Thursday, June 21, 2018

Museum Volunteer: Photographic Technology and Equipment.

After a year and a quarter of photographing all sorts of stone tools and arrowheads, I finally made it through the backlog and have graduated to cataloging the Oshkosh Public Museum's collection of Photographic Technology and Equipment (That's the official museology category for standard naming of objects.)

I studied the basic textbook of museum cataloging before beginning. Right out of college, I worked in a library cataloging department that included lots of audio-visual and realia. I worked with some of the first library computer catalogs, and I've been involved with all sorts of databases and catalogs, so a lot of it was familiar.

The artifacts not on display are in compact shelves in the Carriage House behind the museum, which is completely rebuilt inside to be a storage and exhibit preparation facility.

Most of the objects are stored in boxes, and I normally bring up one box at a time.  The photographic objects have only been briefly accessioned and given a catalog record with a description by someone who didn't know much about photography.

The first box I got had a 4x5 RB Graflex Series D in it.  It belonged to the Oshkosh Police Department from about 1930 when it was new and was in use into the fifties.  It included a special back to place two images on a 4x5 sheet of film which was used for mug shots. It had been described as a split image camera.  In another box was an actual split-image-only camera custom-made by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab with the front of an Ansco Pioneer and the body of a battleship that had been listed as a part of the Graflex.

This Graflex was the top-end SLR of the thirties and forties. Edward Weston used an earlier model to make his 4x5 nudes.  When pursuing similar work when I was younger and wishing for a larger negative, I remember thinking it would really be great to have one. It would be cool to take pictures with this stuff, but museum protocol says you handle objects as little as possible.  This one's in pretty bad shape anyway, and the only film holder with it was a film pack adapter.  They stopped making large format film packs in the eighties.

The protocol also says every part must be marked with it's accession number in as inconspicuous a place as possible if there's any likelyhood that the pieces might be separated. My second box had a folding Blair 5x8 view camera from 1895. The back came off to rotate and it had another film pack adapter loaded in the back, both of which had to be marked. It was a 5x7 film pack adapter, however,  and when it was inserted, there was a quarter inch open slot in the back of the camera. Not very light-tight. Labeling involves using three layers of a dissolvable coating which have variable drying times applied in a spot just big enough to write the number on very carefully, usually on a surface propped up at an odd angle.

That second box also had a Brownie Holiday Flash Camera. One morning I had been telling Joan, the staff member with whom I work, about the Rescued Film Project.  Seeing the blank red counter window in the camera I was holding,  I told her "Well, there's no film in this one."  A minute later when she went back to her office, I opened the camera and saw this 127 roll of Verichrome Pan.

My developing tank just happens to be a vintage Yankee adjustable tank that has a setting on the reel for 127 film (46mm wide). After an impromptu meeting with Joan and the two curators, it was agreed I should go ahead and develop it. The internet told me it was just like Plus-X, so I used Rodinal 1:50. It turned out to only have the last three frames exposed depicting a young woman in the back yard dressed up for some occasion in the early 1970s from the look of her hair and dress. Camera movement made the first two look quite pinholey. The third was sharp, but had a pattern over part of it that looks like someone had opened the camera briefly before completely rewinding the film. The staff was very familiar with the person who had contributed the camera (along with several hundred Christmas ornaments) and sent her the images. It turned out to be her sister at her confirmation.

It's not all cameras. The next box included a variety of contact printing frames, developing trays, tripods, a box of Agfa Superpan Press with 4 sheets left, and a folding Brownie Enlarging Camera complete with manual. You put the negative in the top and the paper in the bottom with a lens in the middle in the darkroom and then "expose it to daylight."

There were also five cameras in that box, all in good shape and working perfectly.  The two little folders in the front use 127 film and the two larger ones in the back use 616 and so all are unusable, but they still make film for the Exacta.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Building the evil cube template

The techniques for building the Evil Cube template are very similar to my other cameras that are covered in the 10th Anniversary Populist post.  If you were thinking of making one, it would probably be a good idea to look that over if you're not familiar with how I make cameras.

