Shot with a Diana-F camera, spring and summer 2005

Last spring, I stumbled across a Diana-F camera in a thrift shop in Levittown, Pennsylvania. I recognized the name immediately as one of those cheap toy cameras so popular the past few years, similar to the Lomo or Holga. The Diana was made in the 1960s in Hong Kong and given away free with the purchase of gasoline and that sort of thing. The charm of these cameras is that they're not terribly light-proof and that the lenses are crap, which leads to some interesting color aberrations and odd focusing effects. The store wanted a dollar for the camera, so I snapped it up. I knew that even if I didn't like it, I could always sell it on eBay; indeed, when I got home that day, I saw a couple of Diana cameras with bids above $100.

The camera takes 120 format film, bigger than 35mm but not easy to find here in the wilds of New Jersey, but easily available from online retailers like Adorama and B&H. I ordered three rolls of negative print film, one Kodak 160 speed color, one Kodak 400 speed black and white, and one HP5 Plus. (Sorry, I don't remember the exact Kodak films now....) I shot one roll of black and white during an early spring snowstorm here in New Jersey, the other roll of black and white on a trip to Our Nation's Capitol, and the color roll on a brief vacation to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Wildwood, New Jersey.

And then I got lazy and let the rolls sit on my desk for almost a year.

Last week I finally roused myself to take them to the local photo finishers. The results were interesting. I think they developed the black and white rolls in color chemistry, not really surprising I suppose, so my crappy pictures probably turned out even worse than they would have otherwise. Then again, given that part of the charm of the Diana is the color aberration, I'm not sure what I expected from the black and white shots. The color shots were by and large more interesting.

Laura on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach

Laura and I had a good time by ourselves for a few days in Rehoboth Beach. Her top wasn't this saturated in real life.

A lonely bench on the boardwalk

I like the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. This should would probably have looked better head on rather than at an angle. Missed opportunity. Oh well.

Sunrise in Wildwood

After a few days in Rehoboth Beach on our own, we took the ferry back to New Jersey to join Laura's family for a few days in Wildwood. This was the sunrise one morning from the balcony outside our room.

The swimming pool at our hotel, unchanged since the 1960s

This swimming pool scene almost looks like I could have shot it with the camera when it was new. This shows off the chromatic problems of the Diana nicely; check out that red sky in the upper left hand corner (made darker by the vignetting the camera is prone to.)

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