September 3, 2018
I’ve done it again, and this time I got it sort of right. A double exposure, with half of the photo paper target masked in each exposure. First the upper body exposed, then the legs. So, my head and torso are pretty still because the sunlight was intense, and I had only to remain immobile for twenty-five seconds, but the problem with strong light and direct exposure to paper is that the contrasts are way too strong.
The image is not as wonderful as I had wanted, of course, not least because the precision of my image splitter is way off, leading to an overexposed middle band that got illuminated in both sessions. With a camera made of foam board, and a lot of little add-ons to keep the paper in place, I’m not going to try to make this better.
September 2, 2018
This is my first attempt at making a split-exposure image with one of my pinhole cameras. Of course, I made several major blunders!
I created the effect with one of my rectangular foam board pinhole cameras by taping a piece of black card over about half of the photo paper in the target area. I posed in the light and stood still for about two minutes – the camera was set to do a vertical (portrait) oriented image. I left my sandals in place, unhooked the camera from the tripod, ran into my darkroom, moved the card to cover the other half of the photo paper, and then ran out to renew the photo session. By leaving my sandals and the tripod in place, I was able to maintain continuity between sessions, pretty much.
For the second session, I jogged in place. The intended effect was a sharp image of my upper body with a blurred exposure of my legs below. A colleague at work had shown me some interesting pictures of this type a few years ago that he had made with a digital SLR and a very clever shutter device he had fashioned. Mine was to be much more crude, of course.
Well, for some reason I imagined that the split in the image, clearly visible in the positive above, would be at waist height. This despite the fact that I had set up the camera so that the pinhole was nearly at eye level! Bigger mistake: I forgot that the image on the exposed paper is inverted. Thus, the first exposure session, which was supposed to capture my immobile upper torso actually imaged my immobile lower body. In the second session, when the blocking card was shifted, instead of capturing my moving legs that were jogging up and down, it captured my upper body which moved less vigorously, but still very noticeably.
Hmmm…still sort of interesting, but I think I will try again, the RIGHT way, tomorrow.
October 20, 2017
A bright sunny day, and I decided to do three shots of the same subject, each with a different camera. Naturally, the subject is myself.
The first one, shown above, is with my original box, the modified Stenoflex pinhole, with a laser-drilled 0.2mm aperture, 0.9-inch focal length, f/120. The iPad meter said about 10 seconds for an exposure: you can see that I had to rush to sit down after I removed the “shutter” from the camera. I think that’s my dog to the right of my arm. I am sitting in a brightly lit spot, but the image falls off all around.
Next up, the same subject with my 0.3mm aperture, 2-inch focal length homemade box, f/169. The meter said use a 15 second exposure. The wide angle format loses everything to the right and the left.
Finally, my newest camera obscura, with a new 0.406mm aperture. I ordered a variety of apertures from a vendor on ebay: they come as very thin metal rectangular sheets with a precision drilled hole, but the increments are in inches, thus the oddball millimeter value. This box has a 5-inch focal length, giving it an f/312, and requiring, according to the meter, a 60-second exposure. You can see that before I reached the chair to sit down after removing the shutter tape that the reflection from the plastic seat back had already registered in the image. It shows right through me! My ghost dog appears twice. Overall, this is my favorite box right now.
October 17, 2017
Back again to the Hackensack River, which divides Teaneck from Hackensack, and where the ghosts of 20th century industry and war yet live. I tried again (0.3mm aperture – 5-inch focal length) to capture the USS Ling, a rusting hulk of a WWII submarine, but in the bright morning, it appears only as a white “shadow.” In addition, I came too early in the day to catch it at low tide when the mudflats are impressive, and the rotted portion of the lower hull is revealed.
The image below was taken with my modified Stenoflex (0.2mm – 0.9-inch focal length): the USS Ling is just visible at the far left of the image. A thread from the tape used to put together the camera pieces got in the way…
October 16, 2017
I was growing tired of wide-angle shots, so I constructed a third pinhole camera from a shoe box, cut to about one third of its length. Keeping the box lid intact at the end allowed me to easily construct a flip-up paper loader along the back of the camera box. It seems to be very effective at sealing the box, and I put in some tabs to hold the photo paper in place – no curved photo-plane this time. I improvised the usual tripod mount with scrap wood and a piece of hardware from Home Depot.
I cannibalized the aperture (0.3mm) from my wide-angle camera to use with this one, even though all the formulae indicate that a 0.45mm pinhole is optimal: I have new ones on order, but I couldn’t wait. Rushing again… With a focal length of 5-inches, the f-number is about 425.
My first attempt with the new box was a shot of the USS Ling taken from down near the water, a great shot of the rusting hulk of a submarine, but I noticed that the aperture didn’t seem to be properly fixed to the camera body. Sure enough, in the darkroom, I got an all black print. 😦 I had made a too big hole in the box so that when I taped the aperture holder over it, I didn’t quite close it. It was hard to tape on without bending the camera wall since the hole was almost the same size as the aperture holder. I fixed this by gluing a sheet of matting over the original hole, with a smaller hole punched in it, over which I taped the aperture holder. The thickness of the whole deal is so little that I don’t have to worry about vignetting the image.
After the repair, the camera worked great. Perhaps a little light leak showing in the upper part of the image, but that might just be the bright sky with tree shade.
And a nice gothic shot of our town hall shot with my 0.2mm camera.
October 14, 2017
A rather dark day out, but I tried for a self-portrait. This is my homemade camera, with a 0.3mm aperture, an f-stop of about 170, and the exposure was four minutes long. No wonder those people in 19th century images are never smiling…except for Nadar!
I also have problems drying my negative prints on photo paper, which is the cause of the spots all over the scanned image. I have bought a squeegee to try and address this.
Not a flattering image, but…
October 13, 2017
Yesterday, I ventured into Manhattan to meet a friend for lunch down near where I used to work, and afterwords, we strolled over to the WTC Memorial, directly across from my old office. (Also from Century 21, where I bought a pair of Italian shoes. 🙂 ) I had been planning to take some pinhole shots, and the weather was good.
I had my 5″x7″ photo paper camera loaded and ready, and I set up my tripod for what was to be a one-minute exposure. Oops, no tripods allowed, I was informed by two policemen. I can see how they would need to have that rule to prevent the area from being clogged with photographers at their stations. Nevertheless, when they saw the nature of my equipment – clearly, I was not a professional doing commercial work – they looked the other way for sixty seconds, and I got this shot.
Over near the Santiago Calatrava PATH terminal, I took another shot, this time with my 0.2mm, 0.9″ pinhole using 3″x 3″ paper. I crouched down and held the camera in my lap for a thirty second exposure. Not tripods there, either! I like the spooky, Expressionist feel to this image.