Hole In

This post has been a long time coming, mainly due to me being distracted by work and not having enough time to translate some of the content. Shortly after I launched pinholista.com I was contacted by Cédric Duhez about his project with another French photographer. Sébastien Béghin. What was instantly intriguing about their project was the size of the camera and the eventual size of the images they are creating. Hopefully you’re now intrigued as well, so carry on Pinholista.

Hole In 1

The remaining text of this post is translated (any errors are my own) from the press release of the Hole In project, you can find the original here.

The Hole In Project

At this time when so many photographs are digital, photography should reinvent itself.  Two photographers are using the history of the photograph to give it a new style. Their aim is to accomplish a unique work, large, and by hand.

For this, they have made themselves a camera of 2 x 3 meters and suggest you enter inside to experience it! From the start to the eventual appearance of the photo on the paper you can discover a unique project in France: HOLE IN (www.holein.fr) by Sébastien Béghin and Cédric Duhez.

Here is an example picture from this project.

Hole In 4

How is such an image created? Read on!

The genesis of the project

Collaborations can foster creativity, and for these two photographers this was the case. A photographic adventure like this one, because of its enormous size, can not be achieved by a single person. Fortunately Cédric and Sébastien have the same desire in their lives, to create different images!

They have each been trying for a long time to accomplish a unique large work using the chemistry of photography and their know-how.  Shortly after they met and discovered their joint interest in the same photographic follies, they decided to embark on the adventure of giant pinhole!

Why pinhole and why so large?

Within a camera obscura, it is possible to experience magic…to see an image on the wall of this camera is just gorgeous! If a photo-sensitive emulsion is placed on the wall then the photograph will be frozen in time. To create a clear picture it is necessary that the size of the surface, the diameter of the hole, and the exposure time are calculated accurately.

The goal of the photographers:

A pinhole camera can be as small as a match box, but for Cédric and Sébastien the goal is to make large images (1×2 meters!). They can enter the camera to see the picture before exposing the image. This is a portable, travelling, removable, and light impermeable camera that can be used to compose a series of images.

Here is a picture of the box in its completed state.

Hole In 2

How is the camera made?

The details of the assembly and disassembly required for each photo are listed below, it takes one day to make one photo!

  • It takes 1 hour to build the camera
  • They enter the camera to see the image
  • It then takes 15 minutes to ensure the camera is light-tight and to decide on the composition of the image.
  • The paper is placed into the camera in complete darkness by blocking the pinhole
  • The image is exposed for 10 minutes
  • After exposure, the paper is rolled up and stored in a light-tight container
  • After exposure, it takes 30 minutes to remove the camera
  • Then the photographers enter the darkroom under safe-light
  • The paper is developed using normal processes
  • Finally they see the image on paper

There are some further pictures on the press-release which explain the steps.

Using a sponge to develop the photograph

The process used to create the image allows Cédric and Sébastien to create a large-scale work. Their additional decision to create the photograph using a sponge as a brush accentuates the uniqueness of the work.

Hole In 3

Time is an important element!

The principle of this series requires considerable investment. Time has become the key factor in the creating the photographs. Using the most ancient method of photography, they are able to create unique and modern images.

The images are created in Nord Pas de Calais (a region in Northern France) where time passes, and technology evolves. The two photographers show in this series the dynamics of the region over time.

The aim of the project:

The eventual aim is to present a series of photographs through an exhibition in an emblematic place of art in Nord Pas de Calais in order to allow the general public to discover this old process showing various places in the region.

The exhibition will show ten large works set around the giant camera, accompanied by informative videos that will show both interactive and artistic. To achieve this, Cédric and Sébastien have been accompanied by a videographer and a professional photographer to help communicate the work from the various sites and to track the entire project.

Hole In 5

Admin’s endnote

I hope you are as intrigued as I am by Cédric and Sébastien’s work and their huge pinhole camera. If you want to find out more about their project then please contact them through www.holein.fr. All that remains is for me to thank them both for getting in touch with pinholista.com and to remind you that all images on this post are copyright of the Holein project, as always I’ll be grateful if you respect that. Happy Shooting and Happy New Year!

Ondu and Lumu – first thoughts

Chapelfield-Gardens

I have been delighted during December to receive gifts that I bought for myself, through Kickstarter, the Ondu 135 panoramic pinhole camera, and the Lumu smartphone lightmeter. Here are my first thoughts are using both to shoot a roll of film whilst walking through Norwich.

