52 Rolls - Week 4: Pinhole Photography: What can go wrong will go wrong by Jacqui Booth

Well, this week was equisitely frustrating.  Of course I haven’t done my tax return early again and I also had a child at the end of the tax year, so come the end of January I’m usually a smidge stressed to say the least.  So I decided to do something simple this week.  How wrong I was…in fact, even now I’m considering tidying a bit more of my filthy office instead of writing this up.  Things are bad.

First of all I made a REALLY stupid mistake.  ‘Use of one your ready made tin can thingies’, him indoors said.  Turns out that I took this too literally and tried to expose a solargraph in waiting.  Of course, I hadn’t loaded this in the darkroom and so the first attempt hit the chemicals and went BLACK.

So, back to plan A, except I couldn’t poke a hole in my coffee tin.  A tiny drill has now been ordered and is in the post.

BUT I still have a bag of empty beer cans (who doesn’t?) so a couple were taken into the dark room where I spent ages trying to find the end of the black gaffer tape in the dark.  By now, the daylight was already fading.

So – a couple of things were tried.  Hilariously (in retrospect they will become so, surely?) I nearly knobbled one by throwing it in the stop before the dev.  Next time, the first tray really needs to be white and not red which causes it to disappear in the dark of the garage floor.  Then, my son – who ignores me normally – BURST into the garage through the fire door.  Ace.

Still, a couple of pics did turn out.

The next day, despite having a billion other things to do, I tried again.  As I knelt on the floor in the gloom once again, I realised that the house mamil would need his bike.  I kept the cans upside down with the paper inside whilst I grappled with tape just in case.  It wasn’t enough.  The garage door opened and on development I found that another bit of paper was BLACK. One was okay…

Still, I found more ways to make things go wrong.  The next bit of paper was hastily stuffed in glossy side out.  Dammit.

Eventually, I got a couple of pictures I was happy with.  During this I heard dogs barking and the inlaws had turned up to drop off gifts, then the phone went and a gentleman from a call centre far far away got a few words of…umm…advice.

Final negatives were enhanced by handling post greasy Chinese takeaway.  My Dad asked me why I was doing this, and I really couldn’t give a good answer.

Technical shit:
Exposure times.  Mad guesses centred around this http://www.lilblueboo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/exposuretimes1.jpg
Dev: 2 mins
Stop: 30 seconds
Fix: 2 mins

Dried on a line – and the radiator which was a further mistake that made them go all curly.

Oh – then I left the sewing machine out in torrential rain…*

So, pinhole photography?  Just DON’T GO THERE!  Well, not again in a hurry.

*Dear Karen – the sewing machine has its cover on and seems unscathed.

This blog was first published on 52rolls.net