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My friend Mark introduced me to a curious toy like camera called the Digital Harinezumi the other day, right after our dinner at Hopdoddy’s. It’s a tiny plastic camera that looks like it can be a Happy Meal prize in the not too distant future. What I didn’t realize is that there is an entire movement around doing low fidelity (Lo Fi) photography on Flickr.
After some research, it appears that there are at least 6 versions of the Digital Harinezumi made over the years. Version one is coveted since it has the largest sensor with the most film-like results. Newer version 2s, 3 and 4 models add additional filter effects. The original version 2, that Mark loaned me, is the most basic.
With my new-found love for old or odd cameras, I gave this a try. The results are certainly modest, to be charitable. Probably a 10-year-old Blackberry will give better results but I kept an open mind. The point of this camera is its low quality, and having low expectations is the best way to enjoy it. I have to admit, I struggled to see the point of it.
There’s a movement toward authentic analog experiences. I too have shot old film cameras and even the trendy Fuji Instax. Film cameras have character and a wonderful mellow color that is hard to replicate in digital. The Harinezumi 2 is just plain ugly. There’s none of the richness of film or the clean precision of digital. What it produces is noisy and wonky pseudo cross processed colors or noisy black and whites.
There is a hidden hack that turns the Digital Harinezumi 2 into a black and white camera. Here’s how you do it. While the camera is on, hit the menu button. You should now be on the “Resolution” menu option. From here, click the Menu button 4 times and the OK button 2 times. That’s it. You’re now in black and white mode.
Unfortunately, it reverts to color every time the camera turns off. I found it a pain to switch to black and white so I resorted to shooting in the default color and changing it to black and white in post — that’s the only way I could find most of the photos palatable. The black and whites almost pass for old-time grainy film photos, if I squint hard enough.
Once in a while though, I produced some color images that seemed okay, in a Lo Fi kind of way.
Ironically, the camera got a warm reception at a Drink and Click Photography meetup — the participants reacted positively and with curiosity. The camera is impossibly tiny with barely any controls. It resembles and is slightly larger than a 110 film cartridge. It shoots at a selectable ISO 100 or 800 and has about a 50mm equivalent f2.8 lens. At 3MP, it’s enough for Instagram or basic blog postings. I was surprised by the positive reception. Maybe the photographers were bored of digital perfection and were hungry for simulated imperfection.
I would be a lot kinder to the camera and would even consider buying one if it weren’t for the prices. Models run between $80 and $150 with a list price over $200. Perhaps as a novelty for less than $50? For those prices, I can get old but high quality used digital or film cameras. For Lo Fi fun, I recommend the Pentax Q series. It costs more but would be significantly more versatile.
A big thanks to Mark for letting me use the camera. Yeah I was less than enthusiastic, but there’s always something new to learn, especially when a device has significant limitations. For most, I would recommend using your smartphone and apply filters to simulate the look you like. That is unless you want to whip out that cute and novel device that’ll be totally unique. You never know, it could be the hit of the party.
I’m sorta on a street photography kick, as this is the third posting in the row about this genre. While people may have different definitions, I think most would agree that street photography doesn’t have to involve the street. It can be on a beach or your backyard or inside a restaurant.
Several weeks ago, after a photography meeting at Precision Camera, we headed to over to the ever crowded Hopdoddy’s for dinner. It’s one of my favorite places for burgers. Unfortunately, there’s always a line. As you probably guessed, I’m constantly shooting and documenting my surroundings. The following series show my progression through the ordering line.
Blue hour in the suburbs is not the most exciting but it’s the starting place for the wait, outside the door. I shot this at 8:55pm. Time appeared to go quickly though, with my photography friends nearby talking shop. I conveniently had my Olympus E-M5 Mark II with a 17mm f1.8 for a nice compact setup.
While I’m obviously not downtown, all my favorite urban elements are here. The warm glow of lights, the deep blue sky and the people. I’m especially a sucker for the warm glow around bars which resemble the festive string lights that I love so much.
I was one of several “mirrorless nerds”. I had my Olympus, Rudy had his Sony a6000 and Steven his Nikon 1 J3. I’ve noticed that the popularity of DSLRs have decreased somewhat, even at these enthusiast photographer events.
As I made steady progress through the line, I surgically focused at the front of the line. Though not extreme, I still get a nice sense of depth even with a less than full size, micro 4/3 sensor. Shooting at f1.8 helps while the 35mm equivalent is versatile for street photography.
As I neared the head of the line, I framed and a customer posed. A friendly interaction with an unknown stranger. I showed her the photograph and she like it. The timestamp indicates 9:25pm. Waiting 30 minutes or so is par for the course. Actually, it’s probably shorter than normal. It’s worth it though. Hopdoddy does a great job.
If you don’t want to wait, try sitting at the bar. Or perhaps enjoy a drink while waiting on line. Me, I just liked the color of the citrus.
We sat outside and until closing. The temperature wasn’t oppressively hot. All quiet inside as I shot this scene through the exterior window. I live for the glow. It’s one of the reasons I love shooting so much at night.
You don’t have to go to exotic locales or to gritty, urban downtowns to do street photography. I snapped this in my backyard the other day.
I’m photographing my backyard project. Most are boring shots — the same angles to show the changes from week to week. But on that day, I had fun shooting the construction workers in action.
Back 13 years ago, I made the switch to digital to document the construction of my current house. I figured that if I shot about 1,300 photos with my modest 2.1 megapixel Canon S300, I would break even relative to the development cost of film. Over a decade later, with well over 200,000 shots (not with the same camera), I would have never guessed that I would be so enamored with photography.
This is my favorite photograph from my house construction back in 2002. I guess I shot “street photography” before I knew what is was. Back then, I took images more by luck than with pre-planning. I’m a bit better at pre-visualizing images now — or at least I hope so.
It was almost exactly one year ago that I was on Waikiki Beach. Amazing how time flies. No extravagant summer vacation planned for this year. I thought I would re-experience the tropics and perhaps my viewers might also enjoy the pastel warmth of Hawaii.
Because of the magic of jet lag, I had a couple of days of opportunity to wake up early, without pain. Yes, as you guessed, I’m not typically an early riser. If memory serves, I shot these on the first morning. I got down to Waikiki Beach before sunrise and even experienced a morning blue hour.
While I had my Olympus E-PM2 with tripod, I also wanted to capture the scene, street photography style, with my Fuji X100S. There aren’t many people, even on crowded Waikiki Beach, at 6am.
This is the second time I tried to shoot the sunrise on Waikiki. I was also there 5 years earlier. I’ve kind of realized that this isn’t the ideal sunrise photography spot, at least in the summer. The first dramatic rays are blocked by the high-rises to the east. Someday, I might be more adventurous and motivated to seek out a different location.
No doubt it’s still a beautiful place and the ready access from the hotel makes it an easy destination. Rawan and Nadine also thought so. The two sisters were enjoying a casual photo shoot as I passed by. They were more than happy to pose for portraits. Looks like they were enjoying the beach too.
The hotels were remarkably quiet but that would change gradually. A few early risers and cleaning staff would be replaced by the hoards that would invade the beaches. I made my way from the sand to my favorite old hotel on Waikiki. I captured The Royal Hawaiian in golden morning light. You can see that post from last year. Ah the memories.