Monday, February 7, 2011

oatmeal redux

Ahhh. What a difference a little patience, a bit of reflective thinking, a few minutes and a whole lot of electrical tape makes! Ta-da: Meet the new, far-less-attractive oatmeal pinhole cam. In fact, I begin this entry with its before and after shots.

From my perspective, the real miracle is that I actually took the time to tweak the oatmeal cam--this, as opposed to just pitching it, as I had planned to do after seeing my first results. [In point of fact, shortly after seeing those results, I pulled out of storage a large, circular chipboard box I bought some time ago and started making myself a new pinhole cam.]

Since I had some time to kill while waiting for the spray paint on the new chipboard pinhole camera to dry, I decided to see what I could do with the oatmeal cam to see if I could actually get the results my pinhole camera making book suggested I would. And guess what? I may well have to rethink my top five cameras!

As a reminder, here were some of my first results. [no bueno]

But like I said to start, after a few minutes, a little tweaking and a whole lot of black electrical tape, here is what yesterday's session brought--the negative is on the left, the positive on the right.

Not bad. In fact, I really, really like the results. To tell the truth, I was beside myself when I saw the negative start to reveal itself in the developer. "Well, flipping finally!" I thought.

Too bad the process of loading and unloading is so complicated and slow-going. Or maybe I should say instead, "Too my black bag isn't bigger." Anyhoot. If the process of loading and unloading this camera worked like the AE1 Program (36 shots before reloading), the Diana 151 (16 before reloading) or even the Holga (12 shots), I'd seriously have a new go-to cam--never mind my worrying about it getting squished in the camera bag.

I especially love working with the curved film plane. The Zero Image 45 also results in some kick-butt distortion (at least when using the single 25mm frame), but that's a flat film plane. This oatmeal cam provides something different. Still cool, but different, and to my way of thinking, muy bueno!

By way of example, here is a sampling of some of yesterday's shots. All images were taken on 5x7 sheets of Ilford Multigrade RC Express paper (what I've come to term simply "the gift that keeps on giving) and developed in Dektol for about 90 seconds. The outdoor (landscapes) images were all about 45 second exposures whereas what I'll call the close-up, still-life images (those featuring close-ups of cameras, phone, keys, lenses, etc.) were 6-7 minute long exposures. I think I like the timing for the wide/landscape shots, but I might increase slightly the times for the still life images, especially when I'm shooting subjects that are dark. I'm thinking that I'll boost things to 8-9 minutes and see what's what.

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