Photo Exploration | Wallpaper: Pinhole and Marcos

This week has tak­en a lit­tle longer to pub­lish, but it has tak­en more time to put togeth­er a mixed Wall­pa­per and Explo­ration post.

I have recent­ly become mild­ly obsessed with pin­hole pho­tog­ra­phy, per­haps want­i­ng to have a bridge from the low-fi repro­duc­tion with the tech­ni­cal know-how to cre­ate viable pin­hole works. That said, I don’t always suc­ceed in my own efforts. It is impor­tant to remem­ber when shoot­ing film what film you actu­al­ly have in the cam­era. Oth­er­wise you end up shoot­ing Supe­ria X‑Tra 400 speed film at 1600, think­ing you can just devel­op it your­self at 1600. But then you open the cam­era back and whoops — it’s col­or, and get­ting a lab to push C‑41 is a bit of a pain. So what you get instead is just 2 full stops of under­ex­posed images on film stock that real­ly does­n’t tol­er­ate under­ex­po­sure in the best of cir­cum­stances. Throw in the pin­hole lens and we’ve got a mess.

All that said, with the right expec­ta­tions, a black and white con­ver­sion, patience in pro­cess­ing and a lit­tle luck, you can still get a work­able image. Or at least, the kind of a work­able image that can be part of a final product.

So that’s how we got the base layer.

Regard­ing the trees, there was a real­ly fog­gy morn­ing last week. I woke up, grabbed a dig­i­tal cam­era (5dmk2 with 24–70mm) and ran out­side to get some of the trees before the fog start­ed to burn away. That’s a key thing I’ve learned about fog — if it looks good, pho­to­graph then and there. Don’t wait — the sun will rise and the vapors will lift remark­ably quick­ly. It’s the morn­ing ver­sion of the sil­ver hour at twi­light — gone before you notice.

I did­n’t have much of a plan for the pho­tos, but I des­per­ate­ly want­ed to doc­u­ment the images. Once I opened up the files I thought, “hey — not bad — maybe…wait.…maybe they could be.…yes!”

I gen­er­al­ly am not keen on lay­er­ing, and even less com­bin­ing dig­i­tal and film, but for this image I could not resist.

Pin­hole, Trees and Marcos

So, to get this image I loaded the pin­hole in Pho­to­shop and took the trees as a sec­ond lay­er. By using the Col­or Dodge blend, I could keep enough detail of both lay­ers. Oth­er rea­son­able results were found using the Lin­ear Dodge and Over­lay modes, but the Col­or Dodge was best from what I could get. I left a large amount of the resid­ual muck from scan­ning intact. My scan­ner was pret­ty dirty and I did­n’t notice until after I had scanned a few images, but I liked the look and left it there.

All told, I don’t know what this image is say­ing. I like the light, the fig­ure with the hat, the trees and all of it put togeth­er. Some­times some­thing that works for me just works for me and that’s that. Pre­scrib­ing a mean­ing to it isn’t nec­es­sary. That said, if you have an inter­pre­ta­tion please share it with me!