Ondu 135 Panoramic Camera

Made by Ondu in Slovenia, the range of wooden pinhole cameras were the subject of an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. Its great to see in this modern age that a simple analogue camera can still be an object of desire. I suspect a lot of this is to do with the beautiful construction, these are cameras made with care using high quality materials. My first thought when opening the box was that the camera really lived up to the hype.

Casa Pato - 1

As mentioned above, the camera is made of wood, and is held together with powerful magnets, which is not something I have seen before but works really well. The shutter also has a magnet to keep it closed, but this is a smaller one (out of necessity I guess) and I expect the shutter might open if I let the camera rattle around in my bag (I have a history of such errors). Within the camera there are small wooden blinds, which allow you to switch between standard 35mm format (24x36mm) to a panoramic format (24x72mm)…more of that later. The f-stop of the 135 panoramic camera is 125, which Ondu confirmed for me as the information is not currently on their website.

Loading the camera is a breeze, a reusable 35mm cassette is provided, and if you’re used to loading those then this is no different (Ondu also provide easy to follow instructions for this). Once the film cassettes are loaded, you simply drop the winding knobs on (again held in place with magnets) and snap on the film back (paying attention to the match the magnets on the body and back up).

Shooting with the Ondu is really simple, once you have metered (more on that below), you simply open the shutter for the required exposure time, and then close again once your exposure is finished. If you are using negative film with a wide exposure latitude you probably don’t need to meter accurately, but prefer to do so.

Castle parkour

Unlike some pinhole cameras there is no cable release. Winding on is also really simple, and Ondu provide recommendations on winding either normal or panoramic shots, which you will probably be able to modify with experience.

I’ve been pretty pleased with the results of this first roll, some of which are shown here. The camera is a delight to use, but there are some hints and tips I’d like to give, which will hopefully be useful:

  • The blinds: It is all too easy to forget to remove the blinds if you want to shoot panoramic format. I did this, and as a result had a lot of wasted film as I wound for panoramic but was shooting for standard. Perhaps in a future version of the camera there could be a place in the camera (at each end of the film chamber) for the blinds to be stored when shooting panoramic format, otherwise they could also be lost.
  • No cable release: This is not a problem for long exposures but for short exposures you could suffer some camera shake when opening/closing the shutter (as can be seen from some of these shots). This could be alleviated through mounting the camera on a decent tripod (which I did not do for this roll), rather than trying to hold the camera steady. Ultimately though, the best way to shoot short exposures would probably be to hold a dark hat, or something similar, in front of the shutter when opening/closing, and using that “Darkslide” as an improvised shutter.
  • Winding on: As a convenience, I’d use a piece of tape to mark the winding knob so you can count the number of turns for winding on. You might also want to mark the direction to turn the knob if you are concerned about winding the right way (I did it the wrong way at one point, with no ill results). If you want to be frugal with film you might also want to install an improvised clicker to count the number frames accurately. There should be some information on the internet if you want to do this, and if I do it I’ll post a little “How to”.

The Bandstand

Lumu light meter

Another product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Lumu light meter is an incident only meter designed to be used with proprietary apps. After receiving my Lumu, which is beautifully packaged with a leather case and a cord for wearing round your (red) neck (I did not do that!), I downloaded both apps (normal and pinhole) to my iPhone.

For this test, I used the pinhole app, and change the settings (easily accomplished) to f125 and ISO 100 (I was shooting Kodak Ektar). The Lumu then plugs into your headphone socket, and the app will prompt you to to ensure you set the volume to maximum. You then simply tap the screen the meter, using the meter as you would any other incident meter. One advantage of the Lumu is you can rotate the meter to suit what it is you wish to measure, whilst still being able to see the screen.

