First Friday of the Month - Brussels HipstaPak Revisited

Earlier this month I reviewed the HipstaPak Brussels and despite my few reservations, I had recommended the lens and film combo. I still stand firm on my review, so why am I revisiting this HipstaPak? Just because I have reviewed an item, it does not mean I do not continue to test and try an item after publishing my findings and so it was with the Brussels combo. 

During a walk, I came upon a pond with numerous wonderful Koi of various splendid colors and sizes, that within seconds the iPhone was engaged and I quickly decided to use the Hipstamatic Classic camera application. After my first exposure and having a look at the results, I was intrigued and decided to continue  shooting. With every additional exposure I became more and more excited, now finding myself workings seriously at various elements to obtain that one image where everything comes together as one.

The Brussels lens and film has a tendency to turn areas into solid color by stripping any detail from the subject. While I did find this irritable in general, under the circumstances in which light, shadows, reflection and movement of the Koi, magic happened.

Not every image shot that afternoon was a success. There were many failures and just as many “just” alright, but then a small handful on the other hand were better than just alright.

The other reason why I am so excited by these results is that the movement of the water interacting with the reflections, created the appearance of a special effect that was achieved in post production. 

A few weeks later I came upon another pond with Koi fish and after a couple of exposures, it was clear that light, shadow and reflections were needed to be able to achieve the kind of results I had a couple of weeks earlier. 

When I have the opportunity to return to the original location, I can only hope that I will have perfect condition between light, shadows, reflections and movement, in order to have a chance in achieving the perfect photograph.

Note: All photographs in this post have not been altered or retouched in post production, except for one, “The Solitary Koi.” 

The Solitary Koi

All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Experimental Photography - A Book Review

The title is somewhat misleading, considering that a good portion of the book introduces the reader to numerous first techniques available for processing images more than a century ago. Never-the-less, there are plenty of examples of creating your one-of-a-kind camera or pin hole system one may wish to build for truly surprising and experimental photographs.

Having tea and reading up on “Experimental Photography”

This books serves a good purpose by introducing curious photographers in the alternative imaging processes without going into great depth. In a way, “Experimental Photography” serves as a guide for mobile photographers using applications like Hipstamatic Classic camera, or the post processing app “Photo Copier” and the like, who base a good portion of their filters on old traditional photographic photo processes and provides them with an understanding how the image was created. 

Sample pages from “Experimental Photography”

I also believe the book offers a photographer of viewing at their own work differently, by thinking how any of these older techniques or mobile application filters would complement a certain subject or scene.

Everything in the book is nicely compartmentalized, brief and direct, with each concept given two pages and in some cases four, is one of the reasons I refer to this as a book that introduces one to the different techniques with plenty of examples, rather then go into great depth. There is however a good index to all the chemical mentioned in the book with further notations and chemical safety information. 

There are also listed thirty-nine other publications for further reading on alternative processes and printing, one would find very useful as a base source.

Sample pages from “Experimental Photography”

Final Thoughts

The book does provide a service for the inquisitive individual desiring an introduction to alternative processes, while lacking further detailed information on a specific method, which no doubt would have greatly increase its current 240 pages and so I cannot fault the publisher.

There are plenty examples of building ones own alternative image capturing device or altering an instant or film camera most interesting, considering that there are many used film cameras inexpensively available for purchase.

There is also a nice addition of various photographers being interviewed about their work and these alternative processes mentioned in the book, that can only inspire and generate ones creative juices.

The book does an excellent job at all of this and thereby opening the readers eyes to all these various processes and possibilities they are able to explore and so develop their artistic craft further. 

