Friday, January 22, 2016

Holga Tips : Creating Close Up Photos with Your Holga 120

Have you ever wanted to create close up photos with your Holga?  Have you tried using the single person icon on the lens dial, and found that you still can't get as close as you'd like?  Well, I've got a few great tips for you on how to master this technique (as much as you can "master" anything with a Holga)!  For additional Holga related tips see the articles at the end of this post.

For starters you will need either a Holga brand close up filter, or a Macro filter attachment (these are both fairly inexpensive items).  If you go with the generic macro filter you will also need a 46-49mm step up ring in order to attach it to your Holga.

Holga with close up lens attachment

Holga Close up lens attachment

Holga with step up ring and macro lens above

Macro lens attachment (glass)

I have used both and generally I prefer the glass macro filter that I have over the Holga brand.  It depends what look you are going for.  The Holga close up lens is, like its camera counterpart, inconsistent from piece to piece and gives you a more unfocused look since it is also made from plastic.

Holga close up lens
Holga close up lens, double exposure

Macro lens plus long exposure

When I get close, I like to see at least some details and know that I will get a consistently sharper image (as long as I get the distance correct!).  I know that some have had great success with the Holga close up lenses as well, so I think it maybe comes down to the fact that they are all slightly different.  

Macro lens

Whichever one you choose, you can get nice and close to your subject and get some pretty cool shots.  I like to pick an area that has a bit of 'give' or depth to it in the subject so that if your distance is off, you know that at least something will be in focus!  I like to get right down to the subjects level and shoot from that perspective.  The Holga viewfinder, as most of you know is also slightly inaccurate so make sure you take this into account when you are shooting.  Yes, it is helpful but also take note of where your lens is actually positioned in relation to your subject.  You might just need to move it a tiny bit to get your composition the way you want it on film.

Macro lens

Macro lens

Macro lens

I've also been known to use the close up lenses on myself with some pretty cool results paired with a long exposure...

Macro lens and long exposure

The other lens that I've used in the past, and one of my absolute favorites, is the Lomography Tunnel Vision Lens attachment.  I purchased this probably 10+ years ago and it does not look like they make the one I have anymore.  They do have this version on their website but it appears to be out of stock.  It allows you to get close up as well, with a motion blur effect around the edges.

Tunnel vision lens
I hope you found this article helpful!  Feel free to comment below if you have any questions, or if you have any further tips from your own experience!

Other Holga Tip Articles:

Getting Holga Lens Flare

8 Tips for Holga Newbies

Using a Cable Release with your Holga

Think First, Then Shoot

(Please note this article contains a few Amazon Associate links and I make a very small percentage of anything you choose to purchase using these links.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Your Top Holga Photos of 2015! (part two)

Part two... because you are all so awesome!!  (See Part One here)

MJ Idzerda
London, Ontario, Canada

Holga 120N 
Ruby was the official Store Dog at a local pet store in London Ontario's Wortley Village. The Holga was my first foray into toy cameras... leading me to become a local supporter of all things film and plastic camera!

Heather Harkins
Los Angeles, California,
"Lunch With Nancy Jean"
Holga 120N "Sunset Boulevard", Ilford HP5 Plus
I love this shot partly because it documents a really fun visit with my friend Nancy Jean, and also because the magic of a double exposure let us share the frame just like we shared a laugh over lunch.

Inge van Leipsig
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Holga 120WPC and Rollei RPX 25
This year, due to some personal and family stuff, I didn't have much time for photography. I did join a project called The Next Best Thing Pinhole Project (, for which I had to shoot two pinholes every three months. This was one of the images for the project and I was very happy with how it turned out. It captures my hometown Rotterdam perfectly: old versus new architecture. It has the first European skyscraper on it, but also the new and experimental architecture Rotterdam is known for these days. It also shows one of the many harbours Rotterdam has.

Lorraine Healy
Freeland, WA
"Roy's , Amboy, California"
Holgapan 120 with 35mm insert, way, way expired Kodak film
I took this on early February, during a Route 66 workshop with Dave Wyman. The reason why it's my favorite this year is I wasn't expecting much of putting old film through the Holgapan with the 35 mm, and this was the one good shot I got. I love how the shot matches the subject matter, Route 66.