Casa Pato - 2

In general I’ve been happy with the Lumu in use, once I’d resolved one apparent problem, and the metering seems accurate enough for C41 film as was shot here. Some more detailed thoughts are:

  • The “Volume” thing: I found on a number of cases when first using the meter that the app seemed not to detect that the meter was plugged in and either would not measure or continually asked me to turn the volume up. Eventually I traced this (I think) to the fact that I tend to have my iPhone on silent mode and I had not switched that over. I’ll need to continue to test this, and will contact Lumu if I experience any more challenges (I’ve found them to be responsive so far during the Kickstarter campaign).
  • Reciprocity – or lack of: As a future upgrade to the app it would be great if reciprocity characteristics of common films were built in, or could at least be entered. This is a really important aspect of shooting pinhole as when the exposures are long you need to increase exposure time. For Kodak film this can mean doubling the exposure time, or more (see also my exposure guides for the Zero Image cameras). As it stands, I adjusted the exposure time myself for reciprocity, which worked perfectly but did mean I could not use the timer built into the app (or the facility to record each exposure, which is a great idea).
  • Speed of operation: I’ve actually found the Lumu to be fairly quick to use once it is set up and working well. It’s probably a little slower to use than some dedicated meters, although I think it would be equivalent to my Polaris (my go to meter). This is particularly the case if you keep the app running and the meter plugged in as all it takes is to unlock the screen of your phone to meter (at least in my experience). For me, I’m willing to sacrifice some speed for the convenience the Lumu offers.

Grapes Hill

Some final thoughts on Kickstarter

Its not been a bad experience funding these projects on Kickstarter, although I would stress the need for patience if you decide to fund something similar in the future. As you’ll see, in both cases the targets set by Ondu and Lumu were well exceeded, and whilst that is great news I guess it could present some challenges in scaling up to meet demand, which is turn could impact delivery times. This is something I’ll bear in mind when funding campaigns, but I’ll definitely be doing that again in the future. As with all things, do your research properly and evaluate the risks of any campaign before funding. If you get the right project though, you can end up with some excellent products at a decent price.

Norwich – A Pinholista’s Guide

The-Cow-Tower

Welcome to the first Pinholista city guide, and what better place to start than my home town of Norwich. Norwich is the county town of Norfolk, on the eastern side of the UK (the top of the bump), and is commonly known (at least to me) as the pride of Anglia! Norwich was once one of the most important towns in the UK, and the historical sites reflect that.

The Riverside

So, you’re visiting for the first time, what should you see?

The most recognisable landmark in the centre of the city is the castle, built by the Normans (on top of a huge mound) and later a Victorian gaol. The castle now houses a fine museum with many varied and interesting exhibits. You can visit the battlements and the dungeons, although exposure times down there would be a little extreme.

From the castle I’d then take a walk to the first of two cathedrals; head to Tombland and through one of the two gates and there you are. The Protestant cathedral is another Norman building and is a absolute beauty, the cloister is magnificent and you shouldn’t forget to look up to see the many bosses, including a depiction of the green man. Inside the cathedral is no less impressive and it’s worth spending some time to explore fully.

Once you’ve explored the cathedral, head down the close to the River Wensum and Pull’s Ferry yet another medieval building.  If you want to see the ferry from across the river then cross at the Bishop’s bridge, there’s a rather fine gasometer nearby as well. From here I’d then walk along the river (either side) to get a view of the Cow Tower, a medieval watch tower.

Talking of watch towers, as you walk around Norwich you will see the remains of the old city walls, some of the finest preserved in the UK, bizarrely the tourist office has very little information about them, which is a crying shame.  The city walls often appear in strange places, like by a 1970s car park, but the best place to view them is near Carrow Hill, sadly not on this walking route.

Harbercue at the Ten Bells

Back to the route (we’re at the Cow Tower remember) and continuing along the river until we hit Magdalen Street, and we’re almost back at the first cathedral. From here, go up Elm Hill, another medieval landmark, and then along St Benedict’s Street. At any point on St Benedict’s you can walk up the hill to the town centre through the Norwich Lanes, an area full of small boutiques and the like, which showcases the best of Norwich’s independent shopping. However, as we’re on St Benedict’s we’ll keep going until we meet Grapes Hill, and then walk up the hill to Upper St Giles. From here, it’s a short step over the footbridge to the Roman Catholic cathedral, behind which sits the magnificent Plantation Garden, with an ornate fountain and a really interesting story.

Once you had your fill of cathedral and garden it’s back over the footbridge to St Giles’ street and back to the centre of town. Once you hit the Guildhall, turn right to walk in front of City Hall (and it’s incredible lions) towards St Peter Mancroft and The Forum. You’ll be walking past the upper edge of the market at this point, with a great view to the castle. Once you hit The Forum, our short tour is done and you’ll be knackered.

So, here’s a little bit more about the shots I’ve shared! 

