The Tree Stump Photo

I finally got around to scanning the solar print that started this series of blog entries. This is the pinhole camera that I placed on a Holly tree stump in December of 2006. I left it there until we returned to Roanoke Island in May of 2007. We were in the process of packing up and moving to Durham during the two short weeks we were there, so there was no time to develop or even take a look at the paper negative. I finally got around to taking a look at it this month, and it looked pretty interesting to me. But I wasn’t sure how to scan it without destroying it.

I wrote to Tarja Trygg for some help in how to process or scan the negative. Tarja got me interested in pinhole solar prints last year. She has been working with pinhole solar prints for several years and has a wonderful international project involving people around the world. She was very helpful and I eventually got the courage to scan the negative. I was a little nervous about scanning it, as it had become rather special to me. I had thought about that camera a lot, just sitting there for months, soaking up the sun’s rays, plus the rain, wind, cold, heat – all of it affecting that little sheet of photographic paper. I didn’t want to ruin it with the scanner. But, with Tarja’s instructions, it all went fine. I’m very pleased with it.

solar print

Rumor of a Tumor

11 thoughts on “The Tree Stump Photo”

  1. That’s a beauty, Gregg. There’s something magical just in the idea of a picture that collects the light from six months of passing time, but this image more than measures up to that idea.

  2. Thanks for the comments. That blue blotch in the upper right looks a bit like a photo equivalent of a tumor. I imagine it was created by water that dripped inside the camera when it rained. It seems to have maybe just picked that area in the image and settled in. You never know with this stuff.

  3. That’s an astonishing image. I’m really surprised that there was any image there at all after being left to expose for several months. Amazing.

  4. More and more I envy the camera. To be able to lie down outside for six months and just stare at the sky, no worries about, “Will they miss me at work?” “Do I have to use the bathroom?” “Should I close my eyes when it rains?” “Should I be writing this down?” No, just watching. How wonderful.

  5. Amazing image Gregg! care to comment on the camera format and film in use? The blue blotch doesn’t look like a tumor to me, but rather like a window into a different Universe, a kinder one perhaps?

    Always thinking of you and Carmela.

  6. Hi Guillermo. Nice to hear from you. This is a paper negative, about 5×7 inches. I think its Arista paper, but not 100% sure of that. This doesn’t work with zone plates, by the way! 😉

  7. The paper negative inside the pinhole can was Kodak b&w not Arista paper. Gregg´s solargraph is so fine that it has been published also on the website of the global Photographic Project of Solargraphy
    Best regards to you Gregg and Arunas, too.

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