Cynthia Lee
Nambour, Queensland Australia
"Back Streets of Nambour"
Holga 120N, Lomography Color Negative 120 film 800
There are local spots I like to walk around with my camera - because there is always something interesting. This image is at the back of PSYC gym and street artist are free to paint the walls. This day there wasn't a lot of great work, looked like young kids that found spray cans in mum and dads shed and a random school chair also been tagged.

Greg Calvert
Liberty Island, New York City
"Lower Manhattan from Liberty Island"
Holga 120N on Portra 400, processed & scanned by North Coast Photo
Lower Manhattan glistens on a brisk winter morning as I played tourist with visiting parents and in-laws, preparing to move to the west coast.  Although it's only a year old and far from remarkable, it feels nostalgic.

Csaba Kovacs
Budapest, Hungary
Moon above the Hungarian Parliament (Lunargraphy)
Holga WPC 120 (pinhole), Kodak Tmax 100
I am pinhole photographer and I like the long exposures. My favorite Holga photo is a lunargraph. This photo made about 4.5 hours in this year's spring from the famous Hungarian Parliament. I try to show the place's an other face in the night with the move Moon. I love my Holga pinhole camera and enjoy the photography with it!

Pablo Jones
Chicago, IL
Fly a Kite
Holga 120S with Kodak Ektar 100, developed by
Taken at a spring Kite Festival in Chicago. I love the way the composition turned out; I have the 6x4.5 mask which makes framing with the square viewfinder notoriously difficult.

Michael Sturgess
London, UK
Photo location: Dolo, Italy
"The Fisherman"
Holga 135BC + Fuji C200

Whilst on holiday in Venice Italy I went to Padova for a day. On the way back to Venice my friend and stopped off at Dolo for some ice cream. We wandered down to the old mill and saw a man fishing. I took one photo with the Holga and I was about to get my compact digital camera out of my pocket to take a photo but the fisherman had walked back up the mill. We then went and had some lovely ice cream before the drive back to Venice.  It's my favorite I've taken this year because it was of the moment.

Armin Oehmke
Location: my bathroom
Holga CNF on Rollei RPX400, 
Developed in HC110. Lithprint on Agfa Brovira -Speed BS310RC
Craig Coss

Arrowhead Junction, California

"Desert Rail"

Deluxe Stealth Waist Level Holga loaded with Fuji Pro 400H
I purchased my first Holga in the spring of 2015 and by December I owned four. This image is the third picture from my very first roll and is the reason I am now hooked.

Naomi Goggin
Holga 120N, Kodak Trix 400
Amy, the bride, had just said this was her favourite time of day, in the late afternoon light. This is one of so many favourites from my first year with this camera. An unpredictable and magical beast.

Ale Di Gangi
Florence (Italy)
"There still is life on this planet"
Holga 120GN + Lomography Turquoise
After a couple of years of mobile and instant only, I finally resumed Holga and Lc-a shooting this last summer, in occasion of a vacation in Sicily. When I had the rolls developed, I realized all the harm that digital shooting has done to me, mainly due to absent-mindedness brought by "automated shooting". This photograph of three people on a beach is my favourite of this year because it comprehends all the flaws that I so dearly missed - and that I have learned to never want to miss again. These are what I call "natural" flaws (as opposed to "artificial" ones you can build on a mobile device): the warmth of the film, the distortion of the lens, the precariousness of film.
Let's Holga on.

Lisa Shea
Blithewold Mansion, Bristol RI
Holga 120N with black and white film
I enjoy shooting Holga in a variety of styles – color, black and white, 35mm, redscale, and more. It’s always hard to choose just one favorite, but I love the shadows and serenity of this image.

David Wolanski
Dover, DE (photo taken in Mississippi)
"Delta Rainbow"
Holga 120 N, Modified by Randy Smith, Holgamods, Portra film
This is one of my favorites because I was driving past this site in the Mississippi Delta and saw the colors and light and quickly backed up to park and do some photos. The light lasted barely a few minutes and was gone as quickly as it came. I drove back by the location a day later and it was just a drab mess.

Todd Schlemmer
Seattle, WA
"Captain Twilight"
Holga 120N, Velvia 50, el cheepo flash
I had promised that I would take a photo of the engine captain at station 5. We had been busy all day, but some time after dinner we had time to go outside and snap this before we were dispatched to a house fire. Velvia 50 is a daylight film, but I had my Holga loaded with it.  I had the flash in my bag and stuck it on the Holga as an experiment. ​This is one of my favorite portraits.