 Link to Evil Cube Template description.   Link to templatesLink to 10th Anniversary Populist post

The Evil Cube template is set up on four sheets of letter size paper, and it will fit on A4. The largest part is almost 11 inches so it still takes a fairly large cereal box to make, and you'll probably need two of those. Of course the first step is to glue the template to your card stock, and when it's dry cut out the parts and all the holes. The grey areas are the glued surfaces. Remember if you're using a box with a glossy surface, sand or otherwise roughen it if it's the side that's getting glued.

The image chamber is the most complicated part to fold and glue.  It might be a little longer than your printer area, but they're pointy corners so it should be pretty easy to recreate. Remember to print at 100% and not "fit to print." It should fit pretty comfortably on A4 paper. There are three steps that need to be done in order.

The first is to glue the double layer that makes up the sides of the image chamber. Make sure to tightly crease the fold and in order to clamp it, you may have to fold the remaining end of the flap over your clamps to get the edge well clamped.  As always, it's best to get the entire surface adhered.

Next, fold it into the shape of the image chamber.  One of the trapezoidal sides is only partially grey. That's where the tripod mount will be glued and that one goes on the inside, the entire grey end is the outside.

The last part, which makes the camera front stiffer and restricts the movement of the film reel, is folded and glued.  The front of this structure should be a flat surface - you might have to adjust it a little.  The best way I found to clamp it was with a rubber band around it vertically.

The image chamber is then glued to the film holder to create the internal assembly. I forgot to take a picture with it clamped like that but the template is pretty well marked where everything goes.

The stop which holds the bottom of the film reel in place is made from a double layered piece of your cardboard.  Note also that the flap at the left isn't glued.  You need to open it to get the film reel in and out.  It just folds closed and is held there when the assembly is placed in the camera.

To make sure you've got a tight fit, fold the camera back around the internal assembly with the flaps on the inside. In order to prevent them from getting glued together, I always wrap some wax paper around the internal part first.

Then, this time with the flaps on the outside, again separating them with wax paper, fold and glue the front over the back (leave the internal assembly in there so you don't crush the back when you clamp it.)

The winders are my standard 3/8 inch dowels with the end sculpted to fit into the slot of a 120 reel. They're exactly the same as with the 10th Anniversary Populist  so I won't repeat it here.  With my camera I also glued some cork bottle stoppers to make it a little easier to wind, but that's not really necessary.  The tripod mount is also the same other than the shape to fit the image chamber.

Of course, if you're not absolutely sure your card and template is opaque, now is the the time for a few coats of matte black paint. Also remember to cover that edge of the image chamber the film rides over with tape or cloth.

This camera is set up to have a rising front pinhole. The pinholes are taped right onto the front of the internal assembly.  The optimal diffraction is just under .3mm by the way. Careful not to cover one with the other. You can, of course, install just one pinhole, but I'd either not cut the second hole in the first place, or cover the hole with tape.

The shutter is exactly the same as with the 10th Anniversary Populist, except it's stretched to cover both pinholes, and the moving shutter itself is cut in half.  I liberally cover the surface between the two halves with pencil lead graphite so when you pull the handle for one, friction doesn't pull them both open. It's symmetrical around the horizontal axis so you could mount it for use by whichever hand you prefer. There's no reason why you couldn't make a second pinhole and use this on any of my other 120 cameras.

Because it's important to make sure the film reels get pushed down where that stop will hold them in place, it's helpful to place the camera on it's front when you load the film, place the back over it, and insert the winders.

Film advance requires loosening the supply and then tightening the take-up.  Remember to tighten both winders so the film is flat before making an exposure if you want to avoid some unpredictable pinhole fun.

I used beaded pins for viewfinders, I've included some center pinhole finders on the template, but I can't quite think how to make a flat finder for both pinholes except by drawing lines.

