This past Sunday was Worldwide Pinhole Day, a day where thousands of pinhole photography enthusiasts take a picture and upload it to the Worldwide Pinhole Day website. Since I will be offering a Pinhole Workshop on June I decided to use what my students will be using, Harman Direct Positive Paper. I have a love-hate relationship with this paper, but the good part is that after building cameras the students will be able to use this paper to make their own prints without having darkroom experience.
A while back on Lake Kittamaqundi it was decided to offer paddle boats to travel on the lake and I have always felt that the decision to make these in the shapes of swans and dragons to be rather bizarre. What better use can be made of them than to take a long exposure pinhole image? The Harman paper is like regular photographic paper in the respect that it is slow – probably in the ISO 2 range. This means that on an overcast day the exposure time is in the four minute range. I asked the woman working the dock if I could get some pictures of the paddle boats and was given permission – I am sure she thought I would be there one or two minutes, but I stood for about half an hour making paper and film exposures.
Photographic paper is thicker than film, and after exposing one of the sheets I did not realize that after inserting the dark slide back into its holder, the slide did not go into its intended slot, but slide outside of it. When I removed the holder from the camera, one end of the paper was fully exposed to the light. I had carried my film holders in a black plastic bag that had previously held photographic paper, so I tossed the holder in there, as properly positioning the dark slide would require opening the slide further.
In the darkroom I removed the paper from the holder and dropped it into the Dektol, allowing the paper to develop. The results were expected in the regard that there was a problem with the over exposed side, but unexpected in the respect that I had actual solarisation. I have intentionally used the Sabattier effect when making prints in the past, but this was the first time I had encountered it during the course of exposing a scene. This is something that needs to be explored a bit more fully. My plans are to expand my Pinhole Workshop into a class in the future, and if I can find a way replicate this in a controlled manner then it will definitely become part of the course syllabus.