assignment

Life is busy, and I don’t have as much time as I’d like to devote to personal photography, so when I do, I’ve always thought that I should do what I like to do… not work to someone else’s agenda… shoot for myself alone. But now, I’m beginning to think that rather than providing artistic freedom, that may be an attitude that may begin to stymie creativity. Maybe the “everything in moderation” approach that seems to serve me well in other areas should be applied, and the occasional assignment to a specific brief will help to keep the photography fresh and interesting. So, thanks to those lovely people at the sunny 16 podcast I recently embarked on an assignment on the theme of “day into night”.

A fairly loose brief then, that can be interpreted in a number of ways. Maybe a diptych showing the same scene at different times, or a more movie industry approach – underexposing in daylight to fake a night-time scene. My initial thoughts centred around constructing something specifically to show the transition on a single piece of film. Anything involving electronics, microchips or optics is well outside of my capabilities, so that leaves cardboard boxes and pinholes. After a couple hours of head-scratching I’d sketched out an idea for a triple pinhole camera which would hopefully record 3 overlapping exposures on 120 film. After around 6 hours of construction, the “Hexpin” was born.

The three pinholes are each 0.4mm which according to Mr Pinhole, gives an aperture of f212 at the “focal length” of around 75mm. Image circle would be around 140mm, giving a significant overlap, so I devised a kind of “dark slide” affair to shield the rest of the film “at the gate” from overexposing while each 3rd is exposed sequentially. Loading is a bit of a faff, due to the shape the film has to follow, but with care and a little practice I’m sure it’ll get easier.

Obvious pitfalls… there seems to be a significant “back-travel” of the film once wound on as there’s no tension being held on the take-up spool. The shape the film has to travel around, without any form of pressure plate introduces the risk of buckling the film and the “dark slide” arrangement is an obvious potential light leak.

In practice, the film had minor damage to one edge at the start of the roll, but travel eased after a few winding’s. The “back-travel” did worry me though, and one of the elastic bands snapped… but I don’t think that had any significant detrimental effect.

A serious light leak through one of the “dark slide” slots ruined 2 out of my 3 sets… only the set shot indoors proved to be usable. But that’s fixable, and I’m pretty happy that two slots appear light tight.

So, here then is my most successful shot in from the first outing. The warehouse where I work… sheet steel (and light leak) on the left, fork lift truck in the middle (should have parked it closer) and coiled steel on the right.

Overall, I’m quite happy with this image, and I think I’ll try to fix the minor faults and have another go… not necessarily day to night, but I’ve an idea that something “tidal” might look interesting.

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