Now go out and show everyone how cool you are with your classy cubical medium format camera.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

An evil cube template

Regular readers may have noticed that the camera I've used most often in the past two years has been the Evil Cube (6cm from 6x6cm frame). I've used it for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Days in 2017 and 2018, it went to Massachussets for my son's wedding, and it was one of the two medium format cameras I took to Europe last fall. I chose it when I went out into a blizzard recently.

It was made from cutting pieces of flat matte board and taping and gluing them together, sort of figuring it out as I went along. When I was loading it for Pinhole Day, I wondered if I could make a template that would fold and glue together like my other cameras so anyone could make one. I think I accomplished it. I'm going to do a separate post on building it but here's the link to the templates if you wish to try to figure it out.

There's really no technical need to design a new camera.  The image format is exactly the same as a 6cm 120 Populist. But there's the issue of form factor.  When I made the Evil Cube, and the Glenmorangie Evil Cube and Compact 120 before it, my inspiration was an unreachably-expensive-in-my-youth medium format SLR. (Never mind that it's sort of the same form factor as a million mid-century Brownies, Hawkeyes, and Pioneers. I never had one of those either.)  I've recently seen a forum thread where the NOPO 120 was gushed over for it's similar shape, so I'm not the only one with this obsession.

As long as I was making a new camera, I thought I'd see if I could improve a couple issues.

The classic winders for a 120 Populist are 3/8" dowels with the ends shaped to fit into the slot of a 120 film reel, with an opaque collar glued around it to reduce the chance of light leaks through the winder holes, and with a WinderMinder over the collars to keep the winders from falling out, itself held on by a rubber band.  The problem is that the diameter of the dowels is a little small to give much torque when winding and your fingers can get really tired gripping that little thing.  I've been glueing them into the plastic cap end of a cork bottle stopper which works really great, but then you can't put a WinderMinder over it to make sure they stay put. I make my winders really tight and put tape over the tab to make them tighter in the slot, and that works, but it's a little bit of a kluge.  And the WinderMinder is a separate part that could blow away when you're reloading in the field.

The other thing that I wanted to play with was the rising front pinhole.  I got kind of interested in this with the Pinhole Lab Camera, and I recently found out the Reality So Subtle cameras have one. Recently, trying to minimize the impact of converging verticals with Stella at the Public Museum and the Paine Art Center made me wish I had this option. This may be considered trying to guilt you in to staying around and looking at the pictures below, but I really like the rising front pinhole.

The camera is made made from four main folded parts.  The image chamber and the film holder are first glued together to make the inside assembly.  You have to do something to keep your film reels parallel or your film is going to jam up.  In the Populists, it's a box just larger than the film.  In the original Evil Cube with it's triangular space for the film bay, I inserted some cut off nails through the bottom, but those are little parts that can get got lost. The simplest solution to me was a double layered piece of cardstock, the same thickness as the flange on the film reel, glued where the reel would be pressed when the winder was inserted into the top and held there firmly when the camera is closed. That should keep the bottom of the film reel from wandering.  It seems to have worked.

The film is loaded wrapped around the inside assembly.

This assembly is then inserted into the back, and the winders are inserted throught the holes and into the film reels.

The front then slides over the back in a gap between a collar and a cork stopper on the winders, which solved the problem of the winders falling out.

For the rising front, making a a pinhole that actually went up and down is way too complicated for me, so I took the simple way out, two pinholes, one higher than the other.  It took me seven tries to get two identical pinholes at .3mm. I was a little disappointed to not get them a little smaller, but to entice you again, I don't think that's an issue with the pictures.

The rising pinhole is 15mm over the on-axis pinhole.  That was just a guess. It was far enough to make sure I could keep one covered while the other was opened. According to Mr. Pinhole, there's a 115mm image diameter at this distance, so I've got a little area to play with. It turned out to be a very useful rise, and I hardly noticed any vignetting.

For the shutters I just made one big really wide shutter, and cut the moving part in half. The over and under shutters open to the side, which ever handedness you prefer.

