Up until a few weeks, back, I had never used a Diana, a Diana+, or any of the clones. So I figured it was time to give one a try and see if I could get any results. Here’s the new addition to the family:
If there’s one thing that this camera has going for it, its really cute. I mean, how can you not love the feel of this in your hands? But as for the photos, I was a little disappointed.
Now, I’m not the kind of person that expects immediate results from a new (old) camera. In fact, I expect there to be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to discovering all the quirks (and leaks) of some new plastic equipment. But even with that, I have issues with this little guy. Its not that the camera is bad, its just that it takes a different sort of image from those I’m used to shooting with the Holga.
I put 2 rolls of film through. First an Ilford B&W roll, second a Fuji 160C color. The B&W roll had few issues, although there were definitely some light leaks. The color roll, on the other hand, spooled very loosely on the take-up spool. Not only did this increase the light leaks, but it may have lead to poor focus. Its hard to say, but pretty much all of my photos have ZERO “sweet spot.” Black & White shots are a bit more forgiving when it comes to this– the color shots look largely muddy bordering on blurry. Here’s an example:
For me, this shot would have been more successful with better resolution, sharper focus, or at least an area akin to the Holga “sweet spot.” Since I’m always photographing interesting buildings and signs, this Diana clone might not be the best match for my usual applications.
I did find that the black & white shots were a little more impressive, especially when I chose more abstract subject matter. I took a trip to the Franconia Sculpture Park (which, by the way, is a photographers DREAM for trying out a new camera), and managed to get some interesting things on film. Like this:
So I think I’ve come to the conclusion that while my initial feelings about the Diana were mixed, it really does open up a door to a new genre of photography for me. I’m hoping that by keeping this one around, I’ll find a way to explore some more unusual and abstract subjects.
After all the time spent at the Como Zoo in St. Paul, I could find a single photogenic animal to photograph. Either they were all indoors to escape the heat or they stood far, far away. I found this 1936 zoo building pretty neat, though. Its actually the old zoo building, with tiny iron cages lining the outside of the building– this is how the animals used to be kept. Luckily, today the animals have more room to move about. The original zoo building is now home to the zoo offices. I think its funny that the lions now have an outdoor habitat and the zoo staff works out of the old lion cage.
I’ve been looking through my Flickr photos, and I culled together a few cityscapes from my travels. Enjoy!
Kyoto, Japan 2007
Kansas City, 2009
Tucked away on a residential street in St. Anthony, Minnesota is the stunning Church of St. Charles Borromeo. I really love these small, suburban churches. Usually small and understated, neighborhood churches often seem to have superior design, in my opinion, simply because they’re so close to where people live. Its almost as if people design more thoughtfully when their building is going up in their own backyard.
St. Charles Borromeo is a great example of grand architecture integrated into a modest suburban neighborhood. When you drive down, the church appears almost out of nowhere. I did a double take when I saw this on the corner:
Built in 1939, one can imagine the Romanesque revival structure rising out of a new, young neighborhood. Today, the trees are old and lush, and the neighborhood is quiet and picturesque. The sandy color of the bricks is surrounded on almost sides by lush greenery.
As a neighborhood church, I think it works remarkably well. Not standing tremendously tall, it fits right in amongst the small homes that line the street. Yet, what it lacks in stature it makes up for with design and ornament. This is a building that was made to bring beauty to the city and 71 years later, it still works. Easily one of the most beautiful churches I’ve encountered here in Minnesota.
In an alley somewhere in le Village, Montréal.