Monday, April 27, 2015

MAKING THE BEST OF WORLDWIDE PINHOLE DAY

Pinhole photo of Saguaro cactus taken with a Nikon D4S. One-second exposure, aperture unknown.
Pinhole photo of Saguaro cactus taken with a Nikon D4S. One-second exposure, aperture unknown.
I really enjoy pinhole photography and ever since I built a camera and took that first shot in 2013, I've made it a point to participate in the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD). This international event is held each year the last Sunday in April in order to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography.

Surrounded by digital in my full-time job, I enjoy the opportunity to produce an image on photographic paper using nothing more than a box with a tiny hole and some chemicals. It always provides a challenge and seeing a negative appear on paper as it sits in the developer, reminds me of excitement I felt the first time I stepped into a darkroom over 35 years ago.

So this year I was disappointed when I realized that because of an early Sunday flight to Tucson, Arizona, for an assignment meant that I would not be able to participate. After all, it would not be practical to bring my pinhole camera and chemicals with me. I briefly thought about pre-loading my camera and bringing it along, or maybe get up early and taking one photo before my flight, but neither of these options seemed to excite me enough to do them.

During the flight, I began thinking about missing out on WPPD and that's when it hit me. What is a pinhole camera and why not just use what I had with me, a Nikon D4S with a body cap, to make one. One of the reasons I left so early from Washington, D.C., was so that I could arrive in Tucson early enough to spend some time in the Saguaro National Park before my assignment started on Monday. So I had the time and now I had an idea on what I would do.

Tools used to make the hole in the camera's body cap.
Tools I used to make the hole in the camera's body cap.
After landing, I stopped at a local drug store and picked up a pack of sewing needles, a small roll of duck tape and a package of lighters. Total cost $4.50. I secured a small pebble to the top of the needle using the duck tape and then using the lighter, heated the tip so that I could push it through the center of the body cap. It took a few tries, but really there was nothing more to it.

One big difference of course between this "pinhole camera" and mine is that I was able to see the results of my efforts on the digital display instantly and make adjustments until I had the proper exposure. Too easy.

It wasn't as much fun as previous years, but I can say that I participated in WPPD 2015, and that makes it all worthwhile to me.
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