Monday, June 22, 2020

Seventeen degrees in color

I quite enjoyed my adventures this spring with the 17 degree angle of view, 200mm front of the Variable Cuboid. As the trees leafed out and the flowers bloomed, it occurred to me I hadn’t exposed any color film with it. Ironically the air temperature was about 17 degrees Celsius as well.

Dappled light on a picnic table by the lake. I was just off the main walking path and at least a dozen people came by and gave my cardboard box camera a quizzical look but nobody said anything.

This is almost exactly the composition of a photo of the bridge done on a previous outing with the long camera. I might go all Claude Monet on this view with different light and weather.

I occasionally get asked about how I point the long thing and get what I want in the picture. Using traditional sighting triangles, about two-thirds the time I get exactly what I think I’m pointing at, as was the case with the previous two photographs. The rest I don’t get precisely what I want. That leads to some random compositions that produce a different image than I was planning on. It’s like there’s someone else composing the picture. I’ve come to think of this as “discovering my negatives.”

Crammed into the corner, the top of this building has an anthropomorphic personality that I hadn’t foreseen when I was taking it.

I had to set up and point the camera and wait for the clouds to line up with the building. I waited at least ten minutes and kept adjusting the pointing as clouds moved by. A fortuitous combination occurred without much warning and I made the exposure without checking the viewfinders.

Irises are usually big sails at the end of long stalks that are hard to photograph with long exposures. This one had a short stalk mutation and blossomed nearly at ground level. Despite a fairly stiff wind it was scaffolded by the Creeping Charlie around it. A sunbeam was shining directly on the flower when I opened the shutter. Just as I went to close it after a five second exposure, a cloud obscured the sun. I left the shutter open another 30 seconds to pick up some shadow detail.

A Coral Bells' leaf in a similar situation supported by some Creeping Charlie.  This was in deep shade and the exposure was about 10 minutes. You can see the yellow leaf on the left is fluttering in the wind,

Later in the afternoon the chair and pillow were illuminated by lighting I’ve seen somewhere in the Pictorialist movement. This was a two and half hour exposure. Sarah and I were both in the room during the majority of that time and never bumped it.

A prismatic windchime refracting light, filtered through the curtain in a west window, on another late afternoon.

Chocolate chip cookies cooling, even later in the afternoon.

Looking through the porch of The Waters (originally built as the Yacht Club).

The former train station at Oshkosh, now an office building. It still sits next to the very busy rail line through town, just to the right.

One of the facilities of the Winnebago County Department of Human Services, formerly the world headquarters of Oshkosh B’Gosh.

A small cloud exchanging pleasantries with the Raulf Hotel as it drifts by.

The Variable Cuboid has a 6x6cm frame.  The 200mm front has a .5mm hand-drilled pinhole (f400). The film is Lomography 100.


  1. I really like the long "focal length". Very nice exposures also with the clouds showing in the background just perfectly. One thing I've been thinking about lately is what would it accomplish if there was an UV-filter attached in front of a pinhole? Have you tried it?

    1. I'm always a little surprised that no one makes pinhole cameras other than the extremes of wide angle. There's no need to let Lord Rayliegh's equations limit the angle of view you use.

      I think a UV filter would do just about the same as it would with a lens. If you were photographing a distant landscape like a mountain valley it would reduce haziness in the distance.

      It might warm up the color a bit, but I color correct every scan I do anyway.

      On a body cap for a digital camera, it would protect the sensor from dust floating through the pinhole.