Building & Shooting a 3D Pinhole Camera

last year a friend found the perfect birthday gift for someone who thought he everything, a 3d pinhole camera.

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i knew pinhole cameras existed, and i have several 3d cameras, but i never imagined someone made a 3d pinhole camera. it turns out a company called recesky makes one, but it needs assembly. the camera consists of a plastic snap together body. in addition to taking stereo paris, it also has an option of taking a panoramic image.

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fortunately, the assembly instructions were illustrated, but the text was unfortunately (for me) in chinese. a trip to google solved that problem for me by finding several on line videos showing how to assemble the camera. about an hour later, i had a fully assembled, ready to go, stereo pinhole camera.

the next challenge was learning how to use it. the first question was ‘what is the f stop?’. a closer inspection of the chinese instructions revealed that the stereo pinholes were f 128 and the panoramic pinhole was f 180. those f stops are off of most light meters scales, so i had to do a bit of interpolation when calculating the exposure

normally i would go out on a shoot with a few different film speeds, and a camera where i controlled the f stop and shutter speed. with this pinhole camera, i had an unchangeable f 128 aperture, and the best control i had over shutter speed was counting mississippi’s

my first mistake after seeing an f stop of 128 was going out on a bright sunny day with fast film. that combination resulted in exposure times faster than a Mississippi. the next try was on a more overcast day with slower film. that allowed me to do a 4 or 5 second exposure using a tripod

typically I shoot on slide film and mount the slides so they can be viewed in a special stereo viewer, but you can view the image below in stereo too if you follow these instructions in one of my past blog posts on stereo photography, on how to do parallel freeviewing

as you can see with the arches of the bridge, the pinhole ‘lenses’ produce some interesting distortions

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the arches should be symmetrical, not having that pushing forward effect

the ‘focus’ also produced an interesting soft feel that is usually produced with filters on a lens or with digital post filters

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after i started to get the hang of 4 second exposures, i wanted to make good use of that exposure time with water

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and later, just for fun, i tried doing stereo fireworks shots. normally, a fireworks shot uses a long exposure, so it seemed natural to try the pinhole camera to take some stereo pairs

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after having fun assembling and shooting with that pinhole camera, our next project is a “slr” pinhole camera made by kikkerland

Transformed by Our Response to Racism

I have witnessed racism first hand, both personally and in my professional life.  We know that racism happens throughout the world, but I need neither be a business leader nor a parent of children of color to have been touched and transformed by our response to racism.

Everyone experiences racism in one form or another.  How it impacts us may differ, but to eliminate racism, we must all take a stand – and it starts with awareness.

Kodak’s stand against racism takes place every day.  As our company’s Global Diversity Director, I and Kodak’s senior executives lead our efforts to ensure that our workplaces are free of harassment, and that our employees are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

The key is that we act to prevent discrimination and harassment in our workplaces.  We do this in several ways:

  • The first of our Kodak Values sets forth an expectation that we treat others with respect for the dignity of the individual.
  • Our senior executives set diversity and inclusion goals for themselves and their operations, and are accountable for meeting those goals.
  • We offer the employee networks representing diverse constituencies at Kodak the opportunity to engage with our senior leaders, and to lead education and awareness-building sessions open to all employees.
  • We require employees to complete an annual review of Kodak’s policies that help enable an engaged, inclusive workforce free of discrimination and harassment.
  • We actively work to develop and sponsor diversity within our global workforce.
  • We reach out and partner with members of our community who share a commitment to ending racism and to build a thriving and diverse environment.

We know that our continued engagement in diversity and inclusion, and against racism, is essential.

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Kodak is one of hundreds of organizations that have raised their hands in support of the YWCA’s mission and vision statement, “The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all”.  This statement embodies Kodak values.  In what has become a movement that we observe annually, the

April 26 “Stand Against Racism” observance asks companies, universities, schools, and other organizations to hold an event, private or public, where participants gather to take a pledge to work against racism.  You can learn more about this endeavor at www.standagainstracism.org.

It’s true that we are a society touched and transformed by our response to racism, but racism doesn’t own us.  What it does is challenge us to take a stand and transform our workplaces and communities.  “Be the change you want to see in the world” is a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi.  So when we encounter racism, confront it, decry it, and take action to prevent its spread.  And, just as importantly, let’s positively promote equality and fairness for all.  Let’s recognize and celebrate our uniqueness and differences and harness this in a way that is beneficial to our employees, customers, organizations and our children.  Let’s foster hope in the hearts of our young and encourage their vision of a world of equality and peace.  They can see it, feel it, and live it.

