A Different Brush, Part 2

Another new old camera I’ve been trying recently is an Olympus Pen EE-3 half-frame camera made sometime in the 1970’s. This camera uses  regular 35mm film, but as the name implies, only uses half of each frame, doubling the number of images per roll. The really interesting thing about this (and other) half frame cameras is that when you hold the camera up to your eye, the default orientation of the image is portrait (height larger than width), rather than the landscape orientation we are so used to. It takes a conscious decision to turn the camera to shoot landscape.

We have all seen images in landscape that would have been so much better in portrait orientation, and I find with this camera I am forced to think about whether landscape mode is the best way to go. This is a cheap little camera and I may not use it much, but as a different brush, it gets me thinking about how to frame and compose using my other cameras.


Dead Tree In Earl Bales Park, Toronto, Olympus EE-3


A Different Brush

Yesterday I went out for the first time with my Rolleicord V, a twin lens reflex camera I bought last week. It shoots 6 x 6 cm images on 120 film.

Looking down to focus, on a ground glass with a laterally reversed image will take some getting used to, but that’s what I like; different types of cameras inform the photographic process in a different way.

Old Farm Equipment

The lens has interesting characteristics; quite sharp (at least in the centre), but in some of the images the out-of-focus backgrounds have a very vintage look. Quite distinctive, and another step away from the sameness I find that one can get using DSLR’s.

A Long Slow Day

My last image was of a smiling island local, in a sense performing for tourists. In a sense, this picture is related: it depicts an employee of the BVI resort where were stayed; part of the job involved just sitting during quiet times, alone with one’s thoughts. For both of these men, are their lives defined for just being there for rich tourists?

A Long Slow Day


At lunch on an island, a local hanging around the restaurant posing for photographs and getting free drinks. This image for me distills the experience.

Island Smile

The Same But Different

This image is thematically related to the previous post, but different in many ways. It was shot at home, on a film camera, rather than on digital on a tropical island. Since the original was in black and white, I didn’t need to run the image through an expensive plug-in to get the effect I wanted; I just scanned the negative, and applied some very basic brightness and contrast settings to give the lighting the stark look I was looking for.

Sun on the door


I was drawn to the pattern of lines and shapes, as emphasized by the low morning sun, and further emphasized by increasing the contrast of the final image.



It’s been a while since I posted an image that a) was in colour and b) covered a subject other than the British Virgin Islands, so time for some variety.

I was photographing a concert last weekend (a very successful fundraiser for earthquake victims in New Zealand, held at a church in central Toronto). A concert in this setting can’t help but have a sense of formalism; the audience is expected to sit in the pews, and choirs take up defined positions in front of the audience to sing; everything is balanced.

Except for the foot thrust into the picture 🙂


Wrong Foot