About four months ago, I posted an anonymous pinhole both on this website and on Facebook. I had received the camera in the mail, with no note, no return address, no postmark. Just a brilliant orange and cyan landscape, foreign to me, mysterious. The stamps had a black marker running across them, as if the package had been hand canceled. On Facebook, no one claimed the image as their own. This beautiful, impressionistic landscape, orange and green and brown languished in my inbox. I felt uneasy. I did not recognize the place with its wide open space, no trees, beautiful light.
Quite unconnected about a month ago, my daughter decided to retrieve a pinhole camera left out near Tomales, California, en route to the Lost Coast of Northern California during last summer’s road trip. The camera had been placed on the Dillon Beach road, tucked into some rocks, that were surrounded by poison oak. We tiptoed around in the heat placing the camera up high in a cleft. I took a photograph of the view with my DSLR and we got out of there. In search of the camera, my daughter found an AA meeting in among the rocks and no camera in the rock cleft. She took an iPhone photo of the view and we both realized the anonymous image that had come in through the mail was almost certainly the one from the rocks. Maybe one of the AA members sent it back but whoever you are, dear good Samaritan we thank you. Below are the three images: the iPhone image by Jess Tampa, my cursory shot of the view and the pinhole image from the camera placed there last summer . How long did it expose? Did it fall and was picked up by a person who read the plea I had left: this is a camera, if found please send back to the Pinhole Project. Please examine the images below and see if you think it is the image from that place, way out among the rocks near the small town of Tomales. There is another camera still waiting to be retrieved, under a bridge, close to the same place. Anyone going to the Lost Coast anytime soon?
The first image is the iPhone image made early in the morning by my daughter. The second image was shot with my DSLR last August and the third is the pinhole image exposed for several weeks (exact time unknown).