Thursday, May 02, 2024

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2024

Harman Direct Positive Print, Pinholio Self-Developing Pinhole Camera

The last Sunday in April is when the global pinhole photography community celebrates Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Their website is humble enough such that they don't self-promote the fact that they've been doing this for years. I know our fellow blogger and pinhole photographer Nick Dvoracek has been involved in this for years, please check out his blog, as he's the master of handmade cardboard cameras using C-41 color negative film.

This year's WPPD fell on the day after we'd held our Rio Rancho Type-In, and I was tired from the exertion of hauling typewriters and setting up the event, so I didn't feel like loading up a film camera early that next morning, when we were to meet with our fellow New Mexico Film Photographers group at Tingley Beach in ABQ. However, I did decide to bring a Lumix micro-4/3 format digital camera with a Pinwide pinhole body cap.

The Pinwide Body Cap recesses the pinhole aperture close to the sensor

I decided to attach the Pinwide onto my Lumix GH3, which hasn't seen much use lately. Because the Pinwide recesses the pinhole aperture behind the lens mount, just in front of the sensor (but out of the way of the shutter), it produces a wider angle of view image than many other pinholes adapted to digital camera bodies. However, the major caveat with it is because the GH3's sensor lacks micro-lenses over each sensor pixel, out at the corners and edges the image is vignetted and purple-tinted. I will compensate for this in post-processing, often by desaturating the color image to black & white, and adjusting for the vignette, but ideally one would use a digital camera with micro-lenses over each pixel, like the much pricier Leica M-series digital rangefinder cameras. But you probably wouldn't spend the $7000 just to do digital pinhole.

Another artifact of using a pinhole on a digital camera is it easily shows dust and debris on the sensor itself. In this series of images, I've had to do some spotting on the images to reduce these artifacts. In fact, a pinhole is a good way to judge the cleanliness of your camera's sensor!

When I arrived at Tingley Beach the rest of the group was just arriving and setting up. Our friend Ethan Moses of Cameradactyl had brought a folding table and a box full of Pinholio self-developing pinhole cameras, loaded with Harman Direct Positive Paper.

Pinholio with pinhole cap attached and accessory chemical pour spout

The Pinholio is a 3D-printed pinhole camera from Cameradactyl that has a back that nests into the front half via a light-trap, has an internal shutter and a pinhole cap that's replaceable with a light-proof pour spout for liquid chemicals, permitting paper to be processed directly in the camerea itself.

Pinholio Innards

The Pinholio is loaded with a 2.25" (57mm) square of light-sensitive paper. It also works well with Harman's Direct Positive paper, which will produce a direct positive fiber based print with just standard developer-stop-fix black & white chemistry.

We found it best to make the exposure with the camera on its side, so the shutter will stay open easier.

Once the exposure has been made and the shutter closed, the pinhole cap can be unscrewed from the body and the pour spout cap attached. This permits the paper to be processed directly on-site!

Pour spout attached to the Pinholio

Pinholio processing! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ethan brought enough Pinholios, preloaded with Harman paper, for the entire group to have several attempts at making a successful exposure. This was my first attempt, exposed for 1 minute and 15 seconds:

The sky was okay but foreground landscape underexposed. I'd used the Pinhole Assist app on my phone to meter the scene, but the trick to properly exposing paper media, whether negative (darkroom print) paper or direct positive reversal paper like Harman's, is the paper is mostly sensitive to UV and blue light, but light meters are sensitive to the full visual spectrum of colors. So for the next exposure I gave it more time, judged by "gut feel," as many pinholers do:

I felt this was the best Harman exposure I made this day.

I also decided to record digital pinhole exposures with the Lumix GH3 and Pinwide body cap. Here is a selection to follow. Many I've desaturated to black & white, while some I've left in color.

We were situated next to the model boat pond. (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ethan brought his self-developing 4x5 back, loaded with multigrade paper and developed using the peroxide/citric acid reversal process, which produces direct-positive prints onto standard darkroom paper. (Digital Pinhole Image)

This reversal process works as follows: 1st developer using paper developer (develops the latent negative image) (2-3 minutes); citric acid solution (prepares the image to be bleached by the peroxide) (3-4 minutes); 12% hydrogen peroxide solution (bleaches off the developed silver image) (4-5 minutes); sodium sulfite clearing bath (prevents staining) (2-3 minutes); then the paper can be brought out into the light, it should be blank white, or may have a faint positive image (white light exposes the remaining silver halides); 2nd developer using paper developer (develops the remaining positive image), the positive image will appear very rapidly (:30-1:00); rinse and dry.

This was one of the best prints of the day! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Gerson Eli is proud of his goose print! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Doggie (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ducks (Digital Pinhole Image)

Geese (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ethan in the Light (Digital Pinhole Image)

Donuts are pinholes too! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Island Tackle (Digital Pinhole Image)

Log (Digital Pinhole Image)

This was a fun, annual event. Much thanks to Ethan Moses and Becky Ramotowski for helping to setup and prepare for this event, and also to the entire NM Film Photographers group for their enthusiastic support. Perhaps next year I'll actually bring a film camera!