Week 4: Pinhole Photography: What can go wrong will go wrong

Well, this week was equisitely frustrating.  Of course I haven’t done my tax return early again and I also had a child at the end of the tax year, so come the end of January I’m usually a smidge stressed to say the least.  So I decided to do something simple this week.  How wrong I was…in fact, even now I’m considering tidying a bit more of my filthy office instead of writing this up.  Things are bad.

First of all I made a REALLY stupid mistake.  ‘Use of one your ready made tin can thingies’, him indoors said.  Turns out that I took this too literally and tried to expose a solargraph in waiting.  Of course, I hadn’t loaded this in the darkroom and so the first attempt hit the chemicals and went BLACK.

So, back to plan A, except I couldn’t poke a hole in my coffee tin.  A tiny drill has now been ordered and is in the post.

BUT I still have a bag of empty beer cans (who doesn’t?) so a couple were taken into the dark room where I spent ages trying to find the end of the black gaffer tape in the dark.  By now, the daylight was already fading.

So – a couple of things were tried.  Hilariously (in retrospect they will become so, surely?) I nearly knobbled one by throwing it in the stop before the dev.  Next time, the first tray really needs to be white and not red which causes it to disappear in the dark of the garage floor.  Then, my son – who ignores me normally – BURST into the garage through the fire door.  Ace.

Still, a couple of pics did turn out.

The next day, despite having a billion other things to do, I tried again.  As I knelt on the floor in the gloom once again, I realised that the house mamil would need his bike.  I kept the cans upside down with the paper inside whilst I grappled with tape just in case.  It wasn’t enough.  The garage door opened and on development I found that another bit of paper was BLACK. One was okay…

Still, I found more ways to make things go wrong.  The next bit of paper was hastily stuffed in glossy side out.  Dammit.

Eventually, I got a couple of pictures I was happy with.  During this I heard dogs barking and the inlaws had turned up to drop off gifts, then the phone went and a gentleman from a call centre far far away got a few words of…umm…advice.img075
Final negatives were enhanced by handling post greasy Chinese takeaway.  My Dad asked me why I was doing this, and I really couldn’t give a good answer.


Technical shit:
Exposure times.  Mad guesses centred around this http://www.lilblueboo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/exposuretimes1.jpg
Dev: 2 mins
Stop: 30 seconds
Fix: 2 mins

Dried on a line – and the radiator which was a further mistake that made them go all curly.

Oh – then I left the sewing machine out in torrential rain…*

So, pinhole photography?  Just DON’T GO THERE!  Well, not again in a hurry.

*Dear Karen – the sewing machine has its cover on and seems unscathed.

21 thoughts on “Week 4: Pinhole Photography: What can go wrong will go wrong

      • I like these too. Especially the last one that looks like the eye of some sinister machine.
        My pinhole camera is a polaroid. Has various limitations and booby traps, but none of the ones you just described. Except Chinese takeaway.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love the last two..very creepy. I tried pinhole once. I convinced myself that I, too, could follow the clever bloggers instructions and build a camera from a Lomography film box. Ha. I’m not mechanically inclined even when only a box and some tape are involved. Result: light leaks and black film. I am still awaiting the Ondu pinhole I preordered on Kickstarter last May. If it ever arrives, (a) it better not have light leaks and (b) it will look pretty on a shelf if I can’t get decent results from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a very pretty camera. I was talking in the pub last night – I was unique in actually having received a kickstarter gift (late but that was okay) so good luck.

      I’ve made a cardboard one before now but don’t think I ever will again!


  2. I really like the last shot. For my first one, I decided to buy a pinhole off Etsy. Vermeer 6×6, which takes 120 roll film and shoots (basically) square images. I am going to shoot it this week, but I’ve had it for a while and gotten some nice results. I might try my hand at making my own pinholes this year.


    • Thanks. I’m not sure what I did to it but it’s appealing to me too.

      The Vermeer looks cool – good luck for this week! I asked my son to make a camera for me in DT but he said he had to make a piece of furniture – so I told him that he could rest a mug on it if he liked. I’m hoping…but I may have to try and talk my Dad round into helping me make large format one. If I bet him we can’t do it he mght 😉


  3. Ah man, I’m not sure I like these images that much (I have a love/hate relationship with pinhole) but that was such a funny story to read. 🙂 Very cool that you’re putting all this work into this project with all the stuff that seems to go on in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aye – I was just finishing off some work and thinking that I wasn’t happy with the pictures I post on here compared to the stuff I’d normally be aiming for. I was going to talk to a mate about it tomorrow. I’m hoping that at about the 6 month mark I might be a good deal closer to happy on this count.

      Fortunately I like writing nearly as much as I enjoy taking photos 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Never tried making a pinhole from cans. You can make then from print paper boxes, but those won’t last outside. I’m lazy, so I just buy pinhole cameras ready-made.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really love your style of photography and writing. It gives me inspiration on how to write my posts when I am finally well enough to upload my weekly films. Keep up the good work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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