I Took My Holga Down to the Homer Boat Harbor

Fall time in the Homer Small Boat Harbor with my dog Turtle. Homer, Alaska.

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

I turned my spare bathroom into a photographic darkroom. My wife is super thrilled about it…

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.

Relaunching a Website for the Homer Charter Association

That’s my old deckhand, Jonathan, on the left, and a couple of tourists holding mondo rockfish during summer 2022.

In another life I was once known to do some web design and at the time what they called “digital production.” Some of that work even won some awards. I have no idea if people still use that term “digital production,” and honestly I don’t care. I’d rather be out fishing.

First Friday: Photographs at Grace Ridge Brewing in Homer, Alaska

Pot fishing for grey cod in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Photo by Clay Duda.
Pot fishing for grey cod in Kachemak Bay, Alaska.

I’m excited to announce that I will have a selection of photographic prints on display for the month of February at Grace Ridge Brewing, 870 Smoky Bay Way in Homer, Alaska. The exhibition kicks off with a “First Friday” opener on Feb. 3, 5-7 p.m.

Appalachian-inspired brooms crafted by Willow Q. Jones will also be on display.

A Plastic Camera and Expired Film on the Homer Spit

Driving down a mostly deserted Homer Spit Road in Alaska. Photo by Clay Duda with a Werlisa Color Club on expired Fuji Superia 400 film.
Driving down a mostly deserted Homer Spit Road.

When you’re holding a plastic camera it feels more like playing with a toy than a serious instrument of photography. Probably because it is a toy camera. But shooting with one can lighten the mood and open up new inspirations. The pressure is off. I don’t feel like every frame *has* to count, and sometimes that can lead to taking chances you might not otherwise take.

Another plus (sometimes) is that the results from these toy cameras can be rather unpredictable. Plastic camera bodies are prone to light leaks, and a lot of them have irregular lenses and a fixed aperture. Throw in a roll of expired or color-shifting film, and all bets are off.