Celebrate Earth Day with Kodak Adaptive Picture Exchange (APEX)

As Earth Day approaches each year, I like to reflect on things that I have done to improve our environment and make a difference. Did you know that many Kodak products have features and benefits with reduced environmental impact? This year I have been reflecting on the environmental benefits of the KODAK Adaptive Picture Exchange (APEX) and would like to share those benefits with you. The APEX dry lab system uses digital print technology.  This technology eliminates the need to print pictures with water and processing chemicals, which also reduces chemical storage and disposal costs.KODAK_APEX70

In addition, the APEX reduces energy consumption when printing a picture.  By now you are thinking “show me the data”.

The APEX doesn’t need energy to maintain chemistry and paper drying processes.

Energy use was compared to the following representative systems in a retail setting: the KODAK Adaptive Picture Exchange (APEX), NORITSU QSS-2711DLS, FRONTIER 340 Digital Mini Lab, FUJI FRONTIER 570 Digital Mini Lab, and GRETAG Master Lab+ 742.

The electricity required by each system to deliver a standard print volume, 1000 prints per 24-hr period, was measured and used to calculate total energy consumption per a 4 x 6 print. This energy analysis suggested that Kodak’s APEX System consumes 70-90% less energy when compared to traditional photoprocessing minilabs.

The APEX has earned the Kodak Cares logo because of this energy savings comparison.

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The environmental benefits of the APEX do not end with energy savings. Photo paper used to create a print is sourced from PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) certified sources.  This means that each print is created with paper from a sustainably managed forest.

And, one more benefit, the packaging used in the media to create a print is suitable for local recycling and plastic parts are labeled to facilitate proper sorting.

Celebrate Earth Day by printing your pictures, enlargements, collages, and other photo gifts at a retailer that uses the Kodak APEX dry lab. Happy Earth Day!

PEOPLE v. PLACES

People Vs. Places (2 of 6)

Last fall, on Twitter, we came across Stephanie Bassos and Timothy Burkhart collaborators on People vs Places. In this double exposure project, Stephanie exposes a full roll of 35mm film of only “people,” and Timothy reloads the film again into the same camera, to imprint only “places” and locations to the same roll. These images are all the end result of their ongoing series and are unedited negatives straight from the camera. After seeing their project on Tumblr, we wanted to know more.

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What prompted your project?  

Stephanie Bassos: We both meet at our full time job, where we both work on various photographic projects at an online-based startup. We do a range of things from basic photo editing to smaller studio shoots. Our friendship sparked from casual conversation about our love for photography and the projects we were both currently working on outside of work, as well as other artists we were into at the moment.  Our styles seemed to come from opposite ends of the photographic spectrum, and we had an admiration for what the other was doing.

I prefer working with people and shooting portraits, while Tim shoots mostly landscapes and places that don’t directly include people. We had entertained the idea of collaborating on a photo shoot or project, but we couldn’t really nail down how to make it happen. Tim had been shooting with some older film cameras at the time and had an instance where he unknowingly double exposed a roll of film resulting in double exposures. He then realized that his camera wasn’t rewinding film all the way and allowed the same roll to be loaded again fairly easily. This occurrence seemed to be the perfect vehicle for us to bring our two styles together into one image as well as series. We have been shooting for around nine months now and sticking to the formula of me shooting only people and Tim shooting only places, although we each don’t know the specifics outside of that.

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How do you choose your subjects and the order in which you shoot?

SB: The order we shoot is completely random.  We don’t have a specific way (people first, or places first.)  We were originally passing the same camera back and forth after we finished shooting our respective subject, but that slowed the process significantly.  If we both had a trip planned at the same time and only one had the camera, it seemed counter productive. To solve the issue we bought another one of the cameras we were using and tested it to find that it had the same rewind issue as the original. This allowed us both to shoot simultaneously.  Now we both have a roll in our cameras at all times, and whoever finishes first gives it to the other to re-load.