Howard T. Calb
Somewhere between Amersfoort and Apeldoorn (highway A1 in Holland)
"Following the truck for 280 meters in 10 seconds"
Holga 120PC, Audi A4, Fuji NPC160 (expired 2004)
I shot this image on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD-2015) on April 26th, 2015.
I like to use (expired) Fuji NPC 160 film for my colour pinhole photography. I use several home build pinhole cameras, but also often just carry my two Holga Pinhole cameras for 6x6 and 6x12 format. These are fine cameras and easy to use.
On my way home, I placed the pinhole camera on the dashboard of my car, tripped the shutter while driving 100 kmh and kept it open for about ten seconds.

Martina Kettner
Linz, Austria
"Death Valley"
Holga 120 GFN, Ilford 100 Delta Pro
I took this picture in February 2015 at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley - which is one of my favorite places on earth. I was surprised that the picture turned out well because of the slow film speed and the fact that I took the picture in the late afternoon. The light was quite dim already.

Katie Mollon
Michigan, USA
"Shores of Lake Superior"
Holga 120FN - Portra 400
Every summer we meet up with our Minnesota & Wisconsin cousins somewhere between us: this year was Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  It was my first time playing in Lake Superior.  I loved the way the colors of the tourists & rusting dock were playing off of the swirling waters, so I double-exposed that with a shot of driftwood, which is always one of my favorite subjects.  I love the way my Holga always leaks in just the right amount of light along the edges!

Gary LeBouton
Wautoma WI
"At The Fair"
Holga 120S, Ilford HP5 developed in Pyro
It was created this past summer at the Waushara County Fair. Every year I try to create at least 12 images with Holga 120 S.

Daniel Rock
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"Imagine Peace"
Holga WPC 120, Lomo XR 50/200
I was inspired by the table top placed outside the building that had Imagine Peace painted in bold lettering. It's my favourite not just because of the striking composition, as indeed it was my first image captured on my first Holga purchased some few months ago. It's sad to see that I caught the wave so late, awesome I get to ride it.

(And finally, mine.  Which I have shared already but figured it would be a good way to close off the post.  I shot a lot more film in 2015 but for various reasons did not have time to get it developed.  I should have some more work to share in a few weeks!)

Thanks for stopping by and thank you to everyone who submitted.  I was truly blown away by the number of submissions, and the quality of the work.

Long live the Holga!

Your Top Holga Photos of 2015! (Part One)

What a year it's been!

With the Holga factory closing its doors just a few short weeks ago, I felt that now more than ever we should show how strong the Holga community is by celebrating the photos we create using this simple plastic wonder.  It's no secret that I have been a huge Holga fan for over 10 years now, and I am honored that all of you stop by my blog and share your work with me!

Holga Week had a record turn out this year and so many great images were received!  I plan to continue this tradition as an annual event for as long as I can, and for as long as our Holgas continue to take photos for us!

And now without any further rambling....

Your TOP Holga Photos of 2015 (Part One)

Sam Lee
Los Angeles, California
Title of Image: Salton Sea, 2015
Holga 120GN
Ilford HP5 400 ISO

I was driving home from Salton Sea and noticed a train coming towards our direction. As passenger, I quickly reached for my Holga (it is always in close proximity), rolled down the car window, and photographed the passing train, as it passed us going the opposite direction. It happened so quickly and in a matter of about 15 seconds. I really didn't know what I captured and was really surprised that the train was in focus. The image is my favorite because through luck and chance, I just let go of the control and allowed the Holga camera to just capture the subject.

Jonas Lundström
Attack of the alien yellyfish from space!
Holga 120CFN + Holga close up lens 120mm
This is really my favorite not just because I happened to nail the exposure and focus for once with the close up lens but because that I never could have imagined that the pciture would come out like this. it was really a nice surprise with the XPRO'd roll and that's what the Holga is all about, right?

Kendra Laflin
Austin, TX
Vines and Stone
Holga 120N, Ilford HP5
I took this photo in south Austin when I wasn't even really out to take photos. It was in a neighborhood, the stone is part of a wall for fence between houses. I really like the texture and the pattern the leaves in comparison to the cracks in the stone. Plus I'm having a love affair with Ilford HP5 right now.

