Sunday, April 27, 2008

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

In case you had forgotten , I just thought I’d remind you that today is World Wide Pinhole Photography Day. If you ask me, Hallmark is really missing out on this one. Each year, on the last Sunday in April, Pinheads around the globe make photographs with lensless cameras and upload their best shot to the official W.P.P.D online gallery. It is not a contest, there is no judging and no prize money. There are no predatory rights grabs either like so many photography contests these days. They ask only for the right to include your image in the gallery. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before submitting anything to a contest. They should claim only limited rights and then only to the winning entries, not all entries. Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day was created to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography.

The weather here in Philadelphia was lousy, heavy clouds and cold, so I thought I’d just take some quick pinhole images of Gus’s old Dodge and upload one to the gallery. Then I remembered the carnival was still in town, the whirling rides, lights on at dusk, would be perfect pinhole fodder. After crossing several chores off of my wife’s honey-do list, I sealed my fate by asking my son if he wanted to go back to the carnival.

After parking the car. I handed Wynn a twenty dollar bill and we parted company, him off to buy ride tickets and me to make pinhole images. I walked around and took photos with a Canon 20D, fitted with a D.I.Y. pinhole body cap, mounted on a Bogen tripod. I had been shooting for about an hour when I heard “Sir, excuse me Sir” from behind me. I know I’m in trouble when someone calls me “Sir.” I was being followed by two Rent-a-Cops, one male and one female. The male cop told me the owner didn’t want me taking any more photos of the carnival. My mind raced as I tried to think up a clever defense. I needed something like the closing remarks of Alan Shore (James Spader) in L.A. Law, but all I could up with would have sounded more like something Denny Crane (William Shatner) would blurt out. Not wanting to make a scene, I said “Okay, folded up the tripod and walked out of the carnival. To tell the truth I really wasn’t sure what my rights were in that situation, or the carnival owner’s rights or the rights of the church who owned the property. There were plenty of other people taking photographs with point and shoots but by using a tripod (necessary for all but the most impressionistic pinhole photos) I stuck out. Maybe it's time for a high resolution, compact camera like the Canon G9.

I was down but not out. I retreated to the sidewalk. A public side walk, where I knew I had a right to shoot from. I set the camera and tripod down and looked up the street as if waiting for a ride. With one eye on the Rent-a-Cops, I pointed my camera at the twirling Zipper and pressed the shutter, turning away for the 15 second exposure. I glanced at the LCD screen and saw I had cut off the top of the ride. I recomposed and press the shutter again. Fifteen seconds later I looked down at the LCD screen on the back of the camera and I could see, I had it. I found my son, bought him some French fries and we headed for the car.