Timothy Burkhart: We choose our subjects by observing our surroundings and just going about our daily lives. The people Stephanie shoots are mostly her friends, or candid strangers. The places I shoot are in transit or traveling.  The project definitely has a point and shoot aesthetic and vibe to it.  It’s rare that we go out to a specific place or find a specific person to shoot with-shoots aren’t premeditated.  The camera is always on us, so we just constantly have it in the back of our minds and we shoot our life as it happens.

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Why did you choose Kodak film for this project?

TB: When we first started shooting we used what was most available. Lots of camera shops have been closing up around us in Chicago, so we were picking up Kodak Gold 200 at the local pharmacy or corner store, which fit our needs of availability.  Kodak films in general always have a bit more saturation and warmer color tones than other manufacturers and this was something we both liked aesthetically. After we shot on Kodak Gold for a bit to get a feel for the project we switched to Portra 400, which gave us a little less grain and even better tones.  Now we go back and forth between those two and shoot whatever we have available. People Vs. Places (6 of 6)

 How does this fit in with your overall photography work/style? 

SB: It’s a pretty perfect project for both of us to do outside of our own freelance. It gives us a chance to focus on what we love shooting most, and also comes with an element of surprise when the film is finally developed. It keeps us constantly creating and observing and thinking about photography in a different way.  Rather than focusing on composition and style to create the photo we want constantly, we surrender some of those decisions and leave it up to fate and cross our fingers hoping the great “people” shot was overlaid by a perfect “places” shot.

TB: It throws us both out of our comfort zones a little because we are not able control the frame in it’s entirety… but that’s good for us because it forces us to not think too much about one specific shot. The project looks a lot different than anything we both do.  We both shoot in our own ways and have a cleaner shooting style, so doing this project is a way to break away from our own personal process and have some fun with an old camera and some film.

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“Good Enough” Not Enough

Recently, a friend of mine walked by a luxury boutique in New York City. In the front window was a large display of a super model/TV personality. She related to me the following:  “I don’t remember which model and I don’t remember what she was modeling. What I remember is the large two-foot blotch on the upper edge of the print.  Not the highly paid model. Not the luxury item for sale. Not, to think of it, the brand selling it.“

Paco Underhill, one of the industry’s foremost experts on retailing and founder of Envirosell, said “Today, the photograph in retail is everywhere—silk-screened images in windows, lifestyle graphics in the aisles, flat screens mounted from ceilings, projections on the floor, and the incorporation of images onto packaging. The creative drive has been focused on making good stuff look great.” http://click.si.edu/Story.aspx?story=787

Make good stuff look great. When I heard the story above about what should have been a gorgeous display instead tainted by the quality of the media on which it’s printed, I’m even more committed to what we’re doing at Kodak.  In recent years, lower quality display materials have entered the market, and as marketing budgets have shrunk, some brands saw using these “good enough” materials as a viable cost-saving alternative.  “Good enough” does not create great. And in this case, it created just the opposite.

We recently introduced our new KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Transparency Display Media to the market, based on the fundamental belief that our customers in this space require media that creates the most visually effective output – for large displays (such as trade-show stands and booths), in-store point-of-purchase materials, and indoor transit displays (airports, subways).

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Our labs partners and specifiers use Kodak Display media for some of the world’s most well-known brands because they know that no matter where in the world an image is printed, our media ensures consistency and the preservation of the quality those brands represent. Dominick Dunne, COO of Splash Worldwide, a technology based communications agency, said this when asked why he recommends Kodak media to his clients.

We recommend Kodak media because it is the most consistent and has the highest quality. In most offset printing applications, there are industry specifications that enable Splash to show a digital proof and know that no matter what press they will print on the printer can match the proof. The best examples of this are SWOP and GRACOL. No specifications exist in the out-of-home or in-store production business. By standardizing on Kodak media, Splash has created a de-facto standard.

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In an era where competition for consumer attention and ultimately dollars is fierce, we want to make sure that our customers have the best output to contribute to their success. That means consistency.  It means reliability. It means high quality. Our R&D continues in photographic paper because to succeed in a competitive market, our customers deserve, and frankly, need more than “good enough.”