Debashish "Dev" Samaddar 
Phoenix, Arizona USA
"Double Star"
Holga 120 Wide Pinhole Camera, Kodak Portra 400
This wide pinhole camera shoots 6x12. I wanted to shoot a few panoramas at and after sundown to capture streaks of light from traffic with the last light in the sky. Since it is a panorama camera, I had to wind the film to every odd number. two 6x6 frames at a time. But I forgot to do that. Instead I went forward one 6x6 frame, resulting in overlapped, multiple exposure photos. The lab that developed and scanned also couldn't scan 6x12, so they scanned only 6x9. Overall, multiple glitches. But as a result I got some astounding photos. I have several favorites from the roll, but I chose this one as it shows two suns/stars in our sky (and the frames blend pretty nicely too, some of the others aren't so smooth).

Patrick J. Clarke
Temecula, CA
"Watching Over You"
Holga 120N
Telex Rangefinder, 46-49 Stepup ring, Red Filter
Ilford XP2 Super, Jobo C-41 Dev Kit
I had finally gotten my kit just right.  A new 120N that had been calibrated to a Telex Rangefinder, a red filter and using XP2.  I had been playing with different combos for years, but I was finally narrowing in on the vision of what I wanted to create with the Holga.
So this trip to the beach was nothing about camera and setup, it was all about finding the right image.  When I walked up to this scene, I knew how it was going to look even before I snapped the shutter.  It was the first time the Holga got out of my way and was just a tool to create an image...enough experimenting, I was creating with a unique tool.

Mr. Holga
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas
Ryan 34
Holga 120GCF, Kodak TMAX 100
The statue of Nolan Rayan at Globe Life Park in Arlington has its back to the sun during most of the baseball season. Visitors to the park take their photos from the front, which gives an awful backlighting effect. I took mine from the rear and my nearsighted plastic buddy did the rest. This photo has everything I love about Holga photographs: sweet-spot focus, vignetting and a slight double-exposure in the lower right corner.

Sheila McKinney
London, UK
'Lake Louise Selfies' - 3 second exposure
Holga 120 Wide Pinhole Camera, Kodak Ektar 100
This image was made in the summer of 2015 at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is a stunningly beautiful place, much photographed by the many, many visitors. Most of these people spend but a few moments here so that they can capture their image, or a selfie, to be posted to FaceBook, which is the ultimate way of proving you were there!
This photo is my favourite because I continue to be amazed at what can be captured by a simple plastic box, film and a pinhole.

Dennis Stein
Medfield, Ma.
"Crooked Tree”   
Holga 120s, Lomography film ISO 400
I walk the dogs every day in the fields near my house. This tree is at the beginning of the walk, among shrubs and other trees. Just very simple in how it all comes together.

Craig Pindell
Cheyenne Wyoming
Bicycle on the Pier, Georgetown South Carolina
Holga Panorama 120, Ilford HP5+ Film

I made this image one evening after work while strolling on the pier, waiting for co workers to meet for dinner.   I wanted to photograph the benches, Light was right and by chance as I was composing the image, someone rode up and parked the bicycle in this spot - without a care about the composition of my photograph.  In the end the bicycle helped the image.  All's well that ends well.

Melissa Federowicz
Los Angeles, CA
Holga 135 & Kodak Ultramax 400 & Holga Close up filter 
While walking to the grocery store one day this past spring, I noticed this butterfly flitting around. The butterfly was undisturbed by the Holga and so I giddily shot around it while it continued eating from the Lantana flowers. I love this photo because it conveys perfectly why I enjoy the Holga: unobtrusive and easy to carry and use, so it's there for spontaneous moments, allowing me to capture some of the small, beautiful details of life.

Judy Boyle
Hanover, PA
HolgaGlo 120n, Shanghai GP3 100 Pan film
This is my first ever Holga photograph, an accidental double exposure that I shot last week in Mount Vernon, Baltimore. I was using a green HolgaGlo 120n that I just purchased and received upon hearing of the closure of the Holga factory. Getting a Holga has been on my list of cameras to get for a while and I decided now was the time. This is my favorite photograph, because it reminds me that even though I may carefully compose a photo, it might not turn out like I expect it to. Film used was Shanghai GP3 100 Pan film, processed in my kitchen with Caffenol, and scanned on Epson V500 Photo.

Rogelio Camargo
Sevilla, Andalucía (España).
"Doble cura". "Double recovers"
Holga 120 N, Kodak Tri-X 400.

History: This image is caught in my former neighborhood of the infancy, and for my already he supposes an importance for the place in if. The motive, they are two brothers who are priests and twins, slightly curiously, and almost always they go together, because of it of the singular thing. In one of my walks for the neighborhood to re-live through the moments of the childhood, I met these two persons, for my so singularly, and slightly usually.

