Midnight Temple, Harvest Moon ( Comparing Light Leaks on 4 Holga Shots )

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Here are four long forgotten photos, some that I think look pretty nifty and am glad I found them the archives. They were shot a few years back at a Buddhist temple near my house in Korea. These represent one of my first attempts at doing long, dimly lit night exposures with a Holga toy camera. At the time, I just set up the Holga on a tripod, put it on the B (bulb) setting, and held down the shutter for as long as I felt necessary. The brighter shots, with an elongated blurred moon up above the temple were roughly ten-twelve minute pictures if I recall correctly. The darker silhouetted photo was probably around 20-30 seconds. This may seem like a long time but keep in mind that the Holga has a plastic lens and it’s largest aperture is f8. This is a ‘cloudy day but still pretty bright aperture,’ meaning longer exposure times are necessary when shooting at night, particularly with ISO 50-100 film – film thats less sensitive to light, more finely grained, and commonly shot in bright situations.

I remember it being quite chilly, and I wasn’t sure if my shivering would effect the final image. I tried to hold as steady as possible. In all, the photos came out pretty crisp, albeit with the Holga’s classic soft focus aesthetic. For these long exposures, I’ve now since bought a Holga cable release adaptor. I no longer have to sit there holding down the shutter : )

Depending on your point of view, these photos were either plagued by or blessed with light leaks. I happen to love some light leaks when they accent the image rather than detracting from it. Some of the light leaks here are rather subtle, others are far from it. How do you feel? Do prefer the photos with light leaks or without? How about the strongly leaked images? The subtle ones? I’d love to hear what you think!

These four pictures were captured with a Holga 120 toy camera on a forgotten color negative film. I’m fairly sure it was some expired Fuji Reala 100 by looking at the paper backing dots and numbers that were burned onto the film during the light leak. I believe this happened because some strong light filtered through the red window on the back of the Holga, the window which allows the photographer to see what frame he or she is on. Either way, I’d be pleased to hear what you think concerning these light leaks or light leaks in general. Thank you, and enjoy! ©Patrick Bresnahan

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