duaflex monday: helpful hints

Happy Monday, everyone -- and for those of you in the United States, Happy Labor Day! As promised, today's my first entry for Duaflex Monday. I'm still trying to get the hang of how to use this awkward contraption, but with a little luck, perhaps I'll get better.

Several of you have asked how this works, and really it's sort of easier to show you in person; however, here's an attempt to explain how I've been using my Duaflex. Again, I'm certainly not an expert, so take what you read here, and go make it your own.

First, you'll need to purchase a twin-lens reflex camera. My friend Hula recommended the Kodak Duaflex, so that's what I got. Hula bought hers at an antique store, I think; I bought mine on eBay. Either way, you should be able to pick one up for between US$ 20-30.

These cameras have their viewfinders on the top, as opposed to on the back, like today's cameras are built. You won't actually be using the camera mechanism to take the shot, just the viewfinder -- in essence, you'll point your digital camera downward at the viewfinder of the twins lens reflex camera, and take your photograph with your digital. However, because the viewfinder will have some glare on it from the light around you, to get a really good shot, you'll have to build a tube -- one that fits snuggly around the twin-lens reflex camera, and around your digital camera's lens. Some of these tubes can be pretty elaborate, but they don't have to be: Hula built hers out of a cereal box, and tapes it to her Duaflex with painter's tape; Marcus just built a long, skinny box for me out of box a pair of boots came in, and my Duaflex just slides in and sits on the bottom of the box, with a cut-out for the Duaflex lens. I then put my Nikon lens into the top of the box, and shoot that way. Incidentally, I've found that my 60mm AF Micro Nikkor lens works best for these shots, bringing me as close to the viewfinder as possible.

Clear as mud?

Well, thankfully, there are tons of other people who can explain this better than I. Again, courtesy of Hula, check out the following:

A great article on Photojojo that explains the mechanics pretty clearly.

An article by Russ Morris, describing his process, including how he built the tube.

A Through the Viewfinder blog full of tricks, tips and beautiful images.

And for inspiration, be sure to check out the Through the Viewfinder Flickr pool.

Good luck, everyone. Once you get the hang of it, if you upload your photographs online, I'd love it if you drop me a line: I'm looking for inspiration anywhere I can get it!

Song: Love Song by Sara Bareilles