Ross Togashi
Honolulu, Hawai‘i
“Remembering Japan Faraway”
Self-made PinHolgaRoid pinhole camera
Polaroid 600 instant integral film (expired)
Shortly after the closure of the Holga factory, I went out with my PinHolgaRoid loaded with a pack of Polaroid 600 instant film.  I thought it appropriate to use this no-longer-made film with my Holga.  This image is my favorite of that day, as it reminds me of fleeting and fading memories of my visits to Japan, now long ago and faraway; and the transience of all things

James Arnold
Lower Town, Fishguard
"Lower Town, Fishguard"
Holga GCFN, Kodak Portra 400

Chuck Baker, aka: The Brownie Camera Guy
Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Take a Seat 3
Holga 120 CFN (€1 flea market find), Rollei IR400 Infrared
There is a massive meat processing factory, called the Honig, along the river in Nijmegen that is earmarked for total destruction within 10-15 years.  The buildings have been cleared out and cleaned. In the meantime restaurants, small businesses, galleries...etc...have been given the space and the area has become a wonderful place to go to. Some of the original fixtures have not been removed, including this pit. I go back often to shoot it, when the light is right.

Andrew Janjigian/Melissa Rivard
Kyotocat in Mossachusetts, September, 2015
Holga 120N, X-ray machine fogged Kodak Tri-X, tinted in Lightroom
This is one of my favorite holga shots this year because though we shot on many different formats and stocks that day, the Holga shots captured the dreamlike nature of the location best.


J. M. Golding
Yosemite National Park and greater San Francisco Bay area (double exposure)
"From darkness we find each other"
Holga 120N (with Holga CL-250 close-up filter for one of the two exposures) and Kodak Tri-X
This photograph is from the series, "Where you are," which explores the integration of closeness and distance using double exposure. I made the first exposure at a city park near San Francisco, using a Holga CL-250 close-up filter. I made the second exposure, focused at infinity, at Yosemite National Park. In the double exposure, near and far are joined. I chose this photo both because I'm happy with its visual qualities and because it feels to me expressive of the theme of the series.

Melanie Hilliard
Jackson, Michigan
The Old Rail Yard in Spring
Holga 120S ($5 Thrift shop find), Lomo Lady Grey 120 film (400 ISO)
My grandfather worked his entire adult life on these railroad tracks which now lay mostly in a state of disrepair; this is my favorite photo of the year because it simply captures that small town rust belt mood.

Daniel J. Schneider
Civic Center Park, Denver, Colorado
Holga 120 CFN, Kodak Ektar 100 film.
Though it's against the rules, technically, kids play in the Seal Fountain at the Voorhies Memorial in Denver’s Civic Center Park on a hot afternoon, July 24, 2015. Though I've decided I am not in love with the Holga, this image captures the documentary style I like, the super-saturated Ektar colors, and really makes the best of the Holga's quirks. I particularly like how the lens's softness toward the edges adds motion the cyclist, and the vignetting allows the near edge of the pool to expand behind the viewer as far as their imagination can take it. The crossed streams of the fountains frame the done of the Colorado State Capitol and another family stepping out of the water.

George Bernstein.
Cleveland, OH
"Fall Day at Case Western."
Holgamod Deluxe Holga 120N, Kodak Portra 160.

I ran out on this clear, sunny fall afternoon and wanted to record some of the beautiful light and colors before the shadows took over.  I had three cameras with me--the Holgamod Holga 120N, an FPP Debonair 120 with T-MAX 100 as a test roll, and a Leica M6 with 35mm Zeiss lens with Kodak Ultramax 400 (roll not finished yet).  I took some of the same pictures with the Leica, but I doubt the sharp Leica images will be more beautiful than this one.

Paul Taylor
"The Clock in Harlaw Road"
Holga 120GCFN, Expired Kodak Portra 400 NC
It was one of the last really sunny days of the summer, and I saw this clock and just snapped it with my Holga. When I got the picture back, I really loved the blue sky, the vignette, the soft granite and the sharp, sharp detail of the clock. The Holga done good!

Helene Barrette
Quebec, Canada
"Passing By"
Holga (normal) + Fish Eye lens attachment w/ Tri-x film
It reminds me of the trip where I took the photo.

See Part Two Here


Bookmark and Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Twitter Updates