I really like the rising pinhole (or should that be The Risen Pinhole?)

All this is happening at f200, and moderately wide angle, 53 degrees. I think most people consider 80mm normal for this format.

So as is my wont, I went for a test on a bicycle ride around Oshkosh. This was my first experience with TMax 100 as well.

You knew I was going to start with the rising pinhole. The stone clad modernish Evangelical Lutheran Church on Church Street is connected to what I think is their older clapboard covered church behind it on Parkway.  This is the joint between the two.

Turning to the left, the almost-third-quarter moon was just barely visible to the right of the bell tower.  Despite getting some grey scale to the blue sky, I can't see a trace of it in the negative.  Anyway, how about those parallel verticals, and there's a seagull sitting on the left pylon if you zoom in to full resolution.

Next door, I couldn't get far back enough from the Morgan House to get the rising pinhole shot I wanted and kept getting the sun in one of the windows from that angle. So I thought, damn the converging verticals, I'll just point the camera up and use the on-axis pinhole. This is the only time I used it. Picked up a little flare anyway, and there's another seagull on the chimney.

The Public Safety Building is an equilateral triangle. Do you think they engraved those lines in the walls just to challenge me?  I was surrounded by police cars when I took this.

On the other side of City Hall, there's a hidden little courtyard with a table and bench between The Beach Building and a city garage, with this rather large tree kind of espaliered up the wall.

The back end of the Grand Opera House, with yet another seagull on the chimney.

I've tried to photograph this wall of the old Miles Kimball Building several times. Using a wide-angle camera pointing up making it look like it's falling over really distracted from what I want to portray.  Now with the rising pinhole, here's the left side of the wall.

Using the sidewalk to make sure I kept the camera parallel, the right side of the wall from twenty yards down.

And here's the diptych you're trying to imagine.

Sarah had an interview here once and described the interior as Dickensian. They used to hire artists to do drawings as piece work from a photograph of someone's house to put on Christmas cards. They're going to renovate it into an apartment building with a restaurant on the ground floor and a bar on the top. That should be a good place to take pinhole photographs. Here's the front of the building from the empty lot across the street.  It appears I didn't make sure my film was tight and I got a bit of a curve to the horizontals toward the top.  It's kind of funny that I was trying to be pinholey by waiting until a white car made streaks going by, but the camera upstaged me with the curvy film.  This combination of the view camera correctness of the verticals with pinhole funhouse cracks me up.  It looks like the building has a raised eyebrow.

This is the new "Sawdust" development area where an arena was built for a Milwaukee Bucks minor league team. The city is hoping it will spur all sort of hip development in what is a pretty blighted area. It used to be the factory district and there are still a few industrial buildings active in the area.

Restoration of the area is going slowly. 

Just next door is this little brick building given a little bit of a Loony Tunes look by curved film again.

All with the new Evil Cube. two .3mm pinholes 6cm from 6x6cm frame on Kodak TMax 100 developed in Rodinal 1:50. Also with the Manfrotto Compact Advanced Aluminium Tripod extended out to it's full 66 inch height.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Stella goes visiting.

Went to Eau Claire to see Laura in a play and took Stella along for her first roll of color film.

The front of their house.  We gave Gene the basket to left of the door as a get-well gift after his recent surgery. He's doing well.

Their family room faces south and is often awash in sunbeams.  This was kind of early and the sun was shining through the leaded glass window just out of the frame to the east.

A topiary tree in the garden in front of "The Cottage."

A path protected by a pig with wings.

It's hard to tell what Gene's made and what someone else has.  I'm sure this sculpture on the chair is his.

All with Stella. .24mm pinhole 45mm from 6x9cm frame.  Ektar 100.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rank heresy - a few lines on digital pinhole

On of my favorite titles in the collection of historical articles about pinhole photography on my old university web site is Rank heresy - a few lines on pinhole work.  It's from Amateur Photographer in 1897, by F.A. Wright who has apparently lost patience, but in a light hearted way, with the overly technical dogmatic attitudes of the audience of that magazine (Trigger warning: He assumes they're all men).