The main photo is of the Cow Tower, a spot I love and return to time and time again. Other spots shown (in this order) are the riverside, Harbercue at the Ten Bells, Elm Hill, the Dandy Horse, City Hall and St Peter Mancroft (double exposure with Magdalen Street).

Elm Hill

What’s the best part of town to stay in?

A tricky one this, Norwich seems to suffer from a lack of great hotels, although I have to admit that as a resident I may be unaware of them (so here’s a link to Trip Advisor). There is a Premier Inn on Duke Street which is close to the centre, and some great hotels on the outskirts and in the suburbs with some pretty swish facilities. There is also a hotel (Beeches) near the Plantation Garden, but it might be one to avoid unless you like “No frills”.  On St Giles’ Street, there is a boutique hotel (St Giles House) in a nice building. I can’t really give any definitive recommendations unfortunately, as I’ve not stayed in any of these places.

One thing I would say though is to avoid staying near Prince of Wales road, particularly at the weekend.  PoW is one of the big centres for clubbing and fighting in the east of England and probably best avoided for that reason.

Where should you eat and enjoy a refreshing beverage…are they camera friendly?

For a coffee I would go to one of three places, The Window, The Dandy Horse (both on or near Magdalen Street) or to Frank’s Bar on Bedford Street.  All serve excellent coffee, some food and have a great atmosphere. For a proper drink, you are in the right place. Norwich has a wealth of pubs and a long tradition of independent brewing.  For starters I’d go to the Sir Garnet in the town centre, one of the many Fat Cat pubs (all in the residential areas), or my personal favourite, the Duke of Wellington (a step away from town), which is well worth the walk.

The Dandy Horse

Food wise you’re also going to be spoilt for choice. One recent opening is Casa Pato, at the top of Elm Hill, a Spanish restaurant and cafe with well priced, simple, but really tasty food. Nearby there is also Torero, another Spanish restaurant. On Tombland you will find Shiki, a fantastic and well priced Japanese spot (go at lunch and get the Bento box).

If meat is more your thing, then look no further than Harbercue. Currently based at the Ten Bells on St Benedict’s, and only open at weekends, these boys smoke there own local meat and regularly have specials…the baked beans are worth the trip alone and you’ll also get a decent drink at the bar. Finally, over the other side of the city centre there is Baby Buddha Chinese Tea House, a favourite with the local Chinese community with a diverse menu including great noodles and dim sum.

Norwich’s dining scene moves on a lot in a short space of time so it’s always worth taking a chance and having a look around. I’ve never found a spot that isn’t photo friendly, but it would always be good manners to ask first before setting up and pinholing.

Tell us about a great local camera shop or shops! Can I easily get film and processing?

By far the most interesting shop is Phillip’s Camera’s on Fye Bridge Street, which is a proper old school secondhand camera store. They always have interesting stock, which tends to be competitively priced, and they have great knowledge. You can also get a small selection of film there as well. Also in Norwich, but outside of the city centre is WEX Photographic, which sells new and used stock, mainly digital but you can buy film and some darkroom chemicals.  Finally, there is a London Camera Exchange, which can have some good secondhand deals.

Sadly we’re less well blessed with processing, and I would tend to send my film away now. There are some high street chains but if you want high res scans or great quality I’d look elsewhere (which really saddens me).

City Hall

What about galleries? Are there any places showing photography, or even pinhole shots?

The Castle Museum has very occasional photography exhibitions, but is more famous for its collection of Norwich school painting, which is well worth a look. Another major gallery is the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, situated on the University campus with occasional photography exhibits and a fantastic ethnographic collection. The gallery at the Norwich University of the Arts can be pretty good, and I’d always take a look at the degree shows, which include a photography course. Many of the bars (such as Frank’s Bar) have occasional exhibitions as well. As with all things, you’ll probably spot things as you walk around.

Where should you head for to make an iconic pinhole image?

My favourite spot is the Cow Tower and most of the riverside really…and that’s where I would head as you can also get good views of the cathedral. Norwich is a city that bears exploration on foot so see where your feet take you and keep your eyes open!

What about day trips, if you’re heading out of town where should you go?

