Holga Week 2023: (Mis)adventures with Lomochrome Purple, 21 October 2023

Holga Week 2023: (Mis)adventures with Lomochrome Purple, 21 October 2023

This year, like every year, the first week of October is Holga Week, a celebration of all things Holga. In previous years I have not participated, mainly because I didn't have a Holga, but now I have two and I was really keen to take part. I didn't have a plan, though I envisioned that trichromes might have been involved, and as October approached I began to worry. What wax I going to do?

As usual I have a number of things on the go, Including a sudden passion for flipping camera lenses. I have already flipped the lens of an Agfa Clack and in an instinctive purchase I bought a cheap Brownie Hawkeye Flash that had been sitting on the Portuguese website Cano Amerelo for several months. The reason that Hawkeye was so cheap was that the Bakelite was chipped, but I knew a little bit of electrical tape would cover that up. What I had not expected was that the camera was in really horrible condition and needed a good clean.

After a really intense clean of the inside and outside of the Hawkeye, including flipping the single element lens, I was ready to test it out with some film. As it is a 620 film format camera I knew that I had to trim the plastic of the 120 reel so that it would fit into the film chamber. Trimming and loading a roll of Lomochrome Purple that I had knocking around went without a hitch, and I closed and taped up the camera. However, when I tried to wind the roll to the first frame I could not move the roller, it was stuck. As I pulled on it I could feel the backing paper start to break, so I stopped immediately. In my trusty dark bag I unloaded the film from the Hawkeye and rewound the paper back onto the roll.

Outside the dark bag I knew that I would have to load it into another camera, otherwise I would probably lose the roll. By luck I had my green Holga to hand, as I was cleaning that out in preparation for Holga Week, and I loaded the Purple I to the Holga. So now I had a film to use, but what to do with it?

I've used Lomochrome Turquoise in my other Holga and loved the results so I thought that Purple would be a good match for the Holga too. I actually think that these colour shifting films from Lomography: Purple, Turquoise and Metropolis, are balanced for the Diana F+, which is very similar to the Holga in terms of aperture and shutter speed. So one afternoon I took the green Holga out for a walk around the block. I finished the roll in Aveiro and took it to the lab for processing.

Standing in front of the counter in the photo lab I started to wind the film onto the spool  ... 12 ... 13? ... 14? ... what? ... 15 ... bugger. I looked at the back of the camera and only then realised that the little arrow was set to '16', for 6x4,5 sized images. What an idiot, I thought, this is going g to be a waste of a film. However, I pressed on with developing the films, and I'm glad I did. Yes, some were overlapping and needed to be edited to a roughly 6x4,5 sizec frame, but others came out splendidly. I decided that I might have something to submit to Holga Week after all.

The results from my outings can be divided into two sessions: In the woods and views of Aveidro. In the woods behind our house I experimented with a little bit of multiple exposure and intentional camera movement (ICM), which came out quite well. A couple of shots that I thought were really nice were washed out and I think that in bright sunlight the Holga might benefit from a polarising filter. Although it has the option for 'sunny' and cloudy, this particular model has just one aperture setting, probably of around f11.

In Aveiro I really liked the results. The weather was perfect and the reflection of the sky in the canal water really brought out the other-worldliness of the colour shifting Lomochrome Purple. The only thing I did find was that for a couple of the images I didn't quite get the zone focus correct. However, for a first experiment I was happy.  Mind you, to my mind none of them are Holga Week winning images. Ah, well. Perhaps next year. 

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