In the 19th century, there were criticisms that wide angle and telephoto lenses were unacceptable distortions of reality.

Dogmatic attitudes about using digital sensors to record a pinhole image are a similar hot topic today.

Several times the coordinating committee of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day actually held votes to decide whether we should allow submissions of digitally recorded pinhole images. As I've mentioned before Gregg Kemp was somewhat vocal about his disdain for just buying a pinhole in a standard body cap and firing off a few exposures for Pinhole Day.  We always ended up voting to accept digital submissions on artistic freedom grounds. I dislike being told what's proper pinhole practice cough 35mm isn't appropriate for pinhole cough. Several well-known pinholers, including a few of the founders, have submitted digital images for Pinhole Day.

Pinholers are not universally unwelcoming of digital pinhole. On the f295 forum,  one participant, an illustration professor, had made a sudden discovery of handheld digital pinhole and had great fun exploiting it and creating a memorable set of images. Comments were generally positive. There's at least one worker I see on Facebook who is doing some interesting pinhole work exclusively with a digital camera.

Commercially made pinholes that mount on digital cameras have been around a while. Recently I had a conversation with the manufacturer of one of the newer ones. He was enthusiastic about bringing pinhole to the masses whom he said could never get the experience if they had to make their own. I guess. As I said in my reaction to Joe Van Cleave's video on Pinhole Day, any way you get to experience the apparent magic of the pinhole is OK with me. This entrepreneur wanted to "sponsor" Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, but we don't get involved in that kind of partnership (we'll put a link on our Resources page).  I said I could try it out and write about it and post pictures here and he promised to send me one. He never did. probably after I mentioned I wished he would quit calling it a lens. This isn't dogma, it's proper use of a couple of nouns. Words have meaning. Lenses refract light. A pinhole isn't a kind of lens.  Lenses and pinholes are two kinds of image forming objectives.  He said people wouldn't understand the difference. This reminds me of statements like "Of course when I say all men, I mean all women too."

I've been pretty ambivalent toward digital pinhole because I can't make the entire camera myself. I also was a little put off by the little sensors, although I shouldn't be too critical of small formats.

A couple years ago, Sarah bought a Nikon D750, and it's a pretty impressive camera. More to the point it has a full size 24x36mm sensor, and even at ISO's like 6400 it's practically grain/noise free.

My curiosity and a desire to pass myself off as a pinhole expert finally got to me.

And typical of pinhole, it turns out it's typically cheap and easy to do it yourself, although there's a couple ready-made options that are pretty cheap on the market.

I got a ProMaster Nikon body cap for $6.99 at my local camera store.

I didn't want to haul out my electric drill so I half-heartedly poked an X-acto Knife in the center and started spinning it and in a few seconds, I had drilled about a quarter inch hole quite cleanly.

The biggest scare headline to do with digital pinhole is that you'll get dust on your sensor.  Haven't these people ever used a UV filter? You might reply that's putting glass in the way. A filter isn't a lens either, it doesn't focus by refracting light.

I took the UV filter off the 50mm lens on my Mamiya-Sekor 1000DTL (which hasn't seen film since the meter failed in 1978 and I got my Canon F-1). The filter has a lens hood screwed permanently on to it, but I think the hood is short enough to be out of the way, and that should help some with flare, and it looks cool mounted on the new Nikon. In a nod to tradition, I attached the pinhole and the filter
 to the body cap with real 3M #235 although that wasn't necessary because it doesn't need to be light tight, and any tape that would hold would have worked.

The Nikon mount is a little closer to the image plane than most SLRs, about 40mm.  Mr. Pinhole gives .267mm as optimal, but after 3 attempts and making holes too big, when I got this nice looking .20mm, I just decided to go ahead with that one and taped it to the inside of the body cap. I've used smaller than "optimum'' pinholes with good results before.  As much as I go on about how easy pinhole is, drilling smaller holes is a bit tricky, and it's even harder to measure them.  But it's not that hard.