If one desires a greater depth of information on these various traditional old time processes, this book is not for you and while I had hoped the authors would have focused more on experimental photographic techniques using not only film but also a DSLR or mobile device, the book is still a good resource.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

“Experimental Photography”

240 pages with over 600 illustrations, 

Authored by: Marco Antonini, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gomez, Gabriele Lungarella, and Luca Bendandi

Edited by: Luca Bendandi

Published by: Thames & Hudson, 2015

ISBN 978-0-500-54437-2 Hardbound edition, $45.00 US Dollar

All photographs taken with an iPhone by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

First Friday of the Month - Brussels HipstaPak

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

I have been having a Love - Hate relationship with Hipstamatic’s ‘First Friday of the Month’ HipstaPak releases, but April’s offering is certainly better then last month’s Versailles HipstaPak, with the Savannah lens and Luis XIV film, which I elected not to review.

My belief has been that Hipstamatic has lost sight of their direction and so it certainly has been difficult to say anything good, and while I am not going to rave about the Brussels HipstaPak, I will admit the combo has a certain charm that makes me want to shoot with it more and more and here is why.

While the results greatly depend upon the quality and direction of the light, the Brussels HipstaPak produces either bold contrasty colors or color shifts with certain colors. Yet when one looks at the images of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge or the daylight industrial image, the results remind me of a 50s hand colored postcard and I like that.

Driving on the Golden Gate Bridge

While images taken in my garden, especially of my cat Sasha, there is an unwelcome color shift in Sasha’s face and one I see in other images when yellow is one the colors base that does shift and flatten out.



Parts of my garden

There is more contrast with this combination of lens and film, as well as some colors appear desaturated and others more saturated. Shadow detail in saturated areas is lost, but all this does not bother as does one of the random grey colored anomalies that appears not only fake but alters its shape insignificantly as it appears at various places of the frame and at the edge of an image.

Chevron Refinery, Richmond

Woman Sitting at a Starbuck’s Shop Inside Barnes & Noble Store

On the other hand the light beige smudge marks also found on the border could be a little more random, thereby less repetitive, it does remind me of the Buenos Aires HipstaPak, with the Diego lens and Uchetel 20 film that emulated older 50s Polaroid prints, see my review:

We also have the appearance of a faded light-leak on some images, this is followed by an anomaly on the opposite side that is not a light-leak, but rather has the look of dirt from a Polaroid roller extending upon the entire image but not the frame. This effect either appears in a vertical or horizontal position. These two special effects are subtle and rather nice when they do appear.

Mannequins Inside an Adult Sex Shop

Most mobile photographers and myself included would have preferred the Brussels HipstaPak were a borderless film, so I would like to suggest that in the future Hipstamatic includes the option for the user to select what kind of frame they would like, by having the ability to choose one as they do a different film, lens, or flash. This would be a fantastic update/upgrade, as well as offering future design frame packages, which would earn Hipstamatic additional funds. Are you listening Hipstamatic.

Another aspect of the Brussels HipstaPak is having areas go flat of any detail as we see in the roadway of the bridge by turning the area into a solid single solid color. We also see it in the woman sitting at a Starbuck’s shop inside Barnes & Noble store, as we look at her left jeans leg. It is also evident with the tree trunks photograph, as it works itself into the trees textures. This random effect is another one I like seeing from time to time in my photograph.

A Garden Rose

There are some colors that the Brussels HipstaPak is unable to render without virtually posterizing that particular color as we see with the rose. I also experienced this effect when photographing a deep red rose. In general, I noticed difficulty in handling the red/magenta spectrum.

Exploring Merchandize at a World Market Store

I have not tried the Brussels HipstaPak with other films or lenses, but shall at some point, using not only the Classic Hipstamatic camera but also Oggl. 

Though I would have wished for a no border with its effects or the random grey anomaly, believing that the other special effects, the desaturation or over saturation of some colors and that some images appear as having been hand colored post card with some registration issue would have been enough. I even believe that in the near future, we will see this combo being applied to a commercial fashion photo shoot.

Bottom line, despite the few objections I have listed, this combination should be seriously considered to be part of ones lens and film collection.

Finding Abstracts at a World Market Store Floor

All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

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