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Macro Photography with a Holga

One of the challenges of using a medium format rangefinder camera is you do not frame your shot through the lens as you are used to with most cameras. With almost every camera, what you see in the viewfinder is what you'll get digitally or expose on film. A rangefinder is different because you are looking through a viewfinder that is not giving you a view through the lens. The viewfinder is separate and it gives you a close approximation of framing and focusing for your subject, but it's not exactly what will be exposed on the film. This is how most cameras functioned pre-1970s. Some rangefinders like the Fujica 645 don't even have a focus function in the viewfinder, so you have to..

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David Bellard
Photographing the Band: Here Inside

Back in the 1990s when I lived in Los Angeles I had a second "career" as a music photographer/journalist for several labels, magazines and small zines across the country. I started by photographing bands when they played at clubs, but back in those days it wasn't as simple as taking your camera into clubs and snapping some pics. We're talking film cameras, with multiple lenses that I had to carry around in my big nerd camera bag, and I couldn't just walk into the Whiskey or Roxy with that stuff...

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David Bellard
Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

So this may sound like hyperbole, but I swear it's genuine. This weekend I visited one of the most beautiful places I've ever experienced in the United States, and it sits right in the heart of good old Pennsylvania: Ricketts Glen State Park, located in Northeast PA (a little west of Wilkes-Barre for those of you up on your PA geography).  Ricketts Glen SP is best known for it's 22 waterfalls that cascade down two different glens...

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Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland - Weekend 4 of the Park Challenge

So I missed a few weekends in the State/National Park challenge, but last weekend I made it out to Catoctin Mountain Park, a National Park in Northern Maryland close to the Pennsylvania border. That part of Maryland is home to four big protected forest areas all within 50 miles of each other: Catoctin, Cunningham Falls State Park, Gambrills State Park and South Mountain State Park. Catoctin is most famous as the location of...

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David Bellard
Gambrill State Park, Maryland - Weekend 3 of the Forest Challenge

What is the forest challenge? Well, this summer it's been absolutely too hot for me to go out in the sun. My body can't stand the heat. I sweat like a maniac and I burn within 10 minutes of being in the sun, but I had to get out and get into nature. So I set a goal around mid-August of this year to visit one state or national park each weekend to hike and do a portrait of each park, similar to the work I did in the "Forest Mystics" series . My goal is to do this until the end of October. So far I've been to...

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David Bellard
Socialist Realism in Albania: A visit to the National Gallery of Art

I took the digital photos in the gallery below in 2014 when I was on a three-week trip through six countries in the Balkan area of Eastern Europe. One of those countries was the oft overlooked Albania, where I spent two days in the capital city of Tirana. I won't go into general detail about post-soviet bloc Albania, or Tirana, suffice it to say the country has a growing economy in Europe and the tales of lawless society are pure myth...

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David Bellard