October 22, 2018
‘These images were taken today with three different pin hole cameras in Flatrock Nature Preserve, in Englewood, NJ. This is just on the backside of the Hudson River Palisades, i.e., just to the west of those cliffs. Each image was exposed for approximately fifty minutes during cloudy weather, and I manipulated them in GIMP, adding a bit of sepia toning.
This first image was taken with a coffee can camera, which produces a distorted perspective, although in this setting, it is not so pronounced: No straight lines in nature!
This image was taken with a box pin hole camera set about two feet above the water surface on a rock.
The last image, below, was done with a box pin hole and a tripod set up.
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.
June 14, 2018
Although it is well into June, here in northern NJ it seems as if the summer weather has only just arrived: there hasn’t been much sun for pinhole photography around here! The top picture is my first try in a long time, taken on an old movable bridge across the Hackensack River. (The bridge, and the expensive rehabilitation thereof, were controversial.) I seem to be having some sort of problem with my paper prints: when I squeegee them, it appears that I am damaging the surface somehow. This never happened before.
The sound of “squeegee” can’t help but bring to mind that rascally photographer, Weegee. I had him in mind when I did this picture. I call this one “Pinhole Weegee,” and it happened in my backyard.
After visiting the Alhambra in Andalusia a few weeks ago, I felt that for my summer snoozes on the back patio, I must have the soothing sound of sprinkling water about, so I purchased this low-market ceramic birdbath and fitted it out with a solar powered fountain. So far, it works, mostly. I call this one “Bird and Bath.”
January 8, 2018
On my Lower Manhattan jaunt I took two pinhole cameras: a coffee can model; and a rectangular box type. My photo journey began uptown, of course, at the 178th Street Port Authority Bus Terminal. The building’s roof was designed by Nervi was designed in the early 1960s, and I just love the trapezoidal-shaped columns resting on a massive steel rocker. This was shot with a rectangular box pinhole.
As usual with my interior pinhole shots, I had trouble getting the exposure right. Actually, getting the exposure right is always a problem, but it’s harder indoors. Considering the overcast skies, this one came out pretty well, but I have been finding that my low-light outdoor shots are often over exposed because I have been relying on an iPad light meter app. According to the reciprocity law rigmarole, long exposures calculated “by hand” are too low and need to be increased. I don’t know what the “rule” is for light meters that include very large f-stops, or maybe there isn’t one. I should probably rely on rule of thumb and experience and dump the meter!
This coffee can shot of the plaza outside of the $4 billion luxury shopping mall otherwise known at The Oculus or Transit Hub by Calatrava shows the exposure problems. It is also a roughed up image, showing the effects of my clumsy field handling of the cameras in my darkroom bag. Haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.
This interior shot of the structure was also taken with a coffee can pinhole, and it turned out pretty well. The building is more impressive in this image that it is in fact, but I could go on about this for a long time…
I found relief from the contemplation of the Port Authority’s pharaonic waste at The Rubin Museum on 17th Street which contains fantastic collections of Tibetan art.
After my visit, on my way to the subway to get back to Nervi’s place, I captured this little scene, so typical of Manhattan, with my coffee can pinhole.
December 23, 2017
Low, raking winter light in a local cemetery with a variety of pinhole cameras, from coffee can to small circular tin, giving a rondel image. The name on the tomb below is Rathbone, but I don’t know if it has any connection to Basil. Englewood, NJ was home to many actors when it was at the center of the silent film industry in the USA in the early 20th century.
December 4, 2017
Yeah, pretty dark days these days are. I can hardly bear to read the news. I decided to try to get some pinhole shots out while there was still some winter light. The one above was taken at the Teaneck Creek Conservancy. I managed to sit pretty still for two minutes, but lugging my cardboard cameras around in a sack loosens their joints, and this one seems to have a bad light leak.
I found myself in Manhattan in the morning, so I went to the Metropolitan for some interior shots. This one sort of worked, with a ten-minute exposure in the arms gallery, one of the few with large windows to the outdoors. While I was waiting, I had a nice chat with the guard, who happened to be interested in alternative photography.
Back at The Creek, a four-minute exposure.
And one of the more successful shots, done with a very small, very primitive repurposed hand lotion tin as pinhole camera.
And for those of you who insist on verisimilitude of a higher order…
November 29, 2017
Taken today with a variety of pinhole cameras, from coffee can to re-purposed hand cream lotion tin.