discussion! Sorry to be so blunt. I’m not much of a purist on the whole SOOC thing. I’ve learned on some of Snapdragons other videos on how to edit pics in camera. Given all the things that can be done to photos both during the exposure and afterward I don’t think that SOOC has a whole lot of meaning any more.


And I achieved, in a modest way, something that is almost impossible in a point and shoot. A little bit of bokeh. I know, I said a little bit. Snapdragon has over thirty videos on the camera and I’ve gone through a half dozen of them and will be looking at more. I don’t know if she covers other cameras or not but I bet you that whatever camera you have there are videos for it by somebody. Probably not with her hot English accent but you know, you can’t get everything you want in this world.

What’s next? She has videos on how to install and use “CHKD” on the camera. That stands for “Canon Hack Development Kit” and is something totally not sanctioned by Canon. It is internal software on the camera that enables one to shoot in RAW format and do all sorts of other wonderful things that typically can only be done on the “grown up” cameras. I am taking some time off over the holidays and I’ll be trying to install and use this mode. I just hope that I don’t turn my camera into a fancy paperweight.

So are using the full capabilities of your camera or is there a whole lot in there that mystifies you? I think with my new found skills on the P setting, I’ve gone from using 1% of the camera’s capabilities to about  2%. I still have a long ways to go and about two dozen videos.

The Adventures of Me and SuperPizzaBoy on our trip to the Tulsa Zoo with a Canon Canonet


It was my 9/80 day off Friday. I work 80 hours over nine days and get every other Friday off. Son, SuperPizzaBoy and I decided to take a fast trip to the Tulsa Zoo even though we had some on again/off again rains. It turned out to be perfect, the weather was cool, and the zoo was deserted. That suits both SPB and I. We are almost anti-social at times. I mean I like people but when it is crowded, the stupid people are the main ones who show up, or at least make their presence known the most. I don’t want to step on any toes in case you happen to be a stupid person. I mean stupid people don’t decide to be stupid, they are born that way. They can’t help it. Oops Sorry, I digress. And besides they were no stupid people out and about Friday morning, or at least the ones that were well were dispersed. That may be the solution for stupid people, dispersion. You know how some companies, and many present day politicians, used to think that the “Solution to Pollution is Dilution” well maybe it works for stupidity. Maybe not though.

Canon Canonet

I brought along the fifty year old, plus or minus/ Canon Canonet that my Dad gave me last month. It is a solid hunk of metal, glass, and not much plastic with a light sensor which sets the fstop for a given shutter speed but otherwise is manual focus, film feed, film speed setting, and almost everthing. It sure is silky smooth to operate and the shutter is so quiet that I wondered for a while if it was working. I love it. It’s a real gem.


We saw some Siamangs. I had never seen them so active out on their island. It looks like the zoo staff had put their food in the white plastic jugs strung along the rope so the animals were moving out and across fetching and eating their food.


Here is SuperPizzaBoy with the Zoo’s statue of Ganesha, a Hindu god with an elephant head placed next to the elephant building which is closed for renovations. Some of my fellow Tulsa citizens periodically make a big deal about the statue saying that its presence at the city owned Zoo means that the city is trying to establish Hinduism as an official religion. These are people who really do need a life or a new hobby or something.At least in my opinion.


We saw a tiger, who was pretty loud. Sorry no zoom on my camera and I’m not cropping the photo. The pics today are all SOC!


And a lion who was also mouthing off. I’m wondering if the big cats had their breakfast yet.


These guys, within earshot, seemed pretty nervous. What do they feed those big cats anyway? You ever thought about that? I think these goats have thought about it plenty.


We saw some African Penguins. they are only about a foot tall. They are cool though.


SPB tells me that the penguins are his favorite critters at the zoo.


On the way out we passed the flamingos. Talk about lazy, they were still sleeping. Lazy or smart, I’m not sure. What are the going to do when they wake up? Sure is cool how they can sleep while balancing on one leg. Can you imagine how hard that is? Especially here in Oklahoma where the wind never stops.


So we went home, with a stop at Walgreens to get the film developed. I’m pretty happy with the results.

So what did you do on Friday. 