The Majestic Oak

Today’s blog post comes from Kyle Ford. Kyle Ford is an artist and educator currently residing in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate, NY. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design and has been published an exhibited worldwide. Kyle’s work investigates ideas of perception, representation, and interaction surrounding the natural world. For more information and insight into his work please visit: www.kylefordphotography.com

Portrait of Kyle with 8x10

It was a hazy Monday morning in early May 2007. A forest fire had been burning in the Okefenokee Swamp since the weekend and thick smoke had begun to descend upon the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia. That morning I had set out to make a portrait of one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi: The Majestic Oak.

I first came in contact with the tree a week before. Back then, my friend Jarrid Spicer – a great photographer in his own right – and I would often take trips to seek out these ancient sentinels of our country. Our expeditions, more often than not, would end up in forest preserves or state-run parks. Because of their strict environmental regulations and separation from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, these sanctuaries proved to harbor many beautiful old specimens. But this time was different. We found ourselves smack in the middle of a suburban housing development just a few miles southeast of Savannah proper. The development, aptly named Majestic Oaks, was somewhat of an over blown cul-de-sac. At the center of the giant turnaround stood our living relic.

The Majestic Oak, Majestic Oaks Housing Development

With a branch span of over 165 feet and a base girth of 27 feet 8 inches, this 300-plus- year-old tree was enormous. Its trunk alone was wider than I was tall. Its symmetrically shaped branches hung effortlessly, like a cloud descending upon the surrounding landscape. Strands of soft gray Spanish moss draped evenly throughout the tree, while patches of red and green lichen modeled the branches with splashes of texture and color. I instantly thought to myself, “I’m going to need a bigger camera.” Somehow, the prosumer DSLR that I traveled with (mostly for note taking) just wasn’t going to cut it. So much texture, gradation, and detail would be lost to the APS-C sized sensor. I knew to do it justice I would need to capture it in large format on Kodak film.

I returned the following week with my 4×5 K.B. Canham field camera and twelve sheets of Kodak Portra 160NC. This was before the marrying of VC and NC film types. As luck would have it, the haze of smoke from the fire burning in Okenfenokee Swamp had created a beautiful warm diffusion of the morning light. As I stood there setting up my camera, I heard a voice. About 200 feet behind me, a person emerged from a screen door on the back porch of a townhouse. It was the owner of the home on her way to work. She stood behind a waste high stonewall, waving a piece of paper. As I approached her she said, “This is the Majestic Oak,” indicating the paper in her hand. On the paper was an artist’s rendering of the tree. In pen and ink, the tree floated there, isolated on the soft white base of the paper. Absent of background and surrounding context, this “tree” she presented me with looked more like a symbol or an icon of the majestic tree.

We had a short chat about the artist, the history of the ancient oak, and the neighborhood. Before the owner left, she informed me that I was standing right where the artist made the illustration. As I turned to face the tree, from where I stood, I could almost take it all in in one glance. From that distance, The Majestic Oak seemed more like a perfect sculpture than a tree. As I looked around at the surrounding houses I began to realize that similar to the artist’s drawing, this tree itself was an icon.

Separated from the forests that once surrounded it, this tree stands isolated in the center of the cul-de-sac. Akin to a great work of art, it adds value to all the surrounding homes that gaze uponit. A plaque to the left of the tree indicates its title and estimated age. The neighborhood even installed lights to illuminate the treasure year round. At that time, I realized the artist’s rendering hadn’t done something new by isolating and iconizing the tree; that happened long ago, when a decision was made to preserve it.

Its intrepid strength as a living organism aside, The Majestic Oak still stands today for one reason: its aesthetic characteristics. Without those traits, the tree might have fallen the way of the forest that once surrounded it. The Majestic Oak survives as a reminder of a decision made long ago to preserve an aesthetic. Somehow, by photographing the tree, I feel a connection to the countless others who along the way chose to preserve its beauty, iconizing it in one form or another – be it pen and ink, poetry, photography, or even the seemingly small, yet lasting decision, not to let the tree fall subject to human development.

I knew I had to take my photograph from the exact spot where I stood and where I’m sure so many have stood before me. I had to create an image that would consume the viewer the way the tree consumed me.

I set up my camera once more. Originally, I had intended to use a wide-angle 90mm lens (roughly equivalent to a 28mm lens in 35mm) but upon looking at the ground glass I realized that the aspect ratio and detail in texture still left a lot to be desired. I needed the final image to have a large enough native resolution to produce a print the size of the wall with tack sharp detail you could get lost in. So I decided to transfer a technique that was common in digital photography to my view camera practice. I would shoot several negatives and stitch them together digitally to make one seamless photograph. This is one of the many reasons why I religiously shoot Kodak. The Kodak Portra series has a phenomenal film grain that produces unparalleled depth in tonal gradation and texture when scanning. Shooting Kodak allows me to practice a kind of hybrid technique of shooting film and scanning for digital process and output.

