Bill Hansen considers himself smarter than the average bear, although fortunately he has never had to put that hypothesis to a test. He was born at a very young age and, much to his chagrin, has been getting progressively older ever since. He has a lovely B.A. in Cultural Anthropology adorning his bathroom wall and it is, by far, the single most expensive piece of paper he owns. An award-winning photographer currently based out of Syracuse, NY, Bill's work has been exhibited multiple times at the New York State Fair and has been featured in several shows across Central New York.

He enjoys taking long walks on the beach; spontaneously going on adventures with his beautiful wife, even if it means driving twelve-hours just to try duck-fat-fried poutine; and sometimes, just sometimes, he finds subtle satisfaction in a good cup of coffee.

If given a choice, Bill would rather be in Hawaii.

Category Archives: Lo-fi

TOYCAM now available!!!

TOYCAM is ON SALE NOW!!!

I’m happy to report that a project that I’ve been proud to be a part of has finally come to fruition: TOYCAM is finally available on Blurb.

Andrew has more to say about the book’s release here.

I haven’t had the chance to physically flip through the book yet myself, but having been a part of the process, I know the product is top notch.

You can purchase the hardcover here.

Or the soft cover here.

Thank you to all the photographers who submitted their photographs and to those who agreed to be interviewed: you made our jobs tougher & all the more enjoyable by giving us some outstanding source material to work with.

Congratulations for a job well-done to the other book-team members Andrew, Ben, Blake, Gregory, Jason, Jose & Leah. It’s been a pleasure being part of the team.

UPDATE: www.toycamerabook.com has a flash-based preview of the book available for your perusal.

May flies & June bugs….

Fog of Mystery

Fog of Mystery, O'ahu. Vintage Diana F, Ektar 100.

Hello Internet,

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I know, I know, I’m a bad friend leaving you hanging like that. Not a word or a peep or even just a heads up.

Suddenly, it’s June. I know May existed by the subtle carnage it left behind, but as to where it went, only future archaeologists may know….

So yeah. How are things?

Good, good (unless, of course, they aren’t; then you have my sympathies or other appropriate response).

Things have been hectic here. But you know how it is and how it goes and what-not.

Ok.

Well it’s been nice chatting with you.

Hey! Let’s try to keep in touch.

Diana F – Surfer Lanikai

Surfer Lanikai

Surfer Lanikai, O'ahu. Vintage Diana F, Ektar 100.

Lanikai Beach, on O’ahu’s windward coast, is a place that existed in my imagination well before I ever knew it actually existed.

It has a beauty that makes any words used to describe it feel brutish & hackneyed in comparison:

– Water that openly defies Crayola with an ever shifting palette of blues and greens not found even in the big box of crayons.

– Sand so soft you could use it as cake flour.

– The sun in the sky so inviting, that you lay back and close your eyes to let the warmth embrace you; yet still feel compelled to open them every couple of seconds to reassure yourself it’s not a dream.

– Two picturesque off-shore islands that so perfectly compliment everything you see around you, you’ll find faith in a higher power, because shit like this doesn’t just happen… this… this is Intelligent Design.

– It inspires hyperbole so thick… uhmmm… you could eat it with a spoon…?

Yeah, sorry about that… got a little carried away there, I suppose.

Ok, ok, one more:

– The ocean, so serene, gently lapping against the subtle sloping shore, that despite being in Hawaii, you nearly wonder aloud “what the hell is that surfer doing here?”

BHF – A couple more from Hawaii

Palm Fronds, O'ahu, fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

Palm Fronds, O'ahu, fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

As I twittered (tweeted, twooted, twinkled, twunctated or twhat-have-you) yesterday, I’ve finally finished scanning all the 120 rolls from my December trip to O’ahu; now I face the Herculean task of processing the rough scans into pretty pictures. At first glance, there are several frames that have caught my eye that I can’t wait to return to later.

The fact I at least finished scanning two consecutive projects (HolgaHike & O’ahu 2009) is progress, in more than the immediate literal sense. I should try to explain.

I’ve been loosely following The Art of Waiting project. The concept, as best I understand it, is that several photographers go out & contemplate ‘waiting’ in their work; then, they themselves (and the audience), have to wait until next year to see the fruit of their labors. I said “loosely” following, mostly because their concept hit a little too close to home: part of what they’re doing as art, I’ve been doing for years out of sheer procrastination.

