I am happy to announce the retrieval of two long exposure pinhole cameras. One was left out on a windy high place in the Olympic National Forest (for about eight months) and was intact albeit face down on the ground when found. The other, retrieved from under a bridge on the Lost Coast of Northern California, was covered with spider webs. The former was stapled and nailed and taped onto a stump just at the tree line in a place that is called Top of the World by the locals. That place appears to be a hangout, but the pinhole camera did not stick out among damaged skeet targets, gun casings and broken beer bottles. Early on in the exposure, the camera must have fallen, then fallen again. Someone put it back up at least three times. The incredible view was not recorded, just a crazy mishmash of sun trails.
Then last summer on a trip to the Lost Coast of California, another camera out for just over two years was retrieved. Under an old steel bridge that covered an obscure little river, it survived without falling down or getting wet. Wedged underneath the steel structure, pointing straight down, this camera did not record sun trails but orange squiggly lines, perhaps kids with flashlights under the bridge, who knows what happened. Driving there, I was pretty certain the camera could not have survived for such a long time. But it did and that retrieval is one I will never forget.
I love so much about both of these images. The simplicity of a piece of black and white enlarging paper patiently gathering light over time and then somehow showing color when scanned. The fact that one forgets about the little boxes, time goes forward and then there they are still recording. These little breath mint can pinhole cameras are a tenacious bunch. I am happy to share their images with you.
An Aside: the featured image was made en route to retrieve the two year camera in Northern California. A two-hole camera was placed in the back window of the pick-up truck, the home away from home. The exposure was about two weeks, the time it took to go and get the camera, make some more pinholes, put some more cameras out and drive home. This image feels like a big grin to me, which pretty much sums up how I feel about these images.