Time for the big finale as Five Days of Fall comes to a close. I decided to wrap things up with a nice colorful shot from my converted Brownie Six-20 pinhole – the long exposure times of the pinhole actually work pretty well with Ektar if saturated color is part of the plan, as it most certainly was here. Hope you’ve enjoyed the week’s photos.
Well, the results of the great Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day experiment are in. Your Humble Filmosaur was part of a group of pinhole photographers that met at the B&H store in NYC before heading out to the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market to take some pictures. Most of those assembled had mounted pinhole caps to their various Nikon DSLRs, which was all well and good, I suppose, but somehow being able to crank up the ISO to 12800 in order to shorten the shutter times and induce noise (NOT grain) seems antithetical to the whole “keep it simple” mindset of pinhole photography. But anyway….
I shot a single roll of Fuji Acros; two frames before we arrived and the remainder together with the group. Watching as everyone set up their tripods at the entrance to the flea market presented an interesting sort of sociology lesson: New Yorkers will apparently take great interest in half a dozen people setting up cameras even though there is nothing remarkable at all going on, but the aging Iggy Pop-lookalike in the pink bikini and matching cowboy hat is completely ignored by everyone.
While I did meter most of my exposures (I think), I seem to have blown out a lot of the highlights. It was a very bright day and, if I’m honest, I was not fully focused on trying to nail the exposure. Pinhole photography is a rather imperfect science, and the imperfections are part of the charm, if you ask me. (How’s THAT for rationalizing?)
It was a good time, and it was nice to see others interested in trying a new type of photography, though somehow the idea of sticking a pinhole plate on a DSLR that cost as much as a car still seems a bit absurd to me. Nevertheless, Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day has come and gone, and I was there and have the pictures to prove it.
As promised, here is a second set of pinhole shots in advance of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day; same roll of Kodak Ektar, same pinhole-converted Brownie Flash Six-20 camera. The first set can be found here.
I was pretty happy with the way the shadows held up on these, particularly in terms of the edge detail. Granted, these were hard shadows in bright sunlight, but I was a bit surprised that a pinhole still rendered small, complex shapes relatively clearly. Look at the decorative shapes on the top of the fence as an example.
You can’t see it very well in the scaled-down full frame below, but in the full-size scan the shadows of the individual slats that make up the backs of the chairs are distinct against the wall of the house. The big 6×9 negatives are a major factor, I’m sure (I’m quite skeptical that you’d anything like this much detail from a similar pinhole setup on a standard 35mm negative).
Here’s a crop of the detail. You can even make out the millwork on the rail posts. (Sorry for the dusty scan; I didn’t have time to clean them up, and the dust doesn’t show in the scaled-down versions.)
With all this talk about sharpness and detail (which is really a bit silly; if one really wanted sharp, detailed photos, a pinhole camera would be pretty low on the list or preferred equipment), I would be remiss if I didn’t include this last shot. It was the last on the roll, and shot directly into the light. Apparently this can produce a weird rainbow tie-dye effect as the light passes through the aperture. I’m sure I couldn’t repeat this if I tried.
That’s all the practice I’m going to get before Sunday, so we’ll see how it goes. Happy pinholing!