Thought for the Week

"A hug is a perfect gift - one size fits all and nobody minds if you give it back."

Pinhole - The results

So, the pinhole camera, how did it pan out?

Because the 'negative' is made on light sensitive paper inside the tin, it is very important to keep it in pitch black. Any light that seeps into the container will render the picture useless. You don't see it until you develop the negative, but then, there it is, as black as the ace of spades, right across the paper. Nothing but black.

Bearing this in mind, the next thing you need to know is that in order to take more than one picture, you have to have a changing bag in which to swap over the paper. Inside the bag, by feel alone, you take the lid off your camera and remove the paper, leaving it in the bag to protect it from the light, and then put a new, fresh, unused sheet into the tin and replace the lid.

The next feat of impossibility is to remove the camera from the bag without allowing light in to destroy the other sheets of paper!!! Quite a comical performance indeed. I had at least thought ahead, having placed 10 individual pieces of paper into my bag that would fit in my camera. I had also considered how to overcome the problem of needing to know which pieces I had used and which were blank. I considered a couple of options and settled on a large paper clip over an ordinary piece of folded paper that I could clip over the exposed sheets as I removed them from the camera. Thus the unclipped pieces would be available to use. Genius.

I took 3 exposures in all, ranging from 2½ minutes to 4½ minutes exposure time. Not because I got bored and didn't want to take anymore. I had figured with 10, maybe I stood a slim chance of getting something recognisable!!! When I was fishing around inside the changing bag, as I removed the third exposure from the camera, it was quite clear that the loose pieces of paper had pushed themselves in between the used pieces and I now had a very neat little bundle of paper, all clipped together!! Not so genius huh?

So I had to call it a day at 3. I left the paper in the bag the rest of the week, awaiting Thursday evenings college time.

When I got to college, the tutor mixed up some fresh chemicals for me and I took the changing bag into the dark room.

"Where's your box of paper" he asked.

"I didn't bring it tonight, I just brought the bag and the paper I used for my photographs" I replied.

Even in the dark, I could see he face change expression, and there was no mistaking the sharp intake of breath before he asked me if I had left them loose in the bag all week!! He said they would probably have been damaged by light seepage after a full week like that and explained that when he does pinhole work he puts his box of paper in the bag and removes one piece at a time from the black plastic bag inside the box. When he wants to swap the paper in his camera he removes the used piece and puts it underneath the black plastic bag inside the box, thus always knowing what he has used AND protecting all his paper from the light!!!

If only I had thought of that. If only he had mentioned that the week before!!

So, feeling a little despondent, I began to pass the 10 pieces through the trays of chemicals, knowing full well that only 3 would have anything on them at all. Each one in turn had black edges. That meant that light had entered the bag and the edges that were protruding from the stack had been exposed. First one piece, then the next. No images yet. Then there it was, a white area, then some grey, then.... damn, nope, it was just some chemicals from the table top that had got onto the paper, still no image. I continued 5...6....7...8...9... nothing at all... 10... yes, yes, hop, skip, jump, yes! There it was. The one image I had been waiting for!!

I was ecstatic. To be fair it is a pretty bad photo, but I LOVE it! It is MY photo, I took it, I did it with MY camera that I made, I developed it MYSELF and it was bloody brilliant!!

If you pretend there are no fingerprints, no blotches, and no scratches, ooohhh, and no light infiltration that has misted the top of the picture, then, it's a masterpiece.... what do you reckon?

It's a pinhole version of the first picture under my blog entitled 'New Camera'.

Never one to be beaten, and always striving for perfection I will try some more. Only this time, I will keep my box of paper inside my changing bag, boy is that going to make things easier!! I have already taken one photograph of a bunch of daffodils at the base of a tree in my garden. The background should come out crisp, and the flowers very fluffy as they were moving in the breeze. We shall see!!

Ticket That!!

OK. The pinhole experiment will be blogged soon, promise. But today I have something else on my mind.

How many times do you read an employment vacant advertisement that states something along the lines of:

· Must be able to work on own initiative as well as being an effective team player.
· Must have good communication skills and be able to work in a stressful environment.
· Must possess a good sense of humour and be able to work under pressure
· Must have experience of dealing with the general public in sometimes difficult situations

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. My gripe today is with people who take on jobs, which although they may be thankless, require all of the above personality traits. In fact, I have recently seen advertisements for this particular job which did indeed state the need for the above qualities.

What characteristics does a person require to work with children do you think? Patience, understanding, compassion?

What about working in accounts? Good numerical skills, understanding of manual/computerised accounts system, ability to work under pressure maybe, experience to Trial Balance and P&L even.

