Friday, June 24, 2011

Solargraph results

YES the results are in. And I am really happy with them. I wanted to do this for so long and I am glad I was able to leave all of the cams alone for the full 6 months. I checked up on some once in a while and of the 10 cams I hung, 9 returned home. Only one got lost. 90% succes rate is pretty good for a first try.

This project made me learn a lot of things about film and pinholes in general.

- I need to use gloves next time when I put the film in.
O well, it does not really matter since this is all so lo-fi. A finger print here and there actually adds some character right?

- Not all photo paper is created equally.
I used three types of paper. If I recall correctly it was Ilford Resin Coated Multigrade IV, Ilford Fiber Based Multigrade and Kodak Fiber Based graded. The Ilford RC is the most stable of the three. Even after scanning, the image is there. The Kodak paper produced the most red results of the three. BUT is still very sensitive to light, even after 6 months. Kodak paper produces the most detail as well.
All the photo paper was expired by YEARS. But was still perfect for this project! I think in some shots you can actually see the silver grains popping through. I think those are the jagged edged little things that look like frost crystals. OR it could be frost crystals. Hell I don't know.

- Dust bunnies anyone?
It is impossible to keep dust out of these cams. Even whipping them down with a 'swiffer' cloth before putting in the paper did not help.

- Some cams worked better then others.
Definitely the square and round cans worked best. Long boxes work both did not produce the result I hoped for. But either way I have some weird looking stuff and that's what I was after.

- Aim the cameras a little better.
For sure next time I have to hang them up using a compass. Aiming them a bit angled upward and due south. That will give the best results.

All in all, this is a cool way to introduce your family to a cheap DIY photo project that incorporates science, astronomy, weather and photography. Awesome for the kids don't you think?

Solargraphs - Images by Olivier Du Tre


  1. Hi Olivier, This is a great post and very interesting. I love the results you got.
    Awesome post thankyou for sharing. Regards Coral.

  2. Great work! I'm following your blog for a while now, and I remember when you announced this project.Time sure flies, and I'm happy you got some interesting results. I did make my first such pinhole (from a beer can) just couple days ago, but I don't believe I will wait so long as you did. Anyway, how did you get color from paper? Was it color paper or is it result of post processing :)
    Greetings, Filip.

  3. Thanks guys.
    @ Filip. Awesome to see you're taking this on yourself! You'll have so much fun.
    The colour is produced in the post processing. When you open the cams up you will notice that your paper shifted colour. Essentially you got a paper colour negative. Scan it in and invert the colours. My Kodak paper had a red'ish tint to it (that's why it is slightly purpler then the other shots). My test showed me to stay away from RC paper. It is a little too shinny. Get FB based paper! And if you can graded and not MultiGrade. That works best!
    Good Luck! And don't be too shy to share the results and let me know!

  4. Thank you for info and support! My first try was complete fiasco. I used Efke multigrade paper, but since I was puting the paper in to the can under the blanket in my room, I put wrong side of the paper in front of the pinhole, so... :) This time I went to the dark room and put the paper into the can under red light so now it should be OK. I'll let you know how it turned out.