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Pinhole Camera Experiments

I have the good fortune to be able to access several pinhole cameras. 1 5x4 inch one and an 8 x 10 inch one. Last night I brought home, the 8 x 10 inch one.

I then loaded it with paper and went outside. I have no idea what the aperture of the camera is so my idea was 2 fold.
Try to determine the aperture
Work out a way to make teaching the use of the camera; easy and approachable.

I teach a subject called Experimental Processes and Theory I am adding this to the list of experimental ideas students can approach.

My first exposures were 16 seconds and 30 seconds, I then developed the paper negative in Dektol for 3 minutes. The neg had tons of density in the sky, but shadow detail was lacking somewhat in both negatives, so I decided to increase exposure, next going for 1 minute and 2 minutes, again developing in Dektol. Again plenty of highlight density and some gain in the shadow but not enough for a reasonable print. It seemed that the highlights were blocking up too quickly. This got me thinking can I shorten the developer time or soften the developer?

I tried shorter times first, and exposing now for 2 and 4 minutes respectively. with only one minute in the developer. Straight away I saw some improvement.

There are numerous ways to extend development time to lower contrast in photographed scenes. I decide to use a highly diluted film developer called Rodinal. This meant I could keep my Dektol at 1 + 1 for future use. I diluted it to, 1+100, and started with a 5 minute development time. Bingo, now tones were looking much more manageable, even with 4 minute exposure times in late afternoon, late autumn light.

Here are final the results, one scan is unaltered, the other simply inverted using Potatoeshop.

Eventually I plan one making a direct contact print from the original negative. Come back in a day or two, to see if I succeed?

[Total time 4 hours]



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