So what qualities do you think you require to be a traffic warden? Precisely. All of those I mentioned at the top. In reality though, what kind of person actually applies to fill the vacancy advertised for a traffic warden?

You can expect a daily chapter of abuse by the poor sods who couldn’t find anywhere to park for 10 minutes because the town is being redeveloped and there are a serious lack of car parking spaces. You should expect, unless you are a total fool, that you will be faced daily with verbal abuse from the poor souls who thought they could ‘get away with it’ and then found out they couldn't.

Do you have to have a certain ‘Sense of what is right and fair’ or do you just need a good dose of ‘I don’t give a shit, you shouldn’t be parked there and that’s another ticket towards my weekly goal’??

I’m sure all of the above happen many times over in a day, and a traffic warden should expect it. That doesn’t mean that’s it is right, or fair, they are only doing their job after all, but I fail to see how they ever expect to do their jobs without the public hatred for their uniform and what they stand for. That said, I can understand that they would get pretty pi**ed off with it, and pretty thick skinned to it all.

So tell me. Where do they leave their sense of humours in the morning? Do they put them in their lockers at work for fear of losing them if they took them out onto the streets? Maybe they are just afraid if they take them out on duty with them they will wear them out! Do they even have one at all?

A little story for you.

Last Sunday, after football, everyone was in the pub as usual, playing cards and darts and generally having a laugh. G, along with a few of the others, had drunk a few pints, and were pretty cheerful, shall we say!

One of the guys spotted a young lad walking along the precinct outside with blue, and I mean really blue, pointy hair and he shouted out “That’s a really bad hair do” and the rest of the lads all rushed to the large window to look, and then laughed as they spotted this young lad entering the shop opposite the pub. As he emerged, G thought it would be funny to open the pub door and shout this across the street at the guy, who incidentally thought it pretty amusing too and walked of down the street chuckling to himself.

Next victim was a young guy, who was with what appeared to be his girlfriend, in a hat, which was perfectly ordinary, but G had set the scene with the first guy and was on a roll…

“That’s a really BAD hat fella” he yelled across the road, to fits of laughter from inside the pub. They were incorrigible, and they all knew that if they kept laughing, G would keep performing!!!
Another couple of innocent victims chuckled and giggled their way down the road, their day made lighter by this amusing little interlude with the semi drunk guy at the pub.

Next up… the traffic wardens. As always, in twos, they were busy writing a ticket for the car illegally parked across the street on double yellow lines.

“That’s a really BAD hat fella” came the call from the pub doorway. Nothing. No hint of a smile. No recognition of having heard. Big mistake.

“That’s a REALLY BAD hat fella” G repeated. Still nothing, nought, zilch, dada.

So, never one to give in easily, G lay down on the double yellow lines right outside the pub and said;

“Stick a ticket on me then”

The whole of the football team was gathered around the window, unable to control themselves and the laughter must have been heard across the street. Still no reaction, no recognition that G was even there. They just continued to write their tickets.

G came back inside and continued his game of darts that was half way through. The traffic wardens continued with their duties, and were visible from the pub window for another 10-15 minutes at least, slapping tickets on anything in sight, except my hubby!!!!

Four days later, four days, the pub landlady was telephoned by the police. The traffic wardens had made an official report about what had happened. They had written everything down word for word and put it in their report, stating that they had felt threatened by this mans behaviour. Tomorrow, the police are visiting the landlady at the pub in an official capacity to make a report on the complaint filed by the traffic wardens.

What the f**k is the country coming to? How could they feel threatened? He never approached them. He never swore at them. He said very little, and it was said with a laugh. If they felt threatened why did they not call for backup there and then? If they felt threatened why did it take them four days to file a complaint?

No wonder to police say they can’t respond to misdemeanours like poultry theft, they are too bloody busy dealing with complaints from jumped up officials who left their sense of humours at home.

OK, gripe over.

Tin Cans and Sticky Tape

Laney, you are right, I am VERY busy and yes it has been a while since I checked in here. In view of your comments, here is the first instalment of the pinhole camera exercise, that I had written already. I was going to post it after Thursday, when I have had a chance to take my 'negatives' into college and process them to see if I even have an image there. Who knows? Also, I had photographed (with a proper camera) the making of the pinhole camera, but as those photo's are at home, and I am not, you will have to wait to see the visual masterpiece!!!!

So, how did my new little camera work out?

Well, I couldn't find a circular tin with a well fitting lid, but my Mum kindly donated an old hexagonal tin she had that came complete with an hexagonal lid (lucky that really, a square one just wouldn't have fitted the same)!

