Monday, April 3, 2023

Photo Opp Whirlwind and Pinhole Day Event

In a tradition now of at least several years, I loaded a camera with color film to take to Massachusets in November but didn't use it and then it sat around the house for months.

This time it was The Little Mutant. For the Photo Opp Appleton City Center Photo Walk, I knew people were going to be curious about my cameras so it went into one of my pockets. Who knows? I might want a camera with color film.

While making my first accidental double exposure of the day, during a conversation with Caroline Gilderson-Duwe, a comrade in the Fox Valley Photographic Group, I made an off hand comment that if it had been brighter, I had been thinking of trying to get a few portraits. She immediately volunteered.

During a second double exposure, I noticed a brightly fluorescent-lit empty room with a few vending machines at one end and a painting on the wall. Caroline was just down the hall and I reminded her of her offer. She grabbed a chair and dragged it down the mall while explaining to me how she gets away with often personal street photography because nobody is threatened by a lady with a regular iPhone who looks like she has a good recipe for chocolate chip cookies. My intention was to use the EyePA 30 with black & white film, but as she put the chair down we both at once noticed the match between her coat and the wall. I couldn't believe I had the camera with color film in my pocket. She thought it was cool that the camera had some of the same green as well.

As soon as I got home I developed the black and white film and had the blog post up by Tuesday morning. I sent the Photo Opp leaders a link, and asked them if they'd like to go to lunch some time to talk about the event we spoke about at the Photo Walk.

They replied later in the afternoon that sure, let's meet Friday. They liked the blog post. By the way, they were putting on the organization's first group exhibit titled The Range of Photography that Saturday. Could I bring along a print of one of the pictures from the blog post they could hang in that? They had decided that the range referred to in the title of the show should include pinhole. Many thanks to Andy Ratchman at Camera Casino and Jim Evans at Art Haus for helping me out on short notice.

The little camera was also displayed on a small vintage table next to a large grid of Instax prints and a push-me/pull-you slide projector with a very rare automatic slide advance displaying black & white film processed as a direct-positive with the develop/bleach/expose/develop method. My master's degree is in Audio-Visual Communications. I love this sort of stuff.

The opening was just before sunset and there were great light beams pouring directly into the gallery. The place was packed and I got to wonder what it would look like with those sunbeams falling on the constantly moving crowd. Would it be like a beam through fog? Could you even see any of the architecture with all these people standing in front of it? I only had my new cool Dörr table top tripod and set it on one of the window sills while conversing with the gentleman with whom I had met a few years ago to sign The Pinhole of Nature for his daughter.

Of course I stood sneakily nearby to hear comments about my picture and camera. That happened to be at the corner of the bar. (No charge for drinks, but there's a contribution jar over there. Also, merch!). At one point things seemed to thin out at this end. The Little Mutant sat on the bar with the shutter open on the little tripod for about twenty minutes. The lull didn't last long and host Graham Watashka graciously helped me guard the camera. Everyone was very careful not to bump it.

Going back to the car, the light from the still glowing sunset reflecting in the windows above the gallery seemed worth a frame. With only the desktop tripod, I held the camera against the back of a stop sign. The cars circling about trying to find a close spot to park were a little unnerving and it looks like the camera chose it's own composition.


The next day was a public round table event featuring seven of the photographers in the show. The camera was on the tripod next to me. When the discussion started I thought they were going to go in order. The exposure time ended after I was called on unexpectedly. Fearing another double exposure, I had to fess up and publicly wind the film.

The place was full of Edward Hopper windows and sunbeams.

A comfy couch in the sun.

Lots of lines and angles in the northeast corner.

The event also included the announcement of a Pinhole Photography Experience on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Participants in the event will choose one of my hand-made cameras loaded with film, receive a few minutes of instruction and be sent out into the city to make twelve exposures. When they're finished, we'll load the roll on a developing reel and help them process it. When the negatives are dry, they can come back and get positive scans and their negatives.

I have twenty-five cameras available. It will be insane but extremely cool if all of them get used. If you're anywhere near east-central Wisconsin this year on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, April 30th, come on over and try out one of my cardboard cameras.

I have this fantasy of sitting like the Sorting Hat behind that desk in the photo above with an origin story for each of the cameras as people choose them.

After the extended wait getting started with this film and the exciting events recorded with it, I didn't want to miss Camera Casino's Wednesday deadline for going to the lab. No wasting film allowed, so you get a few scenes of daily and familiar occurence.

One-to-one macro of some cherry tomatoes.

Similarly close-up to some radish sprouts. Sarah bought a micro-green kit. I feel so sophisticated sprinkling them on all sorts of dishes.

A subtly green display for St. Patrick's Day.

The Little Mutant has two hand-drilled .27mm pinholes, on the axis and 13mm above it, 45mm from a 6x6cm frame. The film is Kodak Gold 200.

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