Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Roadtrip: Thoughts on traveling with a pinhole camera.

The film I used on this trip was Portra 400 in the Evil Cube and Long John Pinhole, Lomography 100 in the Variable Cuboid and Kodak Gold 200 in The Populist. They are quite different and I got sick of messing with color balance to get them to look the same and gave up.

Rock and Rochester • Blue hills, blue water, and black humor • Art is what you can get away with in Western Pennsylvania  The other side of Lake Michigan It sure is hard not to overexpose Portra 400 on a sunny beach, even at f362. It’s hard to make long exposure decisions about film use during a quickly changing sunset. Some of the exposures were measured with Pinhole Assist, some guessed and some for as long as I could get away with leaving the camera with the shutter open. I'm continually amazed that I always get a usable negative, although that sometime takes a little work. When I said that the Classic View at Fallingwater was the only view, I mean by a few inches either way or something was obscured. Guess who people had to wait for during a 1 minute exposure? Eastman House was a great review of the history of photography, despite the limited gallery space. The current history exhibit was a survey with just the work of women photographers. Unlike some fields that included one of the greats in every era. It was cool to see a disassembled No. 1 Kodak that's set up much like the Variable Cuboid including just having sighting lines for viewfinding. It gave me an idea for a new shutter.
A full size tripod is a heavy thing to walk around with, dangerous in close quarters and possibly in someone else’s way but maybe a deterrent to muggers. I wish I could have tried to get pictures in five lanes of traffic at a dead stop. I have done it before. I momentarily thought about it but this time my attention was already fully engaged. Driving in stop-and-go traffic really takes concentration. This has nothing to do with pinhole, but it sure is nice to have 305 horsepower and brand new tires at your disposal when you need it. On the hotel parking forms, I never listed it’s make as Ford. It was always Mustang.
Museum benches are usually located in the middle of the gallery facing a significant art work, but the pinhole view in the other direction often yields a more interesting photograph. I try to avoid putting the camera on the floor because it's too noticeable. Also people tend to look where they're sitting in a public place, but they don't always look where they're walking, expecially in an art gallery. Once you do find a place to put the camera, getting multi-minute exposures is not all that hard when you’re looking around a gallery of paintings. It was weird to lose the New Glarus Populist. In a busy place like the Philly Art Museum steps, it was probably noticed soon because of the shiny bronze-colored tripod, especially since people often watch their feet when walking down a monumental stairway like that. I wonder what they made of it. Last year in Strasbourg I almost lost The Populist and tripod when they fell out of my jacket in a taxi. The driver found it and came running after us. It pays to tip. People do recognize them as cameras because they’re mounted on a tripod but I’m still stunned about how unextraordinary my pinhole cameras are. One assumes people at George Eastman house are interested in photography. We weren’t the only people photographing the Lake Michigan sunset. At Fallingwater they had to wait for me to take a picture with their SLR’s (only a minute). No one said anything. The concierge/desk clerk in Michigan who watched over the Populist never said “Wow, Pinhole! How’s that work?” He just cheerfully agreed. At the toll road service plaza, I looked among the phone accessories for a new tabletop tripod but no luck. Except at the Kodak Kathedral, I never looked to see if anyone had film. The Andy Warhol Museum had Polaroid film and cameras. I saw pinhole camera kits in several gift shops, usually in the children's section. The pinhole photography sure was fun. It makes you look really closely at things and the environment around them. The long exposures and limited frames of film make you really carefully consider whether and from where you want to take that picture.
We’re thinking of airplanes and trains again for our next adventure.

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