I have a backlog of twenty-some-odd rolls of 120, some dating back to 2007 and most before I started labeling my rolls with location/camera/date information. So I have a shoe-box’s worth of my mysterious past awaiting to be discovered. Perhaps, instead of feeling traces of guilt about neglecting the past, I should mentally justify my procrastination as ‘art.’

If my negligence was on purpose, then what I’m really doing is just ‘aging’ those rolls, like one would with a fine wine or cheese, to be appreciated at some later date with pinkies out.

Or not.

So the fact that I’m close to completing a project or two, means I can start another with a clearer conscience, which is progress.

Waikiki Morning, O'ahu. fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

Waikiki Morning, O'ahu. fBHF on expired Ektachrome (1990).

Anywho, here is some more recent Hawaiian ‘wine,’ fresh from the box (camera).

The wife & I were strolling along Waikiki beach (as one is wont to do in Waikiki) in the morning on the way back to the hotel from a sunrise breakfast at Duke’s (great view, good coffee, terrible eggs Benedict). The beach itself was still mostly abandoned due to the early hour, so it felt like we had the entire shore to ourselves, which, in & of itself, is a somewhat rare thing in Waikiki.

It was serene.

An amusing aside about Duke’s: our relatively youthful waiter noticed my BHF sitting on the table as he took our drink order; first he asked what it was and then inquired how many mega-pixels it had….

See more:
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009

Holga Hike – Another Beaver Lake Shot

Flooded Meadow, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY.

Flooded Meadow, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY. Holga on Ilford HP5+, developed in Diafine.

Another image from the Holga Hike / Beaver Lake shoot.

The recent snow melt had created a temporary pond around two winter-barren bushes. There were all kinds of little birds frolicking amongst the branches, chirping, hopping and occasionally splashing away.

Even though I stealthily approached the scene in my best Elmer Fudd-esque stalk, my fine feathered friends all took flight before I could even raise the camera. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have been humming the Pink Panther theme out-loud.

Anyway, now looking at the image I ended up capturing, I don’t think it would’ve actually made much of a difference if they had stayed, as they prolly would’ve been indiscernible in the details.

Oh well.

Sorry for the dearth of updates lately. Physical therapy on my stupid knee has been taking its toll on my motivation, if not free-time.

Holga Hike – Beaver Lake Nature Center

Wood Swamp, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY. Holga on Ilford HP5+, developed in Diafine.

Alas & alack, it just wasn’t meant to be…

I didn’t submit my Holga Hike image in time due to a mix of FedEx fumbling the delivery date of my fresh developer, family visiting for Easter and a misinterpretation of a vague deadline.

C’est la vie.

The good news is Randy from HolgaMods assures me that he’ll be running another Holga Hike in the Fall. So hopefully I’ll have better luck with that one.

At the very least, I was able take my wife on a lovely nature walk around Beaver Lake, while enjoying the beautiful first day of Spring; that was more than enough of a reward in & of itself.

Oh, and I also ended up taking a couple of photographs as well (all images taken with a Holga on Ilford HP5+, developed in Diafine):

Bush

Bush

Fallen Leaves, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY.

Fallen Leaves

Sapling, Beaver Lake, Baldswinsville, NY.

Sapling

Trees above, Beaver Lake, Baldwinsville, NY.

Trees above

Diamond Head

Diamond Head Sunrise

Diamond Head Sunrise, Waikiki, HI. Canon 40D, PS.

Diamond Head, the iconic Hawaiian volcano, is probably one of the most photographed mountains in the world and, as a good tourist on O’ahu, I tried my best to do my part.

From sea to summit, Diamond Head rises 762 feet; fortunately, the hiking trail inside the crater already spots you two-hundred feet of elevation for a modest 560 foot climb over a 3/4 mile to the top. I say ‘fortunately,’ because after the roughly 160 steps to the top and an odd little ladder scramble to the summit, my knees felt like they were made of molten iron, and not in a good ‘molten iron’ kind of way.

But the views from on top were worth it.

Waikiki from Diamond Head

Waikiki from Diamond Head, Canon 40D.