If that image and the story looks familiar, that pinhole is now mounted on Thin Lizzy.

I did mount it on the camera once and took one image just to see what it would take to get the exposure, but I just can't get interested in trying it. I've often described my practice of pinhole as being like an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and I'm just not compelled by using the digital camera. I did mount another pinhole on the body cap and it's sitting in my backpack and maybe I'll play with it sometime.

One of the things I was curious about was video, but Joe's YouTube piece mentioned above demonstrated that you could pretty easily make video, so that blew my curiosity.

One of the things that discouraged me was the size and weight of the camera. If I can get just as pinholey images with my 3 ounce cameras, why haul around this 2 pound chunk of Titanium that I can't just toss in my backpack.

One of the truisms you often hear from large format photographers is how the forced discipline it takes to work with a large piece of film results in more considered composition.  I think this is one of the benefits of pinhole, and film in general, too.

The limitless exposures and immediate feedback of digital can lead to shooting endless variations without really considering what you're trying to capture. The simple fact that you're spending some money on every frame makes film a more compelling experience. Although to be fair, you can buy a lot of film and processing for the cost of a full frame DSLR, and you can get really nice car for what a medium format digital camera goes for.

You have to consider intensity of the light and determine the length of exposure.  Even though I use Pinhole Assist on my iPhone to do that, it is a separate step you have to take. With the 35mm Populist I usually just guess, but that's still different than letting the camera do it.

Pinhole usually has no real preview of what's hitting the film plane, except by indirect methods such as the sighting triangles I use. That forces you to pre-visualize the scene and carefully adjust the camera's pointing and position to match what you hope to record. I recently read a photo column about how to revive your creativity that suggested getting a pinhole body cap for just this reason.

I certainly don't mean this as a blanket condemnation of digital photography. You'll notice that I use the D750 to document my cameras for the blog and I'll repeat that most basic of all concepts, it's not the camera that takes the picture, it's the photographer. When photography was part of my job, I would have killed for the latitude and speed of a digital sensor, and not having to stop and change film every 36 exposures would have been nice to not have to plan ahead for.

There is also a lot of mentally and philosophically satisfying depth to making your own cameras and working with film that you won't get with a digital body cap.

But capturing the image isn't the only part of film photography. You also have to make the positive. My reaction to displaying negatives is that it's kind of a gimmick, although it occurred to me reviewing Pinhole Day images that most of the kids submitting negatives had never seen one before.

One attitude that bothers me a lot about some pinhole images I see is that somehow the flaws of pinhole are what makes it charming. I see people displaying images that are low contrast, have blown out highlights in the middle and drop out to black at the edges, are covered with dust and scratches and claim as a badge of honor that the image was completely unmanipulated. I guess if I see a shitty print, I don't really care if it's unmanipulated.

I often see guilty apologies that an image was "lightly" adjusted with digital tools. I never see analog printmakers apologize that they use variable contrast papers, burn and dodge and make a dozen draft prints before they're happy with the final product.

I hear people talk about how they find darkroom work relaxing. It always made me tense as I piled up multiple variations that were almost good enough.

I scan my negatives and adjust them liberally with digital tools. My goal is to get the best image out of the negative that I can. I'm a bit of an old fashioned fuddy-duddy and in my mind, I'm trying to give a you-are-there feeling to my images.  I scan using VueScan with a $200 flatbed at 48 bits per pixel at 1800 dpi for 120 negatives and 2400 dpi for 35mm. I use an older version of Photoshop I got back in the days of educator discounts. The newest version of the open-source GIMP supports higher bit depths now and I might switch to that. I don't add or subtract parts out of the scene. I do rotate and crop to correct for a non-level camera. I balance color, adjust contrast and burn and dodge quite a bit. A favorite trick is using the shadows setting of the burning tool, which I always think of as my realism tool. I retouch for dust and emulsion flaws at full resolution.

