Week 17: Pushchairs and Pinholes by Jacqui Booth

Future me is going to be awfully confused. I’m behind with this but I’ve decided it’s best not to be too precious.  The motto for this year has been DO DO DO.  I’ve yet to achieve a balance, but balance is dull, so let’s just do it.

This film was started some time ago and I ended up with four frames that just needed to be shot so I could see the first two. Which didn’t turn out.  Fairies are notoriously difficult to capture ;)*

So, I headed out one Friday with the following:

Holga Wide Pinhole Camera
Sun hat
Change bag
Sippy cup of water
Beetroot and lettuce seedlings (sensible purchase planning is not my strong point)

It’s a bloody good job I’m not too self conscious these days.  Wandering round with the camera stuck on the tripod whilst talking at length to said baby niece about the terrible habits of mallard drakes is bound to make a person a little conspicuous.  We also got a bit of counting practice in as I wildly estimated the exposure times.  Then she fell asleep so I was left talking to myself.

Anyway, honouring the ‘starting at the doorstep out’ approach I adopted at the beginning of all this, here’s more of Watermead Park, about 15 mins from my house.  To say it’s picturesque may be pushing it, but it looks slightly less like a horror movie location.  I hope you hate the third photo as much as I do.


*Taking photos in a dark tunnel is not advisable with a pinhole, unless you have all day.  It’s a bit sad as they were of me and a couple of mates, but hey ho and all that.

Technical Shit:

Ilford FP4 ISO125
Ilfotech HC1+31 8mins at 20°
An increasingly cavalier attititude to chemical management and timings.

52 Rolls Week 13: Holga Wide Pinhole Camera. Cornwall by Jacqui Booth

Alright, this is chronologically wrong, but what the heck.  April has been mental, to say the least.  This last week has been rather wonderful photographically, give or take Week 12’s disaster.

As I mentioned, I spent three nights at the Eden Project as a participant on the Big Lunch Extras course for people who do astounding stuff in their communities.  It was pretty intense and I responded to the challenge sensibly by having six whole hours sleep on the first night.  I followed this up with two nights of five hours kip.  What do you know – these were nice people to be around.  BUT despite being so tired that I was more or less mute until lunchtime on World Pinhole Day, I managed to get a few seconds out of the hectic schedule to snap the iconic biomes.

Below is part of our small regional group, on the way to another workshop.  There were sixty of us in all, from all around the UK.  The loon in the middle is my mate Lisa Pidgeon, who, when she’s not sticking her bum in the air, is the brains behind Little Bird SOS – who we were working hard for all weekend.  Well, in the daytime at least

And then it was time for us all to make our way home.  Except I sort of didn’t.  After travelling so far the draw of a day’s camera play was just too much, and after so pathetically thankfully being allowed early access to my Premier Inn room in St Austell and a couple of hours dozing whilst the sea winked at me from outside my window, I headed out for a walk along the coast.  THEN I SLEPT.  The next morning I stuffed some Eden Project chocolate into my gob and headed out behind the hotel, followed the fence until I found a me-sized hole and hopped into this quarry.  Though I did make my way all the way down into it, this is taken from the lip of the quarry using a travel sized two legged tripod that for some reason I still have, like its broken leg is going to miraculously heal or something…

So, this is what happens when you use your own knees as a tripod, whilst trying not to slip over the edge and sort of hide from the quarry landrover.

And, thank f**k, they more or less worked!

Massive massive thanks goes to Tony S who got in touch after reading Week 11 and gave me a beautiful Agfa Isolette and the stonking Holga Wide Pinhole Camera that was used for this post.  I really appeciate this and am very much looking forward to not messing up the next Agfa film…

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
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.

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