Friday, September 7, 2018

Testing's just another word for playing pinhole.

I'm testing a new concept for a camera. Building and using a prototype revealed lots of little improvements and errors on the template, so I'll tell you all about it when the new revision is built and tested.

Until then, I can tell you these pictures were done with a 45mm long 6x6cm camera, with an axial pinhole and a rising front pinhole 10 mm above the film axis. Mr. Pinhole says the image diameter is 86.4mm at this distance, so with a rising front I might see some vignetting in the top corners.

I also didn't install any three-dimensional viewfinders, I just drew pencil lines.

It's really hard to tell where you're pointing when you're in the photograph, but I used a long piece of dowel to point to where the edges of the image were.  My intention was to portray my bicycle tan, but this might not be the best film to capture that.

One objective, and actually what started the whole thing, was to see how the rising front behaved with this wide an angle. Any tilt or otherwise off-kilter alignment of a wide-angle camera is always exaggerated, and it looks like the camera is tilted down ever so slighty so the verticals diverge. The art deco Winnebago County Courthouse was built in the roaring twenties. They recently put all the high tech security screening stuff in what was the back of the building facing the parking lot, so the old main entrance is preserved but isn't used much.

Another rising pinhole test, another little used entrance to the courthouse. Looks like I got the camera more level on this one.

With just the pencil lines for viewfinders, with the camera as high on the tripod as it can go, with the sun in your eyes, it's really hard to tell exactly where the edges of the frame are. Several times I made that most common error of pinhole rookies: not getting close enough with a wide angle camera. This is the side of the Public Safety Building on very busy Jackson Street.  If the camera had been in the middle of the street to get the composition as previsualized, I probably would have ended up inside.

I wonder if the Greeks had any idea how persistent the architectural styles they developed would be? This was the original entrance to City Hall, formerly Oshkosh High School, now missing the massive staircase that lead down to the street. Like the courthouse, people now go in from the parking lot on the other side. A slight tilt down again. I gotta start using that level.

The front of Camera Casino.  Kind of looks like a theatre box office, doesn't it?  It was the Bijou Theatre from 1905 to 1912.  The owner and a staff member, standing at the front counter, noticed me and waved so I went inside to advance the film in the air conditioning and show them the camera. They're both roughly the same vintage as me, and have seen just about everything photographic, but neither has ever told me they had used a pinhole camera.

Speaking of vintage, an eight minute self-portrait on my sixty-ninth birthday with a new t-shirt and headphones from Sarah and a flat pick in my hand.

.29mm pinholes, one on-axis and the other 10mm above the axis, 45mm from 6x6cm frame on 100 developed in Rodinal 1:50.

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