Split Me 2

September 3, 2018

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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.

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Split Me

September 2, 2018

Split_Me

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.


Pulaski Skyway, My Way

November 29, 2017

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Taken today with a variety of pinhole cameras, from coffee can to re-purposed hand cream lotion tin.

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North Jersey Pinhole

November 28, 2017

Ling Torpedo POS crop

I have always wanted to document the things about northern New Jersey that I like – you know, like the Turnpike, the refineries, the gritty industrial sections…All the stuff Woody Allen joked about and that people claim makes the state a dump.  Well, chacun son goût.

On the Hackensack River, between the town of Hackensack and Teaneck, where I live, is the defunct historical park dedicated to the WWII submarine, the U.S.S. Ling.  Pretty forlorn.  The yard around it is filled with rusting deck guns and torpedoes.  The shot of la torpille was taken with a coffee can camera,  35 second exposure.  I think the bright, low sunlight fools me into using too long an exposure:  it’s more light than it seems.

I had to climb over the gangplank barrier to get this picture of the submarine itself, taken with a 20 second exposure on my wide angle box pinhole, with the vignetting cropped out.

Ling at Dock POS 2 crop

To get from Teaneck to Hackensack, you can drive over the Cedar Lane bridge, which seems to be perpetually under reconstruction.  This is a view of the river looking north:  15 seconds at f165.  The photo is cropped.

Hackensack River Bridge @ Cedar Ln POS crop

Another coffee can shot, this time a church in Hackensack.  It was so windy that I had to put my hand on the camera to steady the tripod, and the sun, blocked by a building on the left, was still wreaking havoc with my exposure of 45 seconds.

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A final Hackensack shot, where the home in the town meets the damp dirty prison:  the Bergen County Jail.  I visit immigrant detainees placed there, previously by Obama: Deporter in Chief, and lately by Trumpy: Dummkopf in Chief.  Again, the low sun fooled me.

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And further south, in Kearny, near Newark, NJ, is the fabulous Pulaski Skyway!  Built in the early 1930s, designed by a railway engineer, but intended to carry automobile traffic to the new Holland Tunnel.  Considered to be one of the worst highway segments ever created for cars, it is now under a massive reconstruction, but as a bridge structure, it is sublime!

20 second exposure with f169 on my wide angle box pinhole.  The image is cropped.

Pulaski 1 POS cropped

20 seconds at f165 with a much longer focal length, so not so wide angle.

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Selfie Trifecta

October 20, 2017

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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.
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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.

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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.


Take Me to the River…

October 17, 2017

USS Ling BBBack 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…

Hackensack River

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Through a Pinhole, Darkly

October 10, 2017

Shot AA interior desk

My third attempt at an indoor still life of my desk yielded mediocre results.  With an exposure time of about 70 minutes, an aperture of 0.2mm, and a focal lenth of 0.9-inches, the angle is too wide, the light too dim.  It might have been better if I had used my initial configuration, with the camera on a tripod a foot or two away from the desk, instead of sitting right on it.

I got better results with my second visit to capture the USS Ling on the Hackensack River, however!  As usual, I was impatient, and the print is not absolutely dry.  Those tiny droplets seem never to evaporate!  Next purchase, a mini-squeegee to wipe the prints right out of the fixer bath.

The paper is 5×7 inches, but I have cropped it somewhat; the boundary of the image circle is clearly visible.  Once again, I curved the paper concavely, with the aperture directly on center.  It appears that I may yet have some light leaks at the bottom of the camera, visible here at the top of the image.  The black line at the top center is from a small cardboard piece in the camera that holds the paper in place.

Ling 2

Here is a further cropped image, with the smudges in the sky cleaned up a bit.  The USS Ling is visible on the left bank of the river, but it is over exposed:  it’s faded grey hull was very reflective.  Perhaps a shorter exposure time would have been better.  My respect for the early photographic artists has grown astronomically!

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