Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Experimenting at U Club

I may have mentioned that lately I've been enamored of some of the more dynamic aspects of pinhole photography. It turns out, just about every time I take pictures at U Club, it's of this "experimental" nature of just letting subject and camera movement do it's thing and see what happens.

I'm not sure what possessed me to stick the camera on the bar (on its desktop tripod, so it's not exactly incognito). During most of the exposure I had to explain what I was doing to the bartender esteemed mixologist, a retired biologist, there on the right, who wondered if it was on automatic.

Just in case you were wondering how this differs from what I've been doing lately, it was a slightly coldish may day, so no one but myself and an architect (married to a theater director) toughed the patio out, and talked how I got into pinhole (he asked), while I did this architectural study of the patio door.

Meanwhile, on the inside, it was time for the annual business meeting.  All the officers and board members were willing to serve another year, so no elections!  This was at least a five minute exposure and the guy with white stripey shirt moved in front of the camera only during the last minute or so spilling his photons all over my composition.

Since the camera was already sitting on the bar, when this faculty member (I can't remember who this was-it could be one of two or three people.) seemed quite engaged in the conversation right in front of it, so I opened the shutter to see how long he would hold still (not very long, it's a very thin negative).

All with the Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Experimenting at the March for Science.

In addition to trying out my new steel knee before I was officially allowed to by the doctor (it was fine), I decided a March for Science was appropriate to do some experimenting while I participated in the march.

One of my favorite pinhole photographs is a hand held shot taken by my son of an open air concert on the Boston Common, that has always reminded me of Renoir's painting Le Moulin de la Galette, and I've been intrigued by some of the work I've been seeing lately on Facebook by Kurt Norlin deliberately handholding images and using oversize pinholes.

In addition, if you're using a cane to walk, the last thing you need is to keep track of a tripod as well (although for years I used a tripod as sort of a stealth cane)

So I tried some hand held shots with the Populist. It was a sunny day so the exposures were only about a second or two.

The march began in Roe Park in downtown Oshkosh.

It's right next to the Oshkosh Human Services building.

I used the cane as sort of a monopod for some of the shots.

That seems to have been pretty effective.

It's not really an experiment unless you're comparing things.  So here are the three different treatments.

My standard technique of using the desktop tripod held against a lamp post. Not a really good comparison because I was reaching as high as I could get and had to keep from losing the cane with my other hand while I did it and couldn't get my finger I used to slide open the shutter out of the way.

Holding the camera against my face like it had a viewfinder.

And supported with the cane.

The Populist's sliding shutter isn't the best thing for this kind of work.  I'm thinking of trying this again when the summer Farmer's Market starts on Main Street again in a month.  I've been meaning to make a 35mm Populist with my new template, and I think I'll put some kind of swiveling shutter that's easier to open and close while holding it against my face.

All with the Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

My pinhole day.

I have been having such fun lately with the Evil Cube that I decided to continue with it for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, with a few insurance exposures with The Populist. My general impression is that I did a lot of nice safe academic compositions.

My first shot in the morning. I had noticed this backlit leaf the day before and I knew the weather (ergo lighting) was going to be about the same on Pinhole Day.

The weather was cold, rainy, windy and dark, but you take what you get so I ventured outside.  I took a picture of this gazing ball at dawn one year on pinhole day, but it was a little later in the morning this year.

I had to go through the back porch to get outside and noticed these pansies waiting for the weather to be decent enough to plant them.

I knew I could trust the ceramic bunnies to hold still in the wind and I'm surprised that being on the screened porch was protection enough that the fern held still as well.

Spenser's passage. I thought I was being really careful about making sure the film was tight, but looks like it was warped a little.

A display of fruit on the kitchen table.

You'd think after all that time and film expended up there, I would have avoided the upstairs all together.

On a dark day, if it makes sense to work near the window, you might as well just photograph the window itself. Justin has been promoting the slogan "Action against refraction," but maybe there's some chance you can work with it without compromising pinholiness.  The beveled glass in the front door window. Not an oriel window, but as close as I could get.

You can also modify the light coming in with variably translucent materials.

I was trying to avoid really long exposures so I could keep shooting, but since I wasn't using the Populist as my primary instrument, I used it to get this two hour exposure in the garage attic for insurance.

As long as I was out there retrieving it, I picked up a quick one in the garden.

I've already blogged about my stereo solargraph attempt, and as I predicted, it turned out not to be my submission to the WPPD gallery.

The image I eventually chose to submit was from the middle of the day in the garden, a tulip coming up through a rose bush.

I mean it's really sharp (ha, ha). It is notable that this tulip was braced by the fairly rigid rose bush so that it didn't flutter in the wind.  Here's another example of the illusion of shallow depth of field. There were several pretty stiff gusts during the 20 second exposure. (Kodak Portra 400) The globe flowers in the background fluttered quite a bit rendering them more softly and looking for all the world like it was done with a large aperture.  Sarah thought it looked a little like a bird attempting to take flight. I guess I saw some sort of metaphor for the struggle for existence.

A couple additional notes.

Sarah did an incredible job with the Chaneloflex.  We added pearl viewfinders to it for this year. Here's her submission.  

Sorry, Justin, more toying around with refraction. Does this make it an animalmorphic lens?

I think I win the pinholiness award because I took the picture of the Evil Cube to accompany my submission with the Populist.  Anybody else take their camera picture with a pinhole camera?

And lastly, from the Populist mounted on yet another tripod, what our living room looked like the morning after. I used all five tripods at some point in the day.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

An attempt at stereo solargraphy.

I don't see why it wouldn't be possible.  I just screwed it up a little.

I put the camera out on January 1st, and closed the shutters after sundown on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.  It's probably not going to be my Pinhole Day submission.  I just picked up my film and it looks like I've got lots of other choices.

