Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pinhole! 4x5 Pinhole Shots From Manassas Battlefield, US Civil War

I wrote recently that the announcement of new pinhole cameras from Ilfor inspired me to get out and shoot mine.
 
(Click Here) to read about the new Ilford Pinhole camera.
 
My pinhole camera looks very much like this one (Click Here), available from Freestyle. It uses standard 4x5 film backs, which is great (the new Ilford model does not). This means that I can carry multiple shots with me easily, without the need to reload in the field in a dark bag.
 
A couple of days ago, I took my out to Manassas Battlefield, here in Northern Virginia. I took six exposures, and will share five in this post (the sixth was an alternate exposure of one of the other scenes).
 
Let's start with Thornton House, as Sudley Ford, at the north end of the battlefield. This house was in the direct approach path of Union soldiers as they crossed the river at Sudley Ford to advance on rebel troops in Manassas. It was also the site of the Union's bloody, beaten defeat, and served as a field hospital where many limbs and lives met their end. Here's a view of it today:
 
Thornton House, by Reed A. George
4x5 Pinhole Camera, iso 100 Film
 
I found a shot of Thornton House at the time of the civil war online. (Click Here) to see how it used to look.
 
Here's a shot of an old barn that I encountered on my drive. I cropped it to get rid of ugly pure white sky.
 
Barn, by Reed A. George
4x5 Pinhole Camera, iso 100 Film
 
The remaining shots were taken at the river crossing at Sudley Ford. This is a somber place for me. When I'm standing there, I can imagine the excitement of the tens of thousands of soldiers as they pound across the river to go fight for their country. I can also imagine their fear, shock, and pain as they retreat back across, having witnessed some of the most brutal warfare humans have ever experienced. It's quiet there now. I prefer it that way.
 
Sudley Ford #1, by Reed A. George
4x5 Pinhole Camera, iso 100 Film

Sudley Ford #2, by Reed A. George
4x5 Pinhole Camera, iso 100 Film

Sudley Ford #3, by Reed A. George
4x5 Pinhole Camera, iso 100 Film
 
My pinhole camera has an equivalent f-stop of about 250 (256?). That means that in bright daylight, iso 100 film should be exposed for eight seconds. I usually find that I underexpose with this camera, so I pushed it further this time. I actually did overexpose some of these images, but was able to resurrect them during scanning. The first picture, of Thornton House, was quite overexposed at one minute, but it had a wide range of tones, from the shadows in the trees to the pure bright white of the house's exterior walls.
 
I took these on April 21, 2013. It turns out, Worldwide Pinhole Day is on Sunday, April 28. So, I'll treat this as a test run, and be sure to get back out this coming Sunday!
 
(Click Here) to read about Worldwide Pinhole Day.
 
Get out there and shoot some yourself! Share some of your results with me. Maybe I'll even post one or two of yours on DMC-365!
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com