It was the tin she used to keep lots of colouring pencils in when our kids were all small. She knew that at some point in the first half hour of a visit, usually the first 5 minutes, her grandchildren would want to get out the paper and the pencils and draw some pretty pictures for Nanny to stick on the fridge or the kitchen cupboards to remind her how special she was to them.

Now that they are all grown up, she no longer has a need for them. Mind you, her first great grandchild will want to start her own collection of scribble pictures in the not too distant future. Maybe Mum will treat her to a shiny new pencil box.

So, tin in hand, I smiled sweetly at G and asked him to drill a hole in the side for me about ¼" across. He disappeared into the garage, and emerged about half an hour later. Not only had he drilled the hole for me, but he had lovingly filed the edges of it so they weren't too sharp and had also neatly covered the entire tin in duc...(hmm**) duck tape and the lid too, creating a very tight seal when fitted to the tin.

**At this point, unsure of whether the silver stick-like-s**t- to-a-blanket-tape was actually called DUCK tape or DUCT tape, and wanting to avoid obvious errors like COY and KOI!! I decided to Google it...

I got my answer in the first sentence, but somehow got drawn into the entire page contents... was strangely interesting... or maybe I'm just a little strange... check it out and see for yourself... DUCK or DUCT that is the question?

Anyway, the next stage was to paint the inside of the tin black. I had bought my matt black spray paint the previous weekend, in readiness for producing this masterpiece! The purpose of the matt black is to cut our all light reflection when the tin (sorry, the camera) is in use. I gave the inside of the tin and the lid a generous coating and put them in the cupboard with the boiler to dry. I then repeated this spraying, just to be sure I had covered it properly.

Next item needed is a piece of tin foil. Preferably not the type you wrap your chicken in before roasting as this is a little fragile, but the foil case from a individual apple pie or such like, nice and thick. Cut a piece about 2" square and use the end of a very find needle to make a hole in the very middle. This is where care is needed, the precision and size of the hole made now will affect the overall crispness and clarity of the images taken. This is then stuck to the outside of the tin with the pinhole centrally over the large drilled hole and the foil is held in place with more black electrical tape.

The final part of construction is to make a 'flap' or a lens cover. Just a simple, small piece of square card, thick enough to prevent light travelling through it, is stuck with yet another piece of electrical tape. The tape has to be long enough to go from an inch or so above to an inch or so below the cardboard lens cap so that when taking a photograph you can unpeel the upper part and allow the cover to flop down, exposing the pinhole.

Next installment - Adventures with my pinhole camera - and the question I REALLY want answered - did I produce a photograph with it???

PS - Laney, thx for your email honey, I understand why you deliberated over it, but you shouldn't have, honest. It is heart warming to know there are people out there who would do what he is doing, and more understanding of any subject which affects people deeply can only ever be a good thing. I will defo drop him an email. Thank you. x

A new camera!

Oh yes. A brand, spanking, new, shiney, camera.I know, I know, it seems a little unfair doesn't it, after all, I only got my digital SLR in October last year. That camera has already seen so much action. (No, not that kind!!)

First I took it to London to show it the sights - The Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge raised, the Gherkin, The Tower of London, Piccadily Circus in the rain, The London Eye, The River Thames, the train journey in both directions and the tube. Since then it has had various outings, nearly as many as me infact!

It's been to the seaside in 4 different towns, been along the cliff top in 3 towns, to local parks and famous rivers. It's regularly been to Sunday league footy. Has been up close and personal with all manor of flora and most recently my camera took me to Brands Hatch to watch the leather clad men and their throbbing machines race around the track with knees barely an inch from the tarmac. It's been having a whale of a time.

Last week I took it to a local area of beauty, to a lake with ducks and swans and ornate bridges and mini waterfalls, (very mini) and it loved every minute of it.

The water, where it dropped levels was mesmerising and my camera couldn't get enough of it. We spent ages, just the two of us, admiring the view.

There were a couple of young boys playing in this area, just off to one side, and they were larking about in the very wet, muddy waters which were only about 6" deep at that point. As they tried to cross the wet area, the mud grabbed one of the welly boots and, schluuuuuct, he got to the other side with only one on his foot!! The other one lay there, in the middle of the water, just daring his brother to try to rescue it!!! It was so funny. Grandad didn't seem to think so though. I guess his mind was on having to explain the state of their clothing to their mother when he took them home again!

Anyway. At college tonight, I hope to use my brand, spanking, new, shiney camera to take a photograph, and if it works I will blog it. Hell, if it doesnt work I will still blog it.

You see, my brand spanking new camera is, or at least will be, a pinhole camera - homemade!!!!

I am so excited, and still a little sceptical that I will be able to produce a photograph with nothing more than an old tin and so photographic paper!!! Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.