Monday, 9 March 2015

Pinhole landscapes

After a gap of nearly a year, I took my pinhole camera out again last week. Of course, I had to go back to square one and re-familiarise myself with the instructions though being a very simple camera, it didn't take long! I used different film this time - a roll of Ilford HP5 about 15 years past its use-by date. This is not a film I use very often - I tend to prefer Kodak Tri-X - but it seemed to have suffered no ill effects and actually the results were pretty good. So far I've been using up whatever film I have to hand and most of it is out of date, so this is hardly a controlled experiment.

Looking back at my previous pinhole efforts, I noticed that a lot of the negatives were over-exposed and had to be heavily corrected in Photoshop. This time I cut the exposure right down and the resulting negatives are better. I've been using an app on the phone called Pinhole Assist to calculate exposure times. This seems to work really well and has built-in reciprocity curves for the longer exposures required for the pinhole, saving on having to work it out for yourself! I also took more care with the composition - the best results seem to be when there is something in the foreground close to the camera. I do really like the sense of depth in the images - you feel like you are being sucked into the photograph towards the vanishing point.

Some of the same scenes feature in a previous post where I used the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. You can see them here and compare the effect - obviously quite different as the phone ones are very dark and dramatic whereas these are lighter and more ethereal, especially No 3 below which is actually a double exposure by mistake where I forgot to wind the film on. I will persevere with my efforts - the sense of satisfaction from using film, the concentration and mindfulness required, the feeling of being totally wrapped up in the moment can't be matched by the ease and instant results of digital!

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