Lomography stalwart and terminal traveller Stephen Dowling took the trusty LC-A 120 to his hometown of New Zealand and explained a bit about why he loves this medium format camera so much.
When you find a camera you love, you want to take it everywhere, capturing home and holidays alike. Since Lomography UK loaned me one of their new LC-A 120 cameras at the end of 2014, I’ve begged and borrowed it for a handful of trip, capturing the Mediterranean island of Malta, the megacity maelstrom of Istanbul and Spain’s Seville. Every time, I’ve been massively impressed with the LC-A 120’s strengths – light, portable, easy to use, and capable of simply stunning results, especially loaded with slide to cross-process. Last December, I headed back to my native New Zealand – after eight years without a visit – and packed the LC-A 120 and a couple of dozen rolls of medium format film with which to shoot home. I wasn’t disappointed.
Lomos love light – both the artificial kind to create trippy trails in pics of night-time streets and bars, and that from strong sunlight. It’s certainly the kind of conditions you’d expect during a Kiwi summer, thousands of miles away from the pollution of the Northern Hemisphere. The LC-A 120 travelled hand-in-hand with one of my LC-A's (which I’ve blogged about before), and it was good to see the differences shooting the landscape format of the 35mm Lomo and the square format of its bigger brother. And with London already firmly in the grip of overcast dullness, the bright blazing blue of New Zealand summer skies was just what the doctor ordered.
My freezer is stocked with a variety of films, many of them expired rolls of long-dead emulsions bought on eBay. On holidays I always try and take a mix-and-match of films; certain films shine with certain optics, and different lighting conditions can have an effect too. The LC-A 120 works brilliantly with Kodak’s now-defunct slide films cross-processed, especially the likes of E100VS and Ektachrome 100. Lomography’s 100-speed negative film is bright and punchy; and its X-Pro 200 slide film gives some warm, contrasty images in bright light.
The LC-A 120’s not a tiny camera – it has to fit a roll of 120 film, after all – but it’s incredibly light thanks to a mostly plastic shell. This means there’s no excuse not to take it with you; and the old adage that the best camera is the one you have with you being a pretty unbeatable slice of photographic advice. I took the LC-A 120 to a Saturday afternoon party in Piha, a beach-side community on the rough and rugged west coast of Auckland; it was perfect for shooting candid moments, and the grass-level view of the guests various dogs, weaving between the tables for any sign of a dropped burger.
I headed south from Auckland on the train; New Zealand’s railways have been gradually reduced over the years. The Auckland to Wellington train is now a tourist-oriented service that leaves every other day; the 10-hour trip traversing the North Island is rightly regarded as one of the best scenic railway journeys in the world. One of the cars on this journey is specifically designed for photography or taking video – it’s open, allowing the Kiwi landscape to be captured without window frames and reflections getting in the way. After spring rains, the pasture land trundling past the train is almost impossibly green, gleaming and saturated. The train sweeps past blink-and-you’ll-miss it towns and herds of contemplative cattle. In one stop there’s a man-sized Kiwi mascot waving on the platform (a platform that, if it’s lucky, gets one train a day). I spent most of the rest of the time in and around Wellington. I left my hometown before the photography bug really bit, so I when I return, I try and spend as much time capturing what I remember.
This is an extract taken from Stephen's Zorki blog. For the full article, please visit www.zorkiphoto.co.uk