Holga Week 2021 (October 1-7) found me in Denver and Topeka, first to visit an aunt, and then as a sort of layover for Mom and me in the long drive from Denver to Eureka Springs, AR. (Note: if you’re in Dallas and want to go to Denver, Eureka Springs is not on the way.)

I hadn’t shot the Holga 135BC since putting a couple of rolls through back in December 2020, so I thought it would be a good choice. And since I only shot color film in it so far,* I figured some Lomography Berlin Kino 400 (aka Orwo N74) would be a good choice. Was it? I’ll leave you, dear reader, to decide…

You might notice some bromide drag… smh. I felt lazy and so stand developed this roll (and another, from the OM10) in Rodinal. My darling niece Ayesha and family arrived unexpectedly just as I dumped fixer into the tank. I ran to say hi to them and play with her for a second, and the next thing I knew, the film sat undisturbed in the fixer for over 10 minutes.

So was the bromide drag due to Rodinal semi-stand (inversions at the start and at 30 minutes)? Or was it the un-agitated fixer? I suspect development, as Fixer shouldn’t do anything like that, but I’ve never had such extreme and obvious issues with Rodinal stand. I’ve also never stand developed Berlin Kino/ORWO N74 before, so… Anyway. It doesn’t really matter too much, I guess, as it’s mostly invisible in many images, and God willing, I won’t be lazy the next time I shoot Berlin Kino or Orwo N74.

About our third day in Denver, Mom & I drove up to Boulder, where she stayed near the car and made a few watercolor sketches, while I hiked up to the Flatiron rocks and walked around, then back down again: about 3.5 miles round trip, 1.5 straight up, .5 more or less level, 1.5 straight down. It was exhausting for a fat slob like me, and I had one of the stranger encounters of my adult life.

About 10 minutes before I took the picture of the climbers, above, I was walking along with my camera bag, wobbly gut, and… how many… Holga 120N, Debonair, Holga 135BC, Oly OM10, Yashica-Mat 124… 6 cameras. A younger man, probably late 20s, fought his way out of the trees just behind me. I said “good morning,” and he nodded and walked quickly past me.

I walked on, huffing and puffing and looking for pictures, turned a corner and there he was, staring up a the rock above, looking for a route. “Looks like fun!” I said.

He looked at me but didn’t reply. Another man appeared out of the woods, about 1/3 of the way up the rock. “Ah. That’s how you get up there,” the man close to me said.

“Yep. Have fun with that!” I tried to be encouraging.

He looked at me, then looked slowly down to my toes, and slowly back up. “Uh. Ya… you have fun with,” he looked down at my gut and cameras and grunted, “whatever it is you’re doing, walking or whatever,” and snorted before clambering over the barricade and starting up the rock.

I waited a few moments, then started photographing.

Now, I’ve been spat at, called all kinds of things, punched in the face, etc., but not in about 20 years. I don’t know if it’s my gentle demeanor or friendly, unthreatening face, or whiteness, but most people are mostly friendly most of the time, and no one has been so openly hostile to me before. It contrasted greatly with the friendliness of everyone else I encountered in Colorado. So many smiles and waves and goodmornings everywhere I went there, and I chalked it up to legalized marijuana, mostly. Maybe the climber guy didn’t have his edible that day? Who knows, and I was thankful to be mostly exhausted, as I was too out of shape and breath to be too bothered by it.

A couple of days later, I mostly finished the roll (for HolgaWeek purposes, anyway) in the Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic site and Botanic Gardens, and near TruckHenge, both in Topeka, KS. Not much to report there, really. Old Prairie Town was probably closed, but we found an open gate around the side and just went in. Ditto the Botanic Gardens which were closed from the street, but accessible through Prairie Town.

You may notice some strange cropping and odd double exposures, and you’re eyes aren’t deceiving you. The winding went off somewhere near the middle of the roll, and images began to overlap, sometimes slightly, sometimes 1/3 of a frame or more. In most cases, it was merely annoying, but in a few, it actually made for some interest.

One of my HolgaWeek submissions

TruckHenge was similarly closed, and we didn’t find a way to sneak in, so I photographed over/through the fence, and the overlaps produced a very nice panorama. Looking now, it seems that we could’ve just called Ron Lessman and asked for a tour… His family runs a farm that abuts TruckHenge and he’ll happily show you around and spin a few yarns. *Making a note for next time…

One of my HolgaWeek submissions

The country road out front of TruckHenge was nearly as picturesque as it could be, and I photographed it with every camera I had, with more or less decent results. The 135BC did a decent job, but others were favorites (and more on that next week).


The rest of the roll went down on the highway back to Eureka Springs and during a walk-around town with Mom on October 8, and so were not eligible for HolgaWeek, not that I would’ve submitted them anyway, and for the first insult, to which the overlapping and bromide drag added injury, the film ripped instead of rolling back into the can, so Mom gets to walk off into the void…

And so that was my HolgaWeek with the 135BC. I loaded a roll of FPP DerevPan 400 into it before seeing the results from this roll. DerevPan is much thinner stock than Berlin Kino, and I wonder if this will help or hurt the overlapping. I guess only shooting through the roll of DerevPan will tell, though I’m tempted to rewind it and shoot it in a camera that at least winds properly…

* It seems I’ve never shared anything from the 135BC before… Well, now I’ve shot 3 rolls through it, with a 4th on the way: 2 in color, and, soon-ish, 2 in black & white. Maybe I’ll write a review sometime then.

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