Full image here.
I ventured into the local Teaneck Creek Conservancy for some landscape shots. They have a labyrinth for contemplation, where I attempted that. Shot with a coffee can pinhole.
The two images below were taken at other locations in The Creek. Working in the field with pinhole on paper is difficult: have to carry around all those loaded boxy cameras; some developed light leaks; reloading must be done in a darkroom bag; and I have not yet gotten the hang of dealing with high-contrast settings. I also tend to forget that if I want a selfie, I must be close to the camera!
It was a dull, cloudy day out, so even with some lights turned on, this interior shot was exposed for about 9,000 seconds; that’s two and one-half hours. 🙂 The aperture is 0.2mm and the focal length is 0.9″ for an f-stop of about 114. My collection of first editions of illustrated copies of Voltaire’s Candide and E. A. Poe’s The Adventure of Arthur Gordon Pym are hardly legible. 😦
This is the image I should have taken with my pinhole camera yesterday at The Cloisters! But it was made with my iPad.
Alongside the entrance ramp to the George Washington Bridge in northern Manhattan, stuck between two enormous buildings that are part of NY Presbyterian Hospital, there is an old walk-up apartment building. It’s the one with the dark horizontal band that is the bottom platform, supported on braces, of the rear fire escape. Below that, it’s stone sub-basements all the way down. I think there are four levels! To me, it has always looked like a bit of medieval Italy transplanted to NYC. The image was captured with a my small-format pinhole, a very wide-angle.
Further up the road is the turnoff into Fort Tryon park, where the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters Museum is found. The entrance goes under this monumental stone bridge that carries pedestrians in the park across the road.
This shot of the back entrance to the Cloisters didn’t work so well: the contrast is too great. I find that pinhole shots, at least for me, using paper and not film, work better on cloudy days.
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.
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…
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.
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!