Norfolk is blessed with a beautiful coast so I’d get a train from Norwich and get off at either Cromer, West Runton or Sheringham and enjoy the seaside towns and the beach. If you ask at the station, you should be able to get a ticket that allows you to hop on and off. The other thing to do would be to head out into the Norfolk Broads, a National Park and a beautiful area of wetlands, small villages and good pubs. If you get a train to Wroxham you can then hop on to the Bure Valley railway, a narrow gauge enthusiast run train line, and hope off between Wroxham and Aylsham to get into the countryside and some great walks.

St Peter Mancroft

Is there a local group of pinhole photographers, and would I (or they) show a first time visitor around?

I’m not aware of any regular pinhole photographers in Norwich, but if you are out there please get in touch and I’ll update this to include you.  If you’re visiting Norwich, then do give me a shout and I can give you some tips and potentially show you around.

Before you visit, whose work should I check out?

As noted above, I’m not aware of other Norwich pinhole photographers but there is an active Norwich group on Flickr (not just pinhole), which is worth a look.

Any final tips for having a great time when you’re in town?

As I mentioned before, there is a wealth of excellent independent shops in the Norwich Lanes so I’d spend some time wandering around the lanes and checking out the shops. It’s also worth wandering around the market, which is open 6 days a week (maybe even 7 in the case of some stalls), and checking out the food stalls.  Finally, you really need to check out the buskers, some are a treat and well worth chucking a few coins down for.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide to Norwich, all of the places mentioned are marked on the map (you’ll need to select the “Norwich in detail” option to show the individual spots.

Jeff Soderquist

Brave-Horse-Tavern

Another week, and another contribution on Pinholista from a fabulous pinhole photographer. This week I’m really delighted to welcome Jeff Soderquist. For many of you Jeff will require no introduction, he’s a passionate and creative photographer and I’m sure you’ll enjoy his work as much as I do.

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

My name is Jeff Soderquist. I live in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Tell us a little about the type of pinhole photography you enjoy.

I consider myself a very conventional pinhole photographer, if there is such a thing. Early on I approached pinhole photography attempting to create images with that ‘pinhole look’. Camera on the ground, subjects placed close to the pinhole to extenuate the elongated scene, long exposures with movement, all your general pinhole clichés. The resulting images weren’t bad; they just didn’t have any real feel to them. I was chasing an idea of what I thought others perceived pinhole photography to be, rather than exploring my creative side.

Eventually I got over that phase, learning to approach pinhole photography no different than if I had a more conventional camera in my hand. Composing my shot, metering the scene and tripping the shutter with the goal of making the best photo possible. That’s not to say I no longer try to incorporate the elements that make pinhole images unique in my work, it’s just not a priority anymore. Now, I use the pinhole camera if I believe it will give me the best chance to capture the scene unfolding in front of me. It’s a tool in my photographic arsenal, a powerful one at that, but not one I use to get any one specific look.

Perhaps this answer is dancing around the question of what type of pinhole photography I enjoy, but it’s honestly how I go about approaching my craft. Admin’s note, I think this is a great explanation of how Jeff’s work and practice has developed. Honestly, its a very similar story to my own. I guess that, like the exposures themselves, pinhole photography develops over a long time in most people as the possibilities become apparent.

As for film formats and types, I shoot a healthy amount of both color and black and white primarily in medium format, though I work in the occasional large format exposure. My favourite film stocks are Kodak Ektar 100 and Fuji Acros 100. I’ve recently started developing black and white at home in Rodinal, and am rather enjoying it but still feel very green about the whole endeavour. Practice makes perfect, right?

Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual? 

As I stated in the previous question, I’m pretty by the book as far as pinhole photography goes. No anamorphic, solargraph, blends or instant pinhole photography for me. Not yet anyway. Admin’s note…time to experiment J!

I do however like to take the long exposures to the extreme, often stretching them for several hours. My longest exposure to date is 9 hours. I’m not sure if that classifies as unusual in the pinhole community, but it often requires me to stay close by and protect the camera for prolonged periods of time. I’ve spooked myself more than once out on a trail alone as a result.

The Frontier Room

Do you use off the shelf cameras, home-made or a mix?

All of my pinhole cameras are off the shelf. I own a Zero Image 2000 (6×6), 4×5 Leonardo, and an Ilford Camera Obscura (which I’ve actually yet to shoot with). I’ve also worked with a Holga WPC in the past, but have since gifted it to fellow pinhole photographer.

