Thankful for Holga

Photography, Thoughts and Opinions

I learned yesterday that Holga is closing their doors. I thought that today I would post my first shots made with my Holga and talk about what it means to me.

It was a beautiful, sunny, December day on 2011. I decided to visit Blue Moon Camera And Machine to buy a Holga. I’d done a lot of research and decided that this was the first film camera I wanted to play with. I’d waffled on this decision for months. For some reason I was afraid to take the plunge. The siren song of film was calling me and I couldn’t deny it, but it took me a long time to follow. The day I bought my Holga was also my first visit to Blue Moon. It would be the first of many visits!

The person who sold me the Holga was the proprietor of Blue Moon himself, Jake Shivery. He helped me choose film and showed me how to load it and gave me advice on how to use it. I loaded it up with some Fuji Pro 400h and went out into the beautiful Portland December day and shot this photo


I went on to shoot a roll of Black and White film over Christmas. And many more rolls after that.

In fact, little did I know that my purchase of this camera would be the start of something big. The purchase of this camera opened me up to a whole wonderful world. If it wasn’t for this black hunk of plastic I wouldn’t be friends with all of these amazing, kind, and wonderful people all over the world. When I took the step to answer the siren call of film photography it changed my life. I am so glad I listened.

It is Thanksgiving today in America. I have a lot of things to be grateful for. But my little Holga is making me feel such gratitude for the film photography community, and the pinhole photography community. My life is so very much enriched because of all of you. Thank you.


See the first shots from my Holga in this post.
See the second roll of film through my Holga in this post (I get a little bit philosophical).
See the the rest of my Holga shots here.

I want to thank you.


As you can see, I’ve had a very emotional week. I rode this really awful wave of sadness, despair, and depression on Tuesday without really understanding what it was all about. This is a hard time of year for me for reasons you all know by now if you read this blog. In my head I know that and I was expecting it. But, wow. I was really emotional on Tuesday. It felt out of control and scary. When I posted that Neko Case song a few Twitter friends cheered me and made me laugh by posting happier songs. It really, really helped to move me back in a more positive direction in my head. Then last night as I was talking about my experience another friend reminded me that what I was going through didn’t sound like depression but sadness. She reminded me that we are all human and, because of this, feel a range of emotions: Sadness being one of them. And since it is “that time of year” it is appropriate to feel sad. I felt like the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders when she said this. It’s OK, and sometimes even appropriate, to feel sad. What a concept. Why do I beat myself up for feeling this emotion?

On Tuesday grief rose up in me and made itself known and I had to feel it – I had no choice. It bubbles up and you have to go through it. And I did. I cried cathartically several times Tuesday and I am glad I did. I felt better yesterday and I feel better today.

I just realized why Tuesday was so weirdly emotional. Yesterday was the  day that Doug died 4 years ago, but the day before I was up with him at his bedside basically watching him die for hours and hours. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. But I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I loved him and he needed me in those moments and I was there for him. There is just no question that I would be there for him. The pain doesn’t even matter.

I wonder, though, if pain can echo through time? I kind of feel like that is what happened on Tuesday.

Today I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for you. Thank you for helping me through this darkness with your good thoughts and your jokes and your kind words. Thank you Thank you.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful


Raf balancing on a fallen tree. Made with a Yashica Mat and Tri-x.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I was thinking about the intention behind this particular holiday and how wonderful that intention is. Ideally we are grateful everyday for the things that we have. But I love that there is a holiday in which we take one day out of the year to be mindful of those things that we are grateful for.

The weekly photo challenge for this week is “Thankful.”

I am thankful for many things, but this year I am especially thankful for my husband. He has been my best friend and partner for 20 years. I am so lucky that I get so spend my life with him. He makes me laugh and he is there for me during my darkest hours, without hesitation. He is the most loving, caring person I know.

I have thought about this the past few days:

Before I met him I didn’t think very highly of myself. I had major self esteem issues. I floundered in school because I didn’t think I was very smart. I don’t know why I felt this way about myself but I did. Then I met Raf.  He treated me like an intellectual equal. We would have fascinating conversations about interesting topics. After awhile I started to actually believe in myself. I went back to school and did very well especially in science and  math (which was a minor miracle). In fact, I did better than “well.” Most of the time I got the best grade in class (messing up the curve and pissing everyone in class off). I was able to go on to, not only get my Bachelor’s degree, but also my Master’s degree. If someone told 18 year old me that I would, someday, have a Master’s degree I would have called them a liar.

He believed in me. And he still does. And for this I am very, very thankful.

Annual Thanksgiving Day Waterfall Video


I realized, just now, that I did this last year, too. I am now going to make this a “thing.”

We went for a lovely walk to Wahclella Falls on the Columbia Gorge. Since photos can’t really do it justice (and I suck at waterfall photos) here is a video. It was very loud.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tell us about a moment when your life was changed in a split second

Life, Photography

The Daily Post asks us to do this:

 For this week’s writing challenge: tell us about a moment when your life was changed in a split second. The good, the bad, the funny, and the thought-provoking, our lives are composed of a series of meaningful events that help to shape who we are. Every now and then, we get a wake-up call where a snap decision or revelation changes our perspective completely.

Again, this is very timely for me since it is “that” time of year. The sad time of year. Thanksgiving will always be that way for me, I’m afraid. It does get a little better with each year though. Last night I was able to talk about Pea Salad without bursting into tears.

I thought about a particular moment this past weekend. I thought about the moment my mom called to tell me that Doug was dying. It felt like the bottom dropped out and I was so afraid of what I was about to face. But that moment isn’t the one that changed my life forever.  The moment that changed me was the moment that he took his last breath.  I will never forget that moment because it completely changed me forever.

It was a very profound moment. It was the moment I realized that death is part of life, and that life is tenuous.