As you may or may not know, Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is Sunday 28 April 2013. Yes, this coming Sunday. And as you also may or may not know, Your Humble Filmosaur intends to take part, using the converted Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20 introduced here recently. Of course, I’ve only had this thing for a few weeks, so I figured I should probably get in a little practice before the big day is upon us.
The first roll I shot was Fuji Acros 100; I chose it because it has very low reciprocity failure (essentially none up to 120-second exposures). This is the film I will shoot on Sunday. Strictly out of curiosity, however, I decided to load up a roll of Kodak Ektar for my second practice roll. Ektar is not known as a particularly tolerant film; it behaves sort of like a slide film in that it prefers exposure to be pretty close to dead-on, and from what little information I could find, reciprocity failure begins to show around 1 second, meaning I’d have to calculate that into essentially every shot. The colors are bright and saturated, but the saturation can become lurid quickly if the film is overexposed. But why not try it? You don’t really see a lot of color pinhole pictures, so why not see how they would turn out?
It was mid-afternoon on a bright, sunny, but slightly windy, day when I arrived at one of my local haunts. All the flowering trees are out around here, a good test to see how Ektar handled color through a pinhole. Walking around knowing I had eight frames to fill and trying to get a decent mix of motion and still, sun and shadow wasn’t really all that difficult. The wind was strong enough that the plants and clouds were moving a bit and the sun was starting to drop toward the west.
Well, I obviously got color. No modifications to any of these, by the way. All I did was set the black and white points for the film and loaded my Ektar color correction profile in the scanning software; no post-processing whatsoever. Ektar definitely lives up to its reputation for saturation, pinhole or not.
Sure, the exposures aren’t perfect, but that’s part of the experience of pinhole photography (or so I keep telling myself). I did meter and added 1 1/3 stops to account for reciprocity failure; these ranged from 7 to 22 seconds.
I really can’t complain about any of these. The color is great, quite saturated but true to what it actually looked like (well, the sky might be a bit overdone, but Ektar seems to tend toward cyan when overexposed). It still amazes me that these came from an old box camera and a homemade pinhole. I think there’s something to the idea of setting low expectations, but it’s hard when you’re shooting with good equipment; it’s easy with a camera like this.
More to come in anticipation of WPPD. Stay tuned….
Part 2 can be found here.