Last year for WPPD, I did make a home-made 35mm matchbox pinhole camera. Sadly my poor craftsmanship resulted in exposures that were less than exciting. I do have aspirations to build a wooden 4×5 pinhole camera, as well as attempt a solargraph in the future. Just need to stop procrastinating and get to it.

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

My Zero Image 2000. Although I own a couple other pinhole cameras, rarely do they make it into my camera bag. The Zero’s compact, lightweight and tank-like build makes it easy to take with you everywhere, including fitting it in nooks and crannies more conventional cameras could on dream of. Plus, I love the simplicity of 6×6 square format negatives. No need to spend extra time deciding if I should capture something in landscape or portrait format.

I know it’s not a pinhole camera, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention my Hasselblad 500c. After years of lusting after it, I was finally able to save up enough nickels and dimes to purchase one last year. Collecting cameras and gear has never been a main focus of my photography, and I’m be more than comfortable with the Hasseblad 500c and Zero Image being my go-to photographic combination.

How long have you shot pinhole?

Just shy of three years. I took my first pinhole exposure on April 4th, 2011, a 40 second exposure of the Seattle Central Library’s atrium.

Autumn's Fire Burns Slow

When did you start shooting pinhole and why?

At the time I purchased my first pinhole camera in 2011, I was in the middle of a creative funk. Having grown bored and discouraged by the constant arms race and postproduction nature of digital photography, I was looking for a change. Admin’s note, again this sounds like a very familiar story.

Film still seemed very foreign to me back then, something only pros and old timers used. Sure I shot film as a kid, but I never really gave it much thought. I simply pointed the camera, hit the shutter, and off to the drugstore the film went for processing and prints. Never, did I think I would turn to it as a creative outlet, certainly not in the age of iPads and camera phones. But, that’s of course a cliché story told countless times before.

Honestly, I owe a great deal of thanks to handful of pinhole photographers on Flickr who indirectly inspired me to try pinhole photography. Chief among them are two Portland, Oregon, USA based photographers Zeb Andrews, and Danielle Hughson. Their landscape images mesmerized me with their soft tones, dreamy colors and elongated scenes. They possessed both a sharpness and painting like quality unlike anything I’d ever seen photographically. I simply had to try creating these types of images, myself. So I went online and bought a Zero Image 2000, and fell in love with it from day one.

You’ve given us a few images to share, tell us about them. 

The first two images Brave Horse Tavern and The Frontier Room are part of my Pinhole’d Breweries and Pubs series. They showcase my interest in capturing a prolonged period of time in a single exposure. The world looks drastically different, yet strangely familiar at the same time when you slow it down and I’ve found no better place to explore this than in dimly lit bars and restaurants. Admin’s note, Brave Horse Tavern is the main image for the this post, all other images are posted in order. I’m trying to make this easy for you!

The second set of images A Conversation With The Mountain and Autumn’s Fire Burns Slow are selections from ongoing Trees series. The fist was created on an exceptionally cloudy day at Artist Point atop Mount Baker in Washington State. Utilizing the pinholes slow exposures I was able to capture the feel of the moment, just me alone on the mountain lost in thought. The second image was created in the much more urban setting of the beautifully manicured Japanese Gardens in Seattle. To get this shot I had to push my wooden box camera through a thick hedge, and placed it on the ground and waited for the magic to unfold. What I love most about this image is that for how often these gardens are photographed I feel quite confident this image stands unique among them, as more conventional cameras just couldn’t fit in this tight spot.

The last sets of images Latourell Falls and Nine Hours Till Dawn are examples of how I try to capture movement in my photographs. While capturing a waterfall is one of the more obvious ways to capture movement, I wanted to share this image because its soft dream like quality and deeply rich green tones are absolutely stunning. I can’t help but loose myself in this image. If the waterfall shot seems conventional, the image of the Mount Bachelor with the tractor beam above it certainly isn’t. This is a nine-hour exposure of the moon’s path over the course of the night. And while I knew the moon would rise over the mountain during the shot, I had no way of knowing it would take such a straight path. Its easily one of my favourite photographs I’ve ever made. Admin’s note, easily one of my favourites as well, if you didn’t know it was a pinhole shot of the moon I’m not sure what you would make of it.

A Conversation With The Mountain

Do you shoot individual images or do you work within themes or on projects?

Both. I have a handful of ongoing series I’m constantly working on, but also mix in a healthy amount of stand-alone images between them. Series wise, I have 3 ongoing projects featuring trees, breweries/pubs and movement.

