The Monti HipstaPak Revisited - Part 2

Americana lens and C-Type Plate film applied in Oggl

On Saturday I featured examples of altering a series of images originally captured using Hipstamatic’s Sergio lens from the Monti HipstaPak I felt the overpowering drab yellow tint had limited uses as is, but when paired with a proper film, Sergio would redeem itself.

The previous post showed when the original image captured using Sergio with Sussex film was introduced to Oggl. As an alternative lens/film applied as a second layer with in Oggl, the photograph takes on a historical charm, the very intent by the photographers pre-visualisation prior to taking the image. 

Lowy lens and D-Type Plate film applied in Oggl

Not limiting myself to just this small selection of options, I’m also considering the US 1776 film as a second layer because of the graininess, no border and for the films complimentary appearance to the mid 19th century. The lenses considered with this film are Americana, Helga Viking, Jimmy, and John S.

As you can see by the first three examples with the US 1776 film, the degree of tonal values shift from slightly underexposed Americana lens to Helga Viking’s proper exposure. In order to achieve an over-exposed look, a few lenses served the purpose well, however I decided to use the lens Jimmy, due to it’s’ rendition of the over all scene; finally, John S lens because vignetting and a sense of underexposure.

Americana lens and US 1776 film

Helga Viking lens and US 1776 film

Jimmy lens and US 1776 film

John S lens paired with US 1776 film

Finally, I am considering retaining all color values but also making sure that keeping faith with the early days of photography, by using Blanko BL4 film. For my second layer of effect by selecting the Ray Mark II lens for that cool down of the warm color shift, Tinto’s 1884 over all antique effect and limited focus area. The John S lens for the various color shifts it produce, along with the feeling that the image is underexposed. 

Ray Mark II lens combined with Blanko BL4 film

Tinti 1884 lens and Blanko BL4 film

John S lens and Blanko BL4 film

Also considered is the Mabel lens, as it renders the photograph not only as a chrome image but also gives the gold a vibrancy and hinting of the highlights being blown out and lacking any details. During the review process, I also elected to include the rendition of the Americana lens with Blanko BL4 film for its color shifts but in a cooler spectrum.

Mabel lens and Blanko BL4 film

Americana lens combined with Blanko BL4 film

Regardless of the second layer of combination that is applied, one needs to remember the original layer beneath, all of which goes back to pre-visualising ones final results before beginning to shot and for the need to have a good understanding of Hipstamatic’s collection of film and lenses.

It is also very essential that when one wishes to emulate a certain look, a certain final appearance in a photograph, one must have at least an understanding as to photographies past. This means being familiar with the various alternative developing processes, but also the various commercially available films that were marketed throughout the last century. Let us also not forget the instrument itself, the different types of cameras and the lens.

Americana lens paired with Blanko BL4 film

A note about the images featured

The original images from this photo shoot have had any post work applied to it, so that they remain truthful to what result Hipstamatic produces. All images featuring examples of lens and film combinations, were screen captures using an iPad with Retina display.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


The Monti HipstaPak Revisited - Part 1

This last Thursday I had the opportunity to test Hipstamatic’s Monti HipstaPak, which I was not a fan of when it was first released because of the Sergio’s lens overly drab-yellow tint and the soft circular appearance with a focus center, along with the packs film, Maximus LXIX border. Yet the examples Hipstamatic features for the Monti HipstaPak I have not been able to reproduce and felt the combination of the lens and film is subject to specific light conditions and the scenes general colorations and these I have yet to encounter.

So when spontaneity urged me to make a u-turn and pull in the only empty parking space in front of a church I had often passed but never entered, I did so now. Upon entering the unimpressive structure, other than for its architectural golden onion topped shaped steeple towers, I was overwhelmed by the interiors beauty and sumptuous richness. I felt I had been transported not only into another culture and foreign country, but time as well.

Before taking a photograph, it is important not only to pre-visualise ones end results but also the message which one desirers to convey. I felt these surroundings in which I now find myself, provided a good opportunity to revisit the Monti HipstaPak, which I originally did not care much for.

Original Hipstamatic Classic Sergio/Sussex Combination

Since I am not a huge fan of having a border imposed upon my images, I elected to use my currant favorite film, Sussex from the Brighton HipstaPak in combination with the Sergio lens. I also choose to capture a few images using the Sussex film with Hipstamatic’s sharpest lens, the Lowy.