Getting this quality would have cost a fortune with analog methods. I value the affordability of digital editing and printing that makes high quality work accessible to a wide population who don't have access to a printing darkroom and can't afford their own and the associated costs of paper and chemistry.

The digital file is usually the end product of my work, and the way others see my images is this blog (and when I occasionally get around to it, Flickr). I don't really have the ambition to go through the process of juried shows, and I'm old enough that I'm reconciled to the fact I'm not going to be a famous photographer.

I don't do it very often, but if I am going to make prints, I have them output digitally by my local camera store, and I'm happy with how they match what I see on the screen. A couple of times for gifts, I've made books on Lulu, and it's kind of a charge to hold a book of your photographs. Especially from this 20th century graphic artist's perspective, it's also really inexpensive. The whole book costs significantly less than a single Match Print.

I hear a lot about how the disciplined craft of analog printmaking and unique nature of each print makes the results more valuable and I agree that's true, but nobody is going to buy my prints no matter how great they are, so having a pile in a box that no one but me sees really doesn't seem valuable.

Now get off my lawn and go out and take some pinhole photographs with whatever method you get off on.

Friday, May 11, 2018

My Eighteenth Pinhole Day

A common complaint on Pinhole Day is that it's cloudy, cold and windy.  This year in Oshkosh it was bright, relatively calm, and fairly warm.  Whatever the weather, you gotta do pinhole today. That wasn't my problem. I was just oddly uninspired. But that's no excuse either.

The defining idea of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is that we all take photos on the same day, so illustrating the conditions in your corner of the globe is an obvious theme. This spring hasn't been very conducive to plant growth, so in the early morning light, I went out to get these daffodils, just barely erupted from the ground, which are usually in full bloom by now.

For the last two years in the spring, I had total knee replacement surgery, so I thought a picture of the current state of my knees was an appropriate subject. Oddly, the newer scar on my right knee is less noticable than the older one on the left, but neither is really prominent in this picture.

In the afternoon, we went out to see if we could make use of some of that sunshine and went to Menomonie Park. I kind of like this image, but two years ago, we also went to Menomonie Park and I submitted a picture of a tree by the shores of Lake Winnebago.

After the spring we had, the sun brought out a lot of people to the park, but I've never been one to approach people about being in my photographs. I thought this blue hammock with the white bicycle was interesting, so I snuck up as close as I could. Just as I closed the shutter, I was a little surprised when a couple rolled out the hammock. They didn't say anything about my camera and tripod pointing at them.

When we got home, the first crocus of the spring had popped up in the back yard. My submission last year was about the emergence of spring, and I don't want to repeat myself so soon.

When I start to get desperate late on Pinhole Day, I usually resort to a self-portrait at the computer reviewing submissions. I avoided that this year, but I took advantage of the sun in the west hallway window to document the current state of my mustache and managed to not look too crabby trying to hold absolutely still for 3 seconds, but still looking awfully severe.

Even on pinhole day, you gotta keep up the regular duties, so I left the shutter open while I chopped all the ingredients for chicken soup, apparently vigourously enough to shake the camera, capturing a stray sunbeam shining on my back which I wasn't aware of.

There was a full moon, so as soon as it got dark, I opened the shutter in the back yard, and left it there until just before we went to bed.

Last year for Pinhole Day, Justin Quinnel was promoting the slogan "Action against refraction" and I thought of that when I noticed the sun shining on the plastic prism in the window sill in the morning. Late in the afternoon with the sun streaming into the west window, I made this arrangement on the kitchen table. I submitted it as my Pinhole Day photo with the pinholier than thou comment: "Even on a day celebrating light traveling in straight lines, I acknowledge there are uses for bending it with shapes of transparent materials."

I hope you had a great WPPD and got to submit a photo.  As usually we're getting a wild variety of images with every kind of camera you can think of.  I have to give a shout-out to Sarah, and Andy, who both made my cameras look pretty good.

All with the Evil Cube. .3mm pinhole 6cm from 6x6cm frame on Portra 400.