As an outdoor enthusiast a great deal of my photography is landscape based. Naturally I’ve become drawn to the vast and diverse old growth forests, which populate the trails of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. A hike isn’t always about the destination view or waterfall at trails end, often the highlight is the required walk through the ancient forests to get there. It is there among the hundred year old, sometimes thousands of years old trees that I am most inspired. Of course trees live and prosper in urban settings as well and I’m constantly trying to capture their inspiring presence through my photography as well. Every #treetuesday I share one of my tree images on my Twitter account @jsodphotography.

Beyond the trail, you can often find me in a local brewery or pub enjoying a beer with friends. As luck would have it, I live in one of the most beer-crazed regions of the world so there is no shortage of locations to choose from. About the same time I delved into pinhole photography I began photography these various establishments. The series focuses around capturing beer, it’s culture, and the environment surrounding it. Often I find myself contending with less than favourable lighting conditions, resulting in exposure times well over an hour long. No complaints here though, in those instances I simply find a safe place for my pinhole camera, trip the shutter and sit back and enjoy a few beers with friends. Not until the bill arrives do I end the exposure. Admin’s note, this is one of the best way to measure exposure times, f135 and as long as it takes to finish a few beverages.

Movement is more of an ongoing theme than a series. With no real defined direction or goal I’m able to find photographic subjects almost anywhere, from a pier swayed by the tied to the movement of spectators in the stands of a sporting event. More often than not, I’m able to incorporate movement into my other ongoing series.

Latourell Falls

Have you ever exhibited your work?

Yes. I had the pleasure of exhibiting several pinhole images at a local Seattle brewery, Elsyian Brewing Company last December. I’ve also exhibited a handful of images as a part of various Glazer’s Camera pinhole and toy camera contests.

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

Being limited to a single pinhole photographer is a challenge as I’ve come to follow and know so many talented individuals over the years. But, if forced to choose one allow me to heap praise towards the work of Wheehamx.

I haven’t had much interaction with Wheehamx, aside from a comment here or there on Flickr, but I’ve marvelled over his pinhole creations for quite some time. Not content to settle with the more conventional forms of pinhole photography, he dabbles in a bit of everything, including anamorphic, multi-pinhole images, instant, and even a remote controlled pinhole. Yes, you read that correctly a remote controlled pinhole. As far as I know he is the only person out there (feel free to correct me on this if I’m wrong) using a remote triggered shutter on a pinhole camera. It has allowed him to create some stunning self-portraits. Admin’s note, I’m lucky enough to own a Wheehamcam, in my case an 8×10 beast that I don’t use anywhere near as much as I should. Howard is a genius and will, I hope, be featured on Pinholista at some point in the future.

Not only that he is a workhorse constantly posting new images, they are consistently stunning. I urge you to take some time and meander through his Flickr photostream, particularly his set titled Relative Movement (LINK). Within the set you’ll see a handful of images of an individual holding various tools that are hands down some of the best pinhole photographs I’ve ever seen.

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

Yes. These days I’m proud to say I shoot 98% film, the other 2% being produced by my iPhone. Though, I’ll admit I’m considering purchasing one of the retro styled Fuji digital cameras in the not so distant future.

I mentioned above that I’m not much for collecting cameras and photography gear. My camera kit beyond pinhole cameras proves it. It might be small but I’m rather rather fond of it:

  • Hasselblad 500C
  • Pentax K1000
  • Canonet QL17 G-III
  • Holga 120N

Nine Hours 'till Dawn

Assuming you do shoot other styles, do you prefer pinhole and if so, why?

Tough question, I really enjoy shooting with my Hasselblad and to a lesser extent my Pentax K1000. That being said, the majority of my photographic work the past three years has been produced with a pinhole camera. Do I enjoy one style over another? No. I tend to enjoy photography, at least film photography, roughly the same level across the board.

Truth is though, I feel more comfortable creating images with my Zero Image 2000 than any other camera. So perhaps the proof is in the pudding?

Finally, where can people see your work, do you have a website?

My website is Jsodphotography.com. You can also find me on Flickr and @jsodphotography on Twitter.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your work with pinholista.com.

My thanks to Jeff for introducing his work, which I hope you all enjoyed. All works are copyright of Jeff Soderquist,  please respect this or I shall send round the clowns!