Friday, June 12, 2009
So, from what I understand, here is how it works: Take a box to use as your pinhole camera, seal all the edges with black tape to ensure that no light will come in. Cut out a small square in the front of the box. Take a small square of flat metal that is flexible, like aluminum, and make a very tiny hole using a needle. Ms. Cotty uses accupuncture needles. Sandpaper the rough edges of the hole and clean it out with the needle to make sure the edges are perfect, then measure the hole (you'll need a magnifier of some sort) and write what part of a millimeter it is (i. e. '.4'). seal the metal square into the hole with black tape. Take your camera into the darkroom to 'load' it with photo paper, then seal the top with more tape, so that now the only entry point for light will be the tiny hole. Put a piece of tape over the hole before leaving the dark room, but leave a folded edge to grab, since this is your shutter. Depending on the weather and the size of your hole, the exposure time will vary tremendously. Don't even ask me about the complicated math that is involved here...consult a chart. It's important to keep the camera still, in fact, if you hold it while exposing the film, the slight movements of your body will make it fuzzy, so just place it on the ground or on a level place facing your subject. It will give quite peripheral view, so stand behind it. Pull the shutter and time your exposure to whatever time you have determined. Is this where F-stops come in? I've no idea, but it sounds good. Close the shutter, and run immediately to the dark room. No, you needn't do that, but that's how I felt...like I had a present on Christmas morning (that I couldn't open unless I was in the bathroom with the lights off....maybe a glow-in-the-dark present?) So, then you've got the baths. You heard me. You've gotta bathe your picture, not once, but four times. The first bath is to expose the image, the second I'm not sure, but it is water and vinegar and I think just sort of rinses it a bit, and the third fixes the image, while the last cleans it. Then! You can turn on the lights, but it needs one more bath in fresh water. Then you hang it to dry. Now, you're thinking....Wow! that's a lot of work to get a photo. Guess what? You're STILL NOT DONE! You have a negative. Now you've got to make a positive. Go back into the dark room with your dry negative. Place it in a frame next to another piece of photo paper and expose to what I'll call the 'positive light machine'. We exposed it to this light for 8 seconds, but it depends the negative. Don't ask, again, I've no idea. Then back to the baths. I'm telling you, these are the cleanest babies ever. After the four baths and then the clean water rinse. NOW, you have your photo!! Our 8th grader, Lance is way into this process. He was Ms. Cotty's assistant, staying late after school, coming early. He helped Mr. Finn and myself develop ours and they came out great. Future photographer in the making. Here's a photo of the negatives hanging to dry...more to come!