Saturday, June 3, 2017

Another Ondu Pinhole

This is one of the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD) images that I didn’t submit to the WPPD Gallery this year but in many ways I actually like this one better than the one I did submit. I was shooting a long (16 second) exposure on Kodak Portra 400 with my new Ondu 35mm Pocket Pinhole camera but I couldn’t get the red birdhouse in the foreground to stay still. The birdhouse hangs on a stainless steel cable from a tree limb and was facing away. When I turned it so that it was facing the way I wanted it to face it would slowly turn back around.

I decided the next best thing to actually having the birdhouse facing the way I wanted was to have it turn and thereby “blur out” during the exposure so I rotated it around so that it made a complete 360 degree turn during the 16 second exposure and the image above is what was captured in my little wooden box.

In spite of my misgivings about the shutter the Ondu really is a beautifully crafted camera. The wood it is made out of was clearly carefully selected and finished to produce a work of art. I love wood and love working with wood and I appreciate that the fit and finish on the Ondu is some of the finest work I have seen on something made of wood.

I will probably continue to use it just because of the pleasure derived from handling such a beautiful well made camera.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

WPPD 2017 & The Ondu

Well its Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD) time again! Actually WPPD was on April 30th this year but I just got my film & scans back, picked out the one I wanted to post to the WPPD website and got it uploaded. The image shown above is the one I selected. It is an 8 second exposure on Kodak Portra 400 shot with the new Ondu 35mm Pocket Pinhole acquired last year through their most recent Kickstarter campaign.

It is a delightful compact little camera hand crafted from the most beautiful wood. This was the very first roll of film I put through it and was generally pleased with the results. My biggest complaint is the shutter. This is basically just a piece of wood that pivots up and down across the pinhole and works fine except it is very easy to not get it open all the way or to get your hand and fingers in the way when opening and closing. For longer exposures this is not a big deal but for short exposures it can create a brown blur at the periphery of the image. Here’s a picture of Ondu.
In the future I will use this camera with slower film and/or select compositions that require longer exposures so that I can take the time to make sure the shutter is completely open. Anything longer than 10 seconds should be fine for this strategy. That way even if the shutter arm is in the way briefly it will not affect the image.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Magic of Photographs!

I know its been a while since I posted anything here but I have been so busy with so many things the past several months and so much has happened in my life as well the world of photography.

In the world of photography the mighty Holga met its demise as we learned last year that production was being discontinued only to find out in the last week that its back in production again with new deliveries expected at Freestyle Photographic Supplies sometime in June. Ferrannia moves towards shipping its new black and white film while continuing work on getting its color slide film ready for market later this year. Kodak Alaris also announced that it is reintroducing Ektachrome slide film as the phenomenal film industry continues to surprise everyone with its refusal to concede to digital and die.

On the personal front we had “The Great Flood of August 2016” that affected thousand in South Louisiana including us. No we didn’t flood, but my daughter and her family did. My brother-in-law and his family flooded also and since our home was spared we were blessed to be able to provide shelter for both of them a time.

With so many friends and family flooded and displaced along with the usual ups and downs of life there really hasn’t been much time for photography other than the never ending and ever increasing collection of family photos for birthdays and holiday gatherings that are so important to those participating but not so much for blog readers; which leads me to the photo above.

Even mundane family photographs can take on special significance after a half century or under just the right circumstances. The photo above is of “yours truly” at Mardi Gras in New Orleans with my Dad back in about 1956 when I was 4 or 5 years old. If you know anything about Mardi Gras you will understand that this is street photography at its best. The New Orleans Mardi Gras frequently draws nearly a million people out into the streets in and around the area for a two week long street party focused around parades and other events. Of course in 1956 it was a smaller party but so was everything else, including me and the city itself.

This photograph was undoubtedly taken by my mother (notice she’s not in the picture) using her Kodak Brownie Target Six-20 box camera loaded with whatever black and white film was in vogue at the time. This beautiful camera produced many of my childhood pictures in a striking 6x9 format negative that required little if any enlargement. I recently acquired one of these fine old cameras and used it to produce the photo featured in my last blog post. That photo of my son, his wife and my grandson shows the quality image that these fine old cameras are capable of, especially when used with modern film.

 I actually thought this photo of me so many years ago had been lost forever after Hurricane Katrina destroyed our home in 2005, only to discover my sister had a copy in one of her photo albums which I was able to scan. Even though the quality of the original image was not that great and of course this is a scan of a fifty-something year old photograph that time has not been kind to, the image is still magical for me. And that’s what photography is really all about isn’t it?