Monochrome Film Pinhole

A Moment in Motion.

This black and white photograph of South Falls at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon, was taken with an old 120mm film box camera converted to pinhole on a cold and blustery November day.

Just imagine the deafening roar of rain swollen Silver Creek plunging headlong over the cliff into the deep pool below…

The frothing spray coming off the falls made it necessary to hold an umbrella over the camera for the duration of the various exposures which averaged about 8 seconds, and by the time the photo expedition was over we were thoroughly cold and damp and most ready for hot chocolate and coffee around the fire.

It’s an interesting technique, this pinhole, and I should do more of it. Certainly not great for detail, but exposing the film directly to the elements does seem to capture a certain something, an impression if you will.

South Falls Pinhole 1 by Richard Gessford

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8 Responses to Monochrome Film Pinhole

  1. Are you saying you used film and printed it, then scanned it to get this on a digital delivery? I’m intrigued to know someone might still be using film and a darkroom.

    • This image was captured on black and white film but I was too lazy to develop it myself. I had it commercially processed and the negatives were scanned to disc. However, I’m not too sure about the quality of the scan. One of these days I’ll have to set up the dark room and enlarger and see if I can produce a better image from the negative… and I’m fairly certain I can.

      Because it’s more forgiving, film really works best for the technique but it’s such a hassle to process. I have also used photographic paper inside old cameras, in place of film, to produce negatives and, while it’s much easier to process, it’s much less forgiving when it comes to exposure and is much higher in contrast.

      • Thanks for the details. I like how you’re exploring different uses for the old and new equipment. I have nearly 2000 big negatives form 1913-1926 but haven’t set up my dark room for years. I was wondering if there is a way to scan them and use them digitally, but your respsonse goes along with my thinking that the quality would be lost. I like your big fish photo. 🙂

      • I bet you’d get some good scans from those negatives.

      • I’ll try a few. I can reverse them in CS4 using the “negative” adjustment maybe. If i make a negative a negative it should look like a positive.

      • It that like saying two wrongs make a right? LOL! FWIW, In my version of Photoshop Elements the process to turn a negative into a positive is called “invert”. Filter -> Adjustments -> Invert.

      • Thanks! I’ll give it a try.

  2. They didn’t have enlargers back then so they made contact prints with those big negatives. Once enlargers became common, cameras (and negatives) got a lot smaller. I’m sure you can get some decent scans and then “invert” the negatives to positives in Photoshop, but the old school method would be making contact prints.

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