Thursday, March 1, 2012

My quest to find 620 film spools for you...

A couple of customers have sent in 620 film to us here at that had what appeared to be brand new plastic 620 spools in them. They really made me do a double take... so, I sent e-mails to both customers and one really didn't seem to know, but the other pointed me to B&H Photo where she had bought her 620 film. I went to B&H's website, but only found 620 film - no spools. But wait! There's a chat feature! How handy!

This is a transcript of my conversation:

You have been connected to Christina S. 
Christina S: Hello Jake. My name is Christina, and I will be glad to assist you. Please give me a few moments to begin working on your inquiry. 
Jake: Hi. 
Jake: I work for and -- we're a mail-order film processing company. 
Jake: One of my customers sent in a roll of 620 film that had a brand new looking plastic 620 spool in it. 
Jake: I asked and they said they bought the film from you. 
Christina S: We do carry a couple 620 film stocks, though I'm not finding any 620 spools in our inventory: 
The agent is sending you to
Jake: Yes. I tried that. I saw the respooled film that you sell as well... 
Jake: Would there be some way to find out where those spools come from? 
Jake: If you guys were to offer them, I'm sure people would buy them. We don't really sell film ourselves, so I'm not looking for us... more for a place to send customers who ask. 
Christina S: Unfortunately, we don't sell them. To the best of my knowledge they aren't be made any more, so the used market would be your best bet for this. 
Jake: Exactly what I thought... but these plastic spools are confounding. The old spools one finds are metal. 
Jake: Not a big deal. Thank you for looking. 
Christina S: We must have found a random stock. You're Welcome. Thank You for chatting with B&H. Enjoy the rest of your day! 
Your session has ended.

My session and my search have sadly ended... If anyone else sees these around, let us know and we will share!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Last but not least... Analog Ambassador #5!

Melissa Ann Barrett-Desimone!

A bit about Melissa (in her own words):
My name is Melissa Ann Barrett-Desimone born and raised in New Jersey, currently living in Alaska mother of four and wife to a Soldier.  Lover of life and all around chaser of dreams.

Melissa got her first roll from her Holga back in January and posted some pics and thoughts on the fantastic plastic camera in her first blog post as an Analog Ambassador. is an awesome mail-order photo lab that still processes all kinds of film!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Analog Ambassador #4 (much dealyed!)

Sarah Zucker!

A bit about Sarah:
Sarah started shooting film at 15, and has spent the last year all over the United States. After finishing up her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU and working at the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation in Manhattan, she returned to her hometown of Canton, Ohio to serve as the Interim Curator of the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography. She is currently based in Los Angeles, where she writes words and takes photos, continuing to wage the battle against the blank page and the empty frame.

If you want to read a bit more about Sarah and see her first roll of cross-processed Velvia here is her first post! (From waaay back in December, sorry guys... we were a bit busy through the holidays.) is an awesome mail-order photo lab that still processes all kinds of film!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Introducing Analog Ambassador #3!

Jennifer Langman!

 Jennifer was one of the five finalists that the jury pushed over to for the public to vote on... and you chose her above the rest. She's your Analog Ambassador!

A bit about Jennifer in her own words: 
"I'm just a girl living in a digital world trying to find her analog roots once again. Creative, daring, and a little weird with an eye for all things photographable - focusing on landscapes, live music and surreal & dreamy concepts. Living & rockin' daily in the great city of Cleveland, Ohio."

 Jennifer has been a photographer for quite a while, but used mostly 35mm and Polaroid before she received her Holga. Her first official Analog Ambassador post is full of great information and some before and after examples of her slight post processing. Check it out! She talks about using curves to correct the contrast in some of her photos, this is quite similar to the adjustments I covered using Levels in a previous blog post. is an awesome mail-order photo lab that still processes all kinds of film! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick and Dirty Photoshop Levels for Toy Camera Pics

Flat, Boring, Underexposed Images?
You can fix that.

     Unless you've modified your Holga or Diana to be more precise with exposure, you're bound to have some shots that just don't make the grade when it comes to exposure. Even with properly exposed negatives, I find the scans from my Holga to be a bit flat and in need of some tweaking to get them to a place that I like. Usually I avoid any of the automatic color/contrast/levels corrections since they tend to do strange things to my Holga images. Same goes for the eyedropper feature for picking black points and white points (they'll shift your color).
     One of the nice things about using "Levels" in Photoshop is that it really hasn't changed across all of the updates and versions. We're not going to confuse anyone with layers today, so let's be easy and simple.

     First things first: Open your image. Go to "Image" -> "Adjustments" -> "Levels"

     You should now have something that looks like this (without the red circle and line)...

     What you are seeing when you open levels is called a histogram - it's basically a graph of all of the information in your file with the left hand side being all the dark stuff and the right hand side being all the light stuff. The reason I circled the peak in the histogram above is to point out what information it correlates to. The peak corresponds to the darkest of the dark area of your image, in this case it is the vignette caused by the natural fall off of the wide angle Holga lens. There is really nothing in that area of the image, so we'll do this...

     If you grab the little black arrow on the left and slide it to the right, you will see your image getting darker. What you are doing is telling Photoshop that everything to the left of the arrow is BLACK. I stopped just before the next rise in the histogram since it started to affect the look of the rest of the image. Next we'll brighten it up a bit...

     Now... take the white arrow on the right and slide it to the left, but don't go too far (you don't want this look like a digital camera pic)!

     Those two simple steps in Photoshop's levels will make almost every low contrast or underexposed shot look worlds better. Here's a before and after of this picture and one other that used the same method. If your image editing software has a "Histogram" feature, you can follow the same steps and it should yield the same results!

      Thank you to Michael Langlais for letting us use his images! is an awesome mail-order photo lab that still processes all kinds of film!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The REAL first Analog Ambassador!

Kim Oberski!
 Kim is the only Analog Ambassador that was a customer of before we started the contest. She was the first Ambassador to get her new Holga and film in hand when she won because she had an order at the lab. In fact, she was so on top of her game and ahead of the curve we let her first Ambassador post go by unnoticed! Out sincere apologies to Kim!

Without further ado...
"After shooting with digital cameras since they were first introduced, I decided to dabble in learning to use film over the past 1.5 years, instant and analog. Instantly, I fell in love and now have a variety of cameras including: instant, 35mm, medium format, and digital. It's an honor to be chosen to share my thoughts on analog film and have Old School Photo Lab develop the prints. My name is Kim Oberski and I am an Analog Ambass.ADORE!"

Read the submission that got Kim a new Holga, a bunch of film and free processing:

After having used quite a bit of instant film in the past Kim's first Analog Ambassador rolls turned into a humbling experience - read all about it in her post: in which our Ambassador is disappointed by underexposure, but hopeful for the future. is an awesome mail-order photo lab that still processes all kinds of film!  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Introducing our first Analog Ambassador!

Devon Rowland!

Devon Rowland is a Baltimore-Washington based photographer with a passion for swing dancing, travel, and ice cream.  With no formal training in photography, Devon has worked to find her style by endless trial-and-error and her strong artistic eye developed through years of her mother dragging her through museums.  She has learned a lot by shooting with her DSLR, but ever the adventurer, Devon is ready to challenge herself with a new style of photography--film!

Here is the submission that won her a Holga camera and a bunch of film and processing:

Devon was the first Ambassador out of the gate when it came to blogging about her analog adventure. Since then, she has had her first roll come and go from the lab. You can read about her experience so far in her first official Analog Ambassador post - in which our Ambassador learns the lesson of the Holga film mask. is an awesome mail-order photo lab that still processes all kinds of film!