I switched lenses and grabbed my Symmar-S 210mm. At that distance, distortion caused by rotating the angle of the camera would be minimized, and I could easily set my aperture to the middle (f22) and sharpest point of the lens, still obtaining the full depth of field I required in the shot. I then divided the tree into six different quadrants and made an identical exposure of each, leaving a small amount of overlap to line up the negatives in  post. I returned to the lab, processed the film, scanned each sheet in 16 bit at 2400 dpi resolution, and began the week long stitching process. I opted not use any automated stitching programs to minimize any distortion automation might create and instead used layer masks and blending modes to stitch the negatives.

In technical terms, the end result was a 4GB file that could produce a seamless mural sized print of up to 10ft x 5ft at a resolution of 300dpi. For me, the final image was a small tribute to the beauty of The Majestic Oak and the simple decision made long ago to preserve it.

 

Film Photography Day 2013

Tomorrow is Film Photography Day!

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Lomo created Film Photography Day to celebrate analogue! My colleague, Lars Fiedler, over in Germany chatted with Lomo and we are happy to support the day with Kodak film!

April 12 will be filled with parties, events and workshops across the world. You can search for or start your own Film Photography Day celebration using Meetup. Lomo even provided a downloadable party kit! We have sent Kodak film to Lomo to include in their “Analogue Goodie Packs” they are sending out to events with more than 30 participants.

For those of you that can’t make it to a meetup, don’t worry! We have something planned!

Tomorrow, Friday, April 12 we have enlisted photographers around the world to give away Kodak film on Twitter for 12 hours!

Each photographer has one Kodak film goody bag to give away. It is an assortment of 12 different kinds and formats. Each person will have their own way to enter. You have one hour to enter for each photographer and they will announce the winner at the end of the hour.

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Sorting through some of the Kodak film for prizes

Below are the photographer’s twitter links and the times (All Eastern Standard Time) they will be giving away their film goody bag.

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6 am to 7 am – @jonaspeterson
Jonas Peterson – Brisbane, Australia | http://jonaspeterson.com

7 am to 8 am – @micmojo
Jan Scholz – Brussels, Belgium | http://www.micmojo.com

8 am to 9 am- @filmsnotdead
Film’s Not Dead – London, UK | http://filmsnotdead.com

9 am to 10 am- @stillshootfilm
Rachel Rebibo – Paris, France | http://istillshootfilm.org

10 am to 11 am- @ctwphoto
Tim Massie – Albany, NY | http://www.timmassie.com

11 am to noon – @rnmphotography
Ryan Muirhead – Utah | http://www.ryanmuirhead.com

12 pm to 1 pm – @shawnhoke
Shawn Hoke – Brooklyn, NY, US | http://shawnhoke.com

1 pm to 2 pm – @kylebcool
Kyle Bromley – Jacksonville, FL | http://www.kbromleyphoto.com

2 pm to 3 pm – @JosephPrezioso
Joeseph Prezioso – New England/Las Vegas | http://www.josephprezioso.com

3 pm to 4 pm- @hanlonfiske
Hanlon Fiske Studio – Rochester, NY | http://hanlon-fiske.com

4 pm to 5 pm- @jonathancanlas
Jonathan Canlas – Lehi, UT | http://filmisnotdead.com

5 pm to 6 pm- @juliagaldo
Julia Galdo – Los Angeles, CA | http://www.jucophoto.com

6 pm to 7 pm- @erickimphoto
Eric Kim – Los Angeles, CA | http://erickimphotography.com/blog

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Be sure to follow all these awesome film photographers and watch their twitter feeds on April 12!

As for us here in Rochester, we are having a Film Photography Day meet-up too! Hosted by the fine folks at Hanlon Fiske Studio, we will get together to look at photos we have all taken and enjoy some analogue camaraderie.

I am taking prints of these photos I shot on Kodak film in the abandoned Rochester Subway.

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I hope everyone has big plans for this year’s Film Photography Day!