Saturday, 20 March 2021

Shunbun no Hi: Solargraph

My latest hobby is making pinhole cameras from household waste, recording images on film or photosensitive paper. I don't know anyone in person who is into pinhole photography, but thanks to social media (mostly Facebook groups), I've connected with, and gotten a lot of advice and tips from, the very helpful worldwide community of pinhole photographers.

A few months ago, when I was a total newbie, a photographer from Oaxaca, Mexico even offered to do a one-on-one Zoom session to answer some of my questions and show me her studio. At one point I said something like "I didn't understand this design, but as you know I'm a beginner..." She chuckled and said, "Yes but I can tell you're enthusiastic. By this time next year you'll have made at least ten pinhole cameras."

I laughed at the time, but I already have six, and I'm planning a seventh.

My latest pinhole camera is made from a beercan. The goal is to create a solargraph: an ultra-long exposure stretching over weeks, months or even years, capturing the Sun's trail across the sky.

I thought Spring Equinox would be a nice day to set it up, and accordingly I tied it to a betel-nut tree behind our flat. (I added arrows to show the pinhole in the first pic, and the camera in the second.)

My camera, as you can see, is made from a can of Kingfisher beer. A few hours after setting it up – coincidence of coincidences – I saw an actual kingfisher sitting on the wire just behind it. Perhaps it was the same bird which featured in my last Shunbun no hi post.

Happy equinox, everyone.