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LOMOs love to create light trails.

Thanks to the shutter staying open as long as it needs – for as long as two minutes if the light is really, really low – the LC-A family of compacts is perfect for making lysergic streaks of psychedelic light.

Back in my clubbing days I’d take my LOMO LC-A on Saturdays hitting bars and nightclubs, capturing trippy images of blurred figures and streaks of coloured light. They always seemed to perfectly capture the feel of long nights out dancing; colourful fragments of clarity amid the indistinct shapes.

I took a trip to Barcelona and Morocco in 2014  when some of my family were over from New Zealand; it was Spring, so I made sure I packed plenty of expired slide film for cross-processing. I bought my LOMO LC-Wide with me. Those blue North African skies and sun-baked vistas called out for a widescreen treatment.

Chefchaouen was the second place we visited, after a baptism of fire in the port city of Tangier. Chefchaouen is known as The Blue City, thanks to the shades of blue that cover the old town’s houses. There are various theories for why the walls are painted in such bright blues – some believe it’s a way of keeping mosquitoes at bay, and others believe it comes from a Jewish tradition (many Jews settled here after fleeing persecution in Spain centuries ago).

In the middle of the main plaza Uta El-Hammam is a giant tree, festooned with lights for the evenings. When they’re switched on it looks like a giant Christmas tree. The lights trail from the tree in several directions.

All those lights made me try a light-trail experiments, panning the camera from one side to another as the shutter stayed open.

This approach can be a bit hit and miss but this time it worked a treat.

This is a good example of why you should leave cross-process scanning to minilabs. I had to do almost nothing to this image straight from the scan – glorious trippy colours and the jet black of the night sky. Sometimes you really should leave it to the experts.


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Stephen Dowling
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