Saturday, if the weather is good SPB and I might be going to Pawhuska (where the Pioneer Woman lives) to look at the Tallgrass Praire Preserve and the the bison who live there. Too bad Sweetie can’t make it, we could stop in and see Ree Drummond (aka “The Pioneer Woman”). She is a great cook but I think she’d lose in a cooking throwdown with Sweetie.

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Lomography Super Sampler Camera

I got me new camera (cue the groans from my readership). But wait this one is really cool (more groans). It is a Lomography SuperSampler multi-lens camera. It has four lens and is spring powered. You set the spring by pulling on a ripcord. When you hit the shutter button it opens each of the four shutters over a two second period. That is it for controls. There are no exposure, focus, or anything other buttons, not even a viewfinder.  Just my kind of camera.

Lomography Super Sampler

So I’ve only had one roll of film developed and I’m liking the results so far.

Flags at Floral Haven SuperSampled

This is cheating. You can’t take a bad flag shot can you?


My mil’s dog Fiona was not too impressed when she found out she couldn’t eat it.

MIL x 4

Speaking of mothers-in-law here is mine times four. She is a very long suffering woman. At least as far as what she puts up with from me. But I’m worth it…. Hey throw me a bone somebody.. Oh, somebody cut me some slack!


Also speaking of long sufferring here is Sweetie. One advantage of multi-lens cameras is that all is not ruined by a little thumb in the shot.


And SuperPizzaBoy. I have to treat he and Sweetie a little better. They are going to be picking out my nursing home.

So far I like it. The pics are interesting but the best part is pulling the camera out of my pocket and pulling the ripcord before taking the shot. I get a few looks.

Minolta Zoom 110 SLR – My “New” Camera

#minolta_110_zoom_slr my new old #film #camera
Way back in 1977 when I graduated from college I bought this camera. It is a single lens reflex camera that uses the once popular 110 cartridge film: a Minolta 110 Zoom. I used it for a few years and moved onto other cameras. I always did like its funky shape and its “feel.” I’m a sensory guy and things have to feel right or I don’t like them. The Minolta had a nice heft to it and the sounds it made when you hit the button to take the shot or pushed the lever to advance the film felt just right. I was never very happy with the photos though. They seemed a little grainy and not very sharp.


Well 110 cartridges have become available again thanks to Lomography dot com so I ordered a couple cartridges and loaded them up and over the last couple of months took a few pictures (Cuz, yall are very nice but I’m not a photographer so I don’t capture images, I’m a picture taker so I take pictures.)


I took the pictures and then waited a month or two before I sent the cartridges off to get processed. Some things never change do they. Well I got the photographs back and I am really happy with them.


The photos are sharper than what I remember and the colors much more vivid. It seems they used to be kind of washed out. So I don’t know if it is the film quality now compared to 35 years ago or maybe my dementia as kicked in the last month or so because of the Girl Scout Cookies I’m eating, or just what.


The camera doesn’t have auto much of anything. You set the f stop and it figures out the shutter speed is about all. You have to focus yourself. Above is a slightly out of focus shot. I still like it but it isn’t very sharp.


(World’s Tallest Totem Pole, Foyill, Oklahoma)

Gotta love Orpha’s. Downtown Tulsa’s last dive bar.

Overall digital beats analog hands down. It’s faster and cheaper and you can tell right then and there what your shot looks like.


Analog, you still have to buy the film and then get it processed. It is pretty expensive.


But I love the look and feel of analog. The various apps and filters available for digital images are amazing but they are not the same thing.

This is SOOC but I’m still a major cheater on this photo.

I think analog will always be a part of my picture taking.

(My son about to be swallowed whole by a blue whale!)

Do you still use your old film cameras?

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My new Takashi 521 FX Camera

Takashi Picnik collage 1

I got some money for my birthday a while back so I used it to by a new camera. It is a Takashi 521 Digital FX.  It is digital camera that simulates an analog camera. It has several built in modes. One can take pics in a “normal” mode and also black and white, sepia, negative, and various color tints. So its a fun camera to play around with. I’m still working with it and these are some of my first pics.

Takashi Picnik collage 2

As you can tell it is fairly low tech but I think that I’m going to like the old timey feel of the pics.

Takashi Picnik collage 3

Have I taken leave of my senses? Probably! I’ll still be using my high tech digital cameras and my low tech Diana Mini film camera. The Takashi will be another tool in the bag so to speak.