It's set up for crossed-eyed viewing. (How to view crossed-eye stereo images)

I guess it's OK in 3D.  What I screwed up was that the paper in the right hand chamber (the left as set-up for crossed eyes) was a little big on one side and warped, so the sun trails don't follow their normal curve.

I was hoping I could tell that the sun was farther away than the trees, but since it seems to have overexposed through the skinny tree branches, and the aforementioned distortion, it kind of screws up any 3D illusion. The rest isn't bad.  The negative density is a little low contrast, about what I'd expect for 4 months in winter

The camera's a one pound 45mm Oaks candy box with two .3mm pinholes, so two about 4 x 4 inch images. There's a piece of black foam core taped to the top and bottom that's dividing the chambers.

It was mounted on the side of the garage underneath the roof overhang so except for the windiest storms it would stay dry and that seems to have worked.

What did surprise me is I've always thought of myself as pretty far north, but really I'm just slightly south of halfway between the equator and North Pole.  I was surprised that the overhang cast a shadow on the camera this early in the year, so no more sun trails.

The other surprise was that the sun trails were kind of slanted to one side.  This wall faces absolutely south, but if you've seen a noon analema, it's always tilted. I think the equation of time explains this, but I really don't know.

In August when the noon sun falls on the camera again, I might do it for another couple months.  I'll be careful to make sure the film plane is flat this time. Will the sun trails be slanted in the other direction after the summer solstice?

It will be interesting to see the difference from the leafless snow scene and the fully leafed out trees and garden..

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Shut-in challenge

Since I did my usual 35mm, Populist, documentary schtick for my last knee surgery, I didn't want to repeat myself.  I loaded two 6x6 cameras, the 45 I made last fall and the Evil Cube, with Portra 400. I imagined I would be doing interiors. I ended up only taking the 45 with me to the hospital, and took only one picture there, the rest done in the upstairs in my house.  I was kinda whiny about it in that post, but I did enjoy taking the pictures.  When I finished the roll in the 45, I still had 11 frames left in the Evil Cube.

A challenge!  Can you find 11 more interesting pictures in three adjacent rooms?

I did take one picture downstairs with it before we went to the hospital - the black folder from the lawyer with the Power of Attorney and Living Will. They do include death as one of the possible outcomes in the agreement which gives them permission to do surgery, and ask that they have copies of these documents on record.

I survived. Didn't need them.  I am actually healing. My physical therapist applied this modernist pattern of thin strips of tapes to my knee which is suppose to minimize swelling a couple weeks post-op. It seems to work. I was intending to feature the surgical leg in this picture, but I missed.  I like the composition that resulted though.  Pinhole serendipity.

If you're supposed to sit in bed all day, you need pillows, and an iPad helps.

Sitting here I'm looking right at the closet door handle, upon which Sarah occastionally hangs a blouse.

Right next to that is the curtain tie.

I usually sleep on the other side of the bed so I must view this scene often going around the bed, but for some reason I never visualize the room from this angle.

The temperature has varied considerably, and this fuzzy blanket has seen service.

Occasionally a sunbeam falls on the moldings between the bedroom door and the hall closet.

My short walks every hour or so during the day go seven steps, due east and west, from one end of the hallway and Andy's bedroom and back repeatedly. This is the western end looking out the back through the prismatic wind chime whose magic was featured last week, and announcing the season, several bunnies.

About halfway is the quilt rack with Sarah's grandmother's quilt, crowned with more bunnies

Directly across from it, the laundry chute.  Planned to get this more square, but, and maybe this is rationalization, I kind of like the crazy off-center, twisted composition.

And at last, reaching the eastern terminus at the front windows, the magnolia has been in the process of blossoming.

All with the Evil Cube. .29mm pinhole 6cm from 6x6cm frame on Portra 400.

I'm really enjoying this camera.  You can keep your Hasseblad.

It would be interesting to see others do the three adjacent room challenge. What room are you in?

Friday, April 14, 2017


Guess which one they did this time? Before surgery.

Sorry about not taking more pictures in the hospital, but I was strapped to a bed. Dawn, Wednesday morning, the third day. The half hour before my pain medication was due.

15 steps. Otherwise, I've always enjoyed living in a two-story house. Needed the walker to reach the shutter and I couldn't move my hand and the walker out of the sunbeam fast enough before they exposed the film.

In order to minimize swelling which inhibits healing, you're not supposed to get out of bed for more than 40 minutes at a time and only a couple of those.  Exercises in bed four times a day. Ice for 20 minutes after each session. This is most of my world.

Visited by a pillow. This is what I'm looking at most of the time. I'm suppose to use a chair with arms to do some of the exercises.

I enjoyed having these two windows to illuminate the room, except when I could hear people enjoying the outdoors through them. Sarah tied the curtains back to make more light.

You're also supposed to walk 5-10 minutes every hour. This is the entire length of our upstairs hallway.  Seven steps. Then you have to turn around. If there's anything wrong looking here - yes, I've read the manual.  It's OK. I've done this before.

Being around a lot, some times you find yourself in the right place at the right time.  These little spectrally smeared refracted images of the sun are projected to the front of the house from a prismatic wind chime in the west window. Did you notice it in the picture of the stairway?  Also smeared into ovoids a little bit by the sixty second exposure. The chair has three separate shadows.

Sarah's been growing fresh herbs in there.  Everything has been delicious.

You never know what you're going to find in there.  OK, I admit it.  This was over on the bed and I moved it to where the light was better.  I'm bored.

And, in the bookcase, the busking bear on Baker St.

All with Portra 400. .28mm pinhole 45mm from 6x6cm frame.