One of my very first fishing trips when I arrived in Alaska more than 6 years ago was with my friend Jordan, who invited me to join a bunch of guys competing in the annual Captain’s Invitational Halibut Tournament in Homer, Alaska. We did not win the tournament that year, but I started to find my sea legs and understand a little bit about what drew such an eclectic group of guys together with a love for the ocean.
Goofing Off and Winning the 2023 Captain’s Invitational Halibut Tournament in Homer, Alaska
A First Roll of Film Thru the $30 Reto Ultra Wide “Selfie” Camera
As my chronicling of cheap toy cameras continues, not too terribly long ago I picked up a Reto Ultra Wide & Slim (yes, that’s the camera’s full name) 35mm film camera off of Amazon for about $30. I guess these things have been around for a few years now but, honestly, I just found out they existed, and for 30 bucks I figured why not and clicked the “buy now” button.
If there was ever a 35mm film camera made for the selfie age, this might be it.
I Took My Holga Down to the Homer Boat Harbor
The Holga crappy plastic film camera has a sort of cult following. It’s been a staple in art kid backpacks for generations now, and for pretty good reason. It’s cheap construction, simple lens, and penchant for producing unique images with vignetting, light leaks, and soft focus lends itself to the artsy fartsy side of photography. You never really know what you’re going to get, and that’s the fun of it.
The camera’s plastic construction even feels like you’re holding a toy, and in turn I find myself taking my photography a lot less serious, taking more chances, and often being surprised by the images that come out the other side. Does every shot come out perfect? No. Not even close. Some of them aren’t even usable (Although that’s not really the camera’s fault. It’s simple make means that if you hear the shutter “click” then it took the photo. The rest is up to you.), but the vast majority of the frames seem to have a lot of beauty in their imperfections.
How I Built a Darkroom in Rural Alaska for $37
Ever since I moved to Homer, Alaska in 2017 I’ve dreamed of having something like a community darkroom to print my mediocre film photographs and waste away long winter hours. Homer is a pretty artsy town, and I think there might be enough interest to keep something like that going on a small scale.
Well, this winter I took the first steps to hopefully making that dream a reality — I built a darkroom in our spare bathroom at home. It took me about 2 weeks to track down everything I needed, and thanks to a couple of generous donations I spent a total of about $37 putting everything together.
Attempting to Develop 20-Year-Old Disposable Cameras (And Kind of Actually Succeeding)
So my mom texted me a couple of weeks ago and said she found some old rolls of film in a drawer and was mailing them to me. “Maybe you can develop it and see what you get.” Sure, I thought, why not? I had a small clutch of color film I was getting ready to home develop, so I’d just add these to the back of the batch and see.
A few days later here comes the mail with 5 old disposable cameras packed in. I’d never developed disposables before and wasn’t sure what was inside (turns out they’re just normal film canisters. Who knew?). Of the lot, four of the cameras were spooled with 800 ISO film, and one was 400-speed. All were Kodak except one was a CVS-branded canister, so still probably Kodak.