The Contents of Solarcan #367

Three months ago, I installed several “Solarcan” pinhole cameras around the Albany area.  The goal of these pinhole cameras was to capture the sun as it streaks through the sky, capturing it as a long solar blast from solstice to solstice.

Three months later … I’m ready to harvest one of the cameras and examine its contents.

Of the five numbered Solarcans that I received from participating in the Kickstarter campaign, I installed four of them around the Albany County area – and kept the fifth one for another day.  So let’s see how well this works, as I disengage Can #367 from its moorings and check out its contents.

The Solarcan is essentially a beer can with a piece of photographic paper tucked inside.  Sunlight enters the can through a pinhole in the can’s middle, and the sunlight ever so slightly burns and singes the photographic paper.  Results can be achieved in as little as a week; but for more dramatic effects, a can should remain in a location for at least a month or more.

So let’s see what three months in the Albany outdoors can provide.

In order to make this work, I have to extract the photographic paper from the can in a dark room, so as to not flash out the photo paper.  Then I place the photographic paper on a flatbed scanner, and immediately scan this bad boy.  I only get one scan of the image, any future scans would degrade the camera obscura on the photo paper.

And I got this.

Solarcan 367 negative. Ilford Pearl 5×7 paper. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

I know that doesn’t really look like too much… but I gotta tell you, that’s pretty impressive for three months of hard work.  Okay, I didn’t do the hard work, but you get what I mean.

Now let’s invert the image, add a little PhotoShop magic, and …

I got this.

Solarcan 367: July 1-September 5, 2017. Solarcan with f/132 pinhole, 160° field of view, Ilford Pearl photo paper. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

My my my my my.

That teal-blue S-curve you see there?  That’s three months of sunshine on a path through the sky.  And although the trees seems to blot out the sun’s path, I’m confident that once winter hits, those trees will lose their sunlight-blocking leaves, and we’ll get a much better impression.

Remember, I still have three more Solarcans out there, all working toward the common goal.

I’ll harvest another can in three months and see how things progress.



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