Once back home and having uploaded the images to my laptop, I saw that indeed, that in order for the Sergio lens to properly shine, specific colors in the scene, as well as specific lighting conditions needed to be present, to replicate the intent of the Monti HipstaPak. On the other hand, the film Maximus LXIX has little effect upon the over all outcome of the image, other than providing an image with a border.

Though I am very pleased with the results that were captured at the Holy Virgin Joy of All Who Sorrow, Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Western American Diocese, I viewed the photographs being more period specific, due to the timelessness of the subject matter.

We may find dislike with some of Hipstamatic’s monthly offerings, yet there may come a time when a very special effect is desired and knowing what you have in your camera’s toolbox becomes important. 

One of the advantages to the Sergio lens is when paired with a proper film. The Tinype SnapPak with the Tinto 1884 lens is limited to a certain type of photography, but the two films, the D and C-Type Plate film have unique features that provide one with a look of photography’s very early days.

Akira lens and D-Type Plate Film for rich blacks

Florence lens with D-Type Plate Film for a more visual focused center

The use of either of these two films would be one way to build my visual intent upon and to do so, I would have to make use of Hipstamatic’s there program, Oggl. While the Hipstamatic Classic camera should have provided the ability to uploading an image form ones camera roll, Oggl now does so and this advantage eliminates having to take multiple exposures with different film/lens settings when starting a new series.

Lowy lens and D-Type Plate Film for over all sharpness and tonal evenness

Currently there are 43 films and 40 lenses to choose from and as a second layer to my Sergio/Sussex combination, I am focusing on using Akira lens for saturation, the Florence and it’s lightening darker areas of the image, reveling more detail, and Lowy for having super sharpness and overall tonal evenness when using it with the Black & White D-Type Plate film. 

With the C-Type Plate color film I am applying also the Akira lens for it’s warm color saturation and Americana lens, as it produced various color tints, reflecting instability and the early attempts to make color film. The other example with the Wonder lens for that vignetted look caused by the lenses lack of spread when used with a larger sheet of film then what it was attended for when using a view camera. 

Akira lens and C-Type Plate film

Americana lens and C-Type Plate film

Wonder lens and C-Type Plate film

This coming Wednesday will be part two, the conclusion of this demonstration and tutorial by featuring two more film variations and the very different looks that are achieved, while retaining the old world charm of the early days of photography.

A note about the images featured

The original images from this photo shoot have had any post work applied to it, so that they remain truthful to what result Hipstamatic produces. All images featuring examples of lens and film combinations, were screen captures using an iPad with Retina display.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

Passport to My Neighborhood - Accidental finds

Last Saturday I went to San Francisco to meet a friend and upon my walk from New Montgomery Street to where we were going to meet for dinner, which after a while seemed distant, I kept on the look out for anything interesting that I may wish to photograph.

I was not disappointed when stepping off the train and heading towards the escalators. All I had to do was wait for all the people to pass, those who had exited the train with me, before I could frame on the iPhone my first discovery.

As I made my way through various parts of the city, the wind was blowing with force, whipping between the tall buildings, and bringing with it a chill. I remained undeterred, pressing forward, looking at the architecture in the hope of discovering some interesting angle that could be juxtaposed with its surroundings.

Though I kept looking skyward, I remained also aware of the streets and sidewalks where other geometric patterns and abstracts could be discovered, the kind that inspire transformation with brush and paint onto large canvas. And while he architecture left me disappointed, the ground did not.

I am sure I could have made a few more discoveries, but by now I had reached my destination and it was time to meet my friend, have dinner and  then enjoy the Beethoven and Shostakovich performances at the San Francisco Symphony.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Oakland Murmur Art District and Best in Show

Wisteria - Dianne Poinski, Best in Show

Last Saturday I attended the artist’s reception at the PHOTO gallery in Oakland’s Murmur Art District to congratulate my friend and colleague Dianne Poinski on her win for her photograph “Wisteria,” for which she received ‘Best in Show,’ along with an award of $1000 Dollar. The exhibit “Best of Botanicals” was the second collaboration between PHOTO - Fine Art Photography Gallery and the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society. A percentage of the sales will benefit the SF Botanical Garden Society. Best of Botanicals was a national juried exhibition.

