The Colored Conventions: A Buried History by Ernel Martinez

Delaware River Walk with My Diana F+

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I hadn’t use my Lomography Diana F+ since January 2021. Given that it’s an inexpensive plastic camera with a plastic lens, the photos are always hit or miss. Sometimes the misses can be interesting. Sometimes, they can be bad. Lomography describes the resulting photographs as having an “iconic dreamy, radiant and lo-fi analogue look.” The misses are part of the charm.

The last roll I shot in it (Holga 120) turned out too dark so I didn’t share those photos here other than 1 photo I liked that I included among my favorite photos of 2021. The Diana doesn’t have an ISO setting so I chose poorly with a 120 film.

I decided to dust off the Diana since it had been a while. I had a roll of Lomography Color 800 which I wanted to try figuring that would circumvent the too dark problem.

I also wanted to dust it off again since I’m already starting to think about what camera(s) I might want to bring on our May California vacation, part of which will be in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I’ve taken a lot of photos there and thought that one way to keep the photography experience fresh is to bring a camera I hadn’t brought before. I never shot medium format there and my other medium format cameras (my Flexaret and my Yashica Mat) are too cumbersome to pack.

Mid-March, Holly and I took a nice walk to the Delaware River.

I’m certainly glad I shot with it before making a decision about vacation since I had forgotten how unreliable the Diana can be. I had an issue with this roll that I had once before during our 2018 trip to Washington DC. The film didn’t wind tightly on the take-up reel so part of the film was exposed to light when I removed it.

These photos fell on the interesting to bad spectrum, mainly bad.

Most of the other photos have just a bit of light exposure but mainly have that iconic dreamy, radiant and lo-fi analogue look. Well, at least the lo-fi analogue part.

Despite not having great results with the Diana, I don’t think I’m going to totally give up on it. I don’t mind the “lo-fi” look. I know what the Diana is all about and set my expectations for what it does. I find its minimalism fun. It has zone focusing and no shutter speed or aperture settings. All it has are sunny, partly cloudy, and cloudy settings.

It’s light and easy to carry around. There aren’t many medium format cameras that are light and easy to carry around so I want the Diana to be an option.

I’m glad I tested the Lomography 800 since that seems like an excellent choice for the Diana.

Next time, I’ll have to be extra careful when loading it to help it wind more tightly.

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