Waikiki as seen from Diamond Head

Waikiki as seen from Diamond Head, O'ahu. fBHF on Ektar 100.

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Diamond Head Lighthouse, O'ahu, HI. Canon 40D.

Windswept Bush on Diamond Head

Windswept Bush on Diamond Head, O'ahu. fBHF on Ektar 100.


Read more

BHF – Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

"Aging Gracefully - Waikiki, HI." fBHF on Kodak Ektar 100.

Ah… this has to be one of my favorite shots from our last Hawaiian adventure.

My wife and I waxed poetic about this older couple walking Waikiki beach hand-in-hand in front of us. We playfully envisioned them as though we were staring thirty-or-so years into our future: still in Hawaii, still madly in love, flaunting what we still had left, as we stroll along the sandy shore, the azure Pacific lapping at our feet and the sunshine warming our wrinkling skin as it gently flaps in the breeze.

I teased my wife that I’d be lucky if she still wore bikinis that far into the future; she said she’d be lucky if I ever wore a Speedo. I replied that it would probably take the full thirty years just for me to squeeze my fat-ass into a Speedo and humanity would probably be for the better if I never tried.

She heartily disagreed, so I gave her thirty years to change my mind.

See more:
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009

Sometimes the magic gives you toads

Wading into the Light

'Wading into the Light.' Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Vintage Diana F, Kodak Ektar 100, PS.

Somewhere along the way, my vintage Diana F developed a dastardly light leak in the upper left-hand side of the frame (lower-right image).

As opposed to a beneficial or relatively benign light leak, I’d say this one ruined several rolls of film from Hawaii, except ‘ruined’ is such an ugly word.

How about I just say it ‘challenged’ the composition of several of my shots?

When dealing with crappy cameras, you learn to expect the unexpected. Sometimes the magic gives you unicorns riding motorcycles; other times it gives you toads.

Mind you, they’re still magical toads, so with some effort you still might be able to finagle it into a Princess; but then again, sometimes all you end up with are warts.

The above image is my attempt at saving a princess from an eternity of toad-dom. It’s definitely not the image I had conceived when I shot it, but I think it works. The mirrored symmetry of the new composition balances out the unevenness of the original.

So the good news is that it only took me the better part of fifteen minutes today to diagnose the leak in the Diana F (around where the viewfinder & the flash contacts meet) & plug it with ‘fun-tack’ (you know, that ubiquitous sticky putty adhering beer posters to walls in dorm rooms all across our nation’s colleges & universities).

The bad news is I still have a whole bunch of amphibians waiting for their turn to be kissed.

My Favorite Photographer

Central Park Cherry Blossom

Central Park Cherry Blossom, flipped lens BHF, Ilford hp5+, developed in Diafine

So apparently I’m not above a little bit of open pandering for free film.

UPDATE 03.16.10: I didn’t win the free film. Oh well.

Who is my favorite photographer? I’m not necessarily sure I’ve ever truly pondered that question before.

Of course, my mind goes to such luminaries as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Andreas Feininger & Walker Evans, but have they visibly influenced my work, other than inspiring me to pick up a camera?

Then, what of my low-fidelity brethren, if I may aspire to call them as much? The toycamera.com community has consistently challenged me to become a better photographer through their wit, comradery, advice and jaw-dropping talent. Yet, dare I single out one particular photographer from the whole?

I guess, push come to shove, I’d have to say my favorite photographer is me. Not out of hubris or any sense of vanity, but rather out of necessity. I need to believe in myself as a photographer, not just as a man with a camera. My wife has already sacrificed so much to allow me to pursue my passions, I owe it to her, if not myself, to follow through with my dreams. It’s been a gradual process; a bit slower than either one of us originally imagined. The current economy hasn’t helped. But I’m getting there.

What would I do with the film?

I’d use it.

To capture images, to build a stronger portfolio, to find my own distinctive visual voice. One-hundred rolls of film roughly equals 1200 shots in a Holga or BHF; 1600 in a Diana; or 900 shots in a Kodak Jiffy. That’s a lot of man-hours of work, in shooting, processing, scanning and editing, so I don’t enter this contest lightly. It’s a hard-sworn promise to rededicate & immerse myself into my craft.

Why am I my favorite photographer?

Because I’m always eager to see what I’m going to do next.