The artist’s reception also featured a talk by Harold Davis, bestselling author on digital photography and recipient of numerous awards. David spoke about the “Making the Botanical Photo: The Digital Print as a Artifact.”

Over the last number of years, Oakland has been developing the Murmur District with the help of small business owners into a vibrant and unique art district. The narrow old industrial brick buildings that make up most of 25th Street, where PHOTO gallery is located, may appear an unlikely place for numerous galleries but the conversion of former auto body shops and garages, gives many of these gallerias and co-op studios their very charm.

On the 19th of June, the 25th Street galleries held their “First 3rd Thursday ArtWalk” with two more to follow over the summer months. The next one will be July 17th and then August 21st, from 6-8 pm. This event is separate form the Oaklnad Art Murmur “First Friday Art Walk,” when galleries in Oakland downtown, Jack London Square, Temescal, and West Oakland will be participating. For more information on Oakland’s First Friday, please check the link at the end of this article.

After visiting with several other friends who also attended the “Best of Botanicals,” I stopped off at a co-op gallery shared by several ceramic artists. One of the artists had some of his shelves displayed like a cabinet of curiosities, which I not only had to explore but also photograph.

I had hoped to visit my friend Bobbie Altman, ceramist, who was taking part in the annual Open Studio, but sadly I was running late and I still had to get to San Francisco for an evening with Bruce and the the San Francisco Symphony.

OPEN Gallery website
Oakland First Friday website
Oakland First Friday map website
Bobbie Altman website

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


ShoulderPod 3-in-1 Mobile Rig

ShoulderPos S1 Mobile Rig

Today is the official release date for the ShoulderPod S1 rig and in the next couple of days I should be receiving mine from Barcelona, Spain for review. 

The principle behind the ShoulderPod S1 is very simple. It is designed to accommodate numerous model types of mobile phones; in the capacity as a hand held unit; attached to a tripod mount; or used as a stand. 

While I have yet to try the S1 rig, I did wish to announce that the company is offering the ShoulderPod S1 for the next three days at an introductory price of $29.90 US Dollar, instead of the regular price of $34.90.

ShoulderPod demonstrated as a hand held unit

ShoulderPod shown mounted to a tripod

ShoulderPod S1 as a mobile stand

Clamp diagram

If you wish to take advantage of the introductory sale price for the ShoulderPod S1, check out their website for more information and to place your order.

ShoulderPod website: Click here


First Friday of the Month - Jalisco HipstaPak

Every month we go through an array of emotions, in in anticipation of a new lens and film(s) combination released from Hipstamatic. This month was no different and with the release of Jalisco HipstaPak, containing Chivas lens and one film, Estrada 83.

My initial impressions was mixed, especially since a number of new releases this year, fell short and offered little for the consumer and I wondered if Jalisco was going to disappoint us? Since daylight was still a couple of hours away, I checked FaceBook to see what the scuttlebutt was, as it is making its way through the grapevine. Excitement was soft and there was also a fair amount of disappointments, especially since a good number of photographers were hoping for a new black and white HipstaPak. 

While waiting for daylight, I checked Oggl and tested a few older images I had taken in San Francisco Chinatown with Jalisco, knowing that such a preliminary test would not be fully valid, since the Hipstamatic sample image was now a by-product of two lenses and two films.

Finally the moment came, the light was just right for testing the Jalisco HipstaPak combination. Earlier I had saved Chivas lens and Estrada 83 film to ‘Favorites,’ along with several other combinations in which one element was always part of Jalisco HipstaPak. I choose to include the John S lens, because of it’s strong cast of alternative color, including Lowy for it’s straightforwardness of rendering the scene with no side-effects. My other two choices in lenses was Wonder for overall even tonality and the recent release of Sergio with its golden tint and over all softness with only a focused center. 

I certainly could have also selected a good number of films to test the Chivas lens against, other than just Blanko 일, which has recently been one of my favorite films, despite the very soft texture of Japanese rice paper, that accompanies every photograph.

Chivas/Estrada 83 combination, no flash or any post processing

Choosing the pink Hydrangeas as subject matter, we need to be aware that the color spectrum is limited, since it does not include any blues or yellow, all of which would have an effect on the results of the Jalisco combination. Still we would have a good idea as to the capabilities of this HipstaPak.

