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: Vintage Cameras

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.

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

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.


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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

How to flip a Brownie Hawkeye Flash lens

Brownie Hawkeye Flash

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

I’ve noticed a lot of search traffic hitting my site specifically looking for information on how to flip the lens of a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash (BHF). While there are probably multitudes of other resources on the interwebs, I figure I’ll just throw my two-cents out there.

For those who don’t know, the BHF is a black bakelite beauty with a top-down viewfinder, single element meniscus lens, shutter speed somewhere around 1/30 to 1/60 & a bulb setting, while it lacks a tripod mount, it has a nifty handle. In it’s heyday, the BHF was a very popular camera. Your grandparents most likely had one. Nowadays, you can find them cheaply at thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and eBay, or for a higher premium decorating shelves in antique stores & hipster boutiques.

I got mine for free on Craigslist thanks to a kind-hearted Samaritan who was donating several cameras to anyone who could justify receiving one. I simply wrote “I’ll use it.” It arrived in the mail a couple days later and I’ve been enthralled with it ever since.

Anywho, an unmodified BHF takes a relatively normal photograph, but something magical happens when you flip the lens. It’s like the soft focus of a vintage Diana multiplied to the Nth degree. The lens’ focal point shifts from infinity to about 3 feet in the center, while the edges just melt away into blurry goodness. The effect can be quite surreal.

Flipping the lens of a BHF is actually a simple procedure with a very low-risk of permanently #@$%-ing anything up and is easily reversible. That said, I assume no responsibility with these directions if you somehow manage to accidentally bork your favorite family heirloom.

Ready? Let’s get flipping.

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BHF – Bridge to the Adirondacks

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Yet another flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash, Rollei Retro 400 developed in Diafine. Tinted in PS.

BHF – More from the Adirondacks

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NY 86, near Lake Placid, NY.

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Ausable River.

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High Falls Gorge.

All taken with a flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash, Rollei Retro 400 developed in Diafine.

BHF – Ausable River

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The western branch of the Ausable River, near Lake Placid, NY.

Flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash, Rollei Retro 400 developed in Diafine.

Expired Film – Dragonfly

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Taken with a Kodak Brownie Fiesta on expired (Nov 1962) Montgomery Ward Panchromatic 127 film, developed in Diafine.

BHF – Strawberry Picking

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Bucket of strawberries @ Hafner’s Farm, Baldwinsville, NY.

Kodak Brownie Haweye Flash with a flipped lens; Ilford HP5 Plus developed in Diafine.