One thing we quickly notice is the frame that encompasses the image. A frame made to look like pealing paint from a wooden window frame. In general, the consensus among my colleagues, is that most would prefer all films and lenses not generate a frame of any kind. That frames should be part of the post process as not to interfere with the master photograph.   

Chivas/Blanko combination, no flash or any post processing

Upon closer observations we see that around the photographs edges and intruding into the image at different percentages, are emulations of water stains. These water stains vary with each exposure and along with the lenses circular edge softness that is actually part of the film, all of which makes this a pleasant effect, unfortunately it is being over powered by the dominance of the frame.

John S/Estrada 83 combination, no flash or any post processing

I really love this combination of a John S lens with Estrada 83 film. All of a sudden my excitement has taken an upward spike, as colors are richer and deeper, unlike the washed out colours, along with a color shift to the blues as we see with Chivas/Estrada 83 combination. However the frame is a distraction, even though I will admit, due to the photographs subject matter, does have an appeal in the over all final presentation of the photograph.

Lowy/Estrada 83 combination, no flash or any post processing

Using the Lowy lens, I am assured not to have any anomalies intruding on the image and I would see what the Estrada 83 film is responsible for producing. THe results clearly reveal it is only the frame.

Upon closer examination of the frame and the various alternatives, I have noticed that there is one section with little variance from image to image other then its location or the occasional horizontal flip. 

You will notice in the above image that the bottom portion of the frame has a distinctive pattern and when we look at the previous image, the John S/Estrada 83 version, we see the left vertical portion of the frame having the same pattern. This insignificant variance in the pattern almost renders this film useless when dealing with a project in which one’s work is a series, unless manually altered in a post production program.

Sergio/Estrada 83 combination, no flash or any post processing

Like the John S/Estrada 83 combination, the pairing of Sergio with Estrada 83, has a great appeal, especially when applied to a subject matter of flowers. The very shallow depth due to the Sergio’s circular softness, helps the eye to focus one the element the photographer wishes the viewer to focus upon. It seems obvious I must really like this combination as the next sample is also the Sergio/Estrada 83 combination.

Sergio/Estrada 83 combination, no flash or any post processing

Wonder/Estrada 83 combination, no flash or any post processing

The Wonder lens has an even tonal quality, rendering soft blacks in color and whites more like subdued egg shell white, that the over all image has less snap, especially when the Wonder lens is paired with the Hipstamatic film Claunch 72 Monochrome. The results with the Wonder lens, we achieve a more subdued color spectrum and a photograph that appears in the mid-stages of color fading.

While there are now 40 possible different lens combinations with the pairing of Estrada 83, there is plenty of room for experimentation and with another 43 films, there are 1,720 possibilities. 

Shot with 6x6, no flash or any post processing

If you are also an Oggl and you would like to see how a film/lens combination reacts, it is important to introduce a none-Hipstamatic image into the equation. By using 6x6, PureShot or even the iPhone’s native camera, your photograph will be absent of the LowFi and special effects and so the results of various different combinations within Oggl will be a closer representation to a particular pairing when used in real-time.

While this is not a complete film/lens test in which all lenses and films have been applied to either the Chivas lens or the Estrada 83 film, we do have an impression as to the Jalisco HipstaPak potential and one can make an assessment as to the over all value of this HipstaPak.

In the end, the Jalisco HipstaPak adds marginally to the overall Hipstamatic film/lens collection. The Chivas lens with its soft edges is a good replacement for the Tinto 1884 when applied to either the D-Type or C-Type Plate film. This also applies if one does not want the strength or tint of the Sergio lens.

The random water stains are a very nice addition, even though clashing with the dominating white frame and it’s pealing paint and when we take out the frame from the assessment, Chivas and Estrada 83 would make a nice portrait combination. Even as a combo for emulating the early days of photography, the Jalisco HipstaPak would be useful, but then once again we are faced with the issues of the frame.

I grant you, Hipstamatic was founded on the principle of toy cameras and LowFi results, but when one develops only variations of what is already available in the Hipstamatic tool box, one can only be disappointed. Yet we remain hopeful that future releases would provide the excitement we once felt for Brighton, Buenos Aires HipstaPak or  the Tinto SnapPak. For there are so many potential lenses and films to draw upon, even looking at paintings to entice one’s inspiration, that we just have take a different direction then the one Hipstamatic is currently traveling.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

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