I was anxiously awaiting 2022 Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, celebrated annually on the last Sunday of April. I had pulled my 4x5 Speed Graphic from storage and loaded multiple holders. My intention was to make the one hour drive to Bethlehem, PA and photograph The Steel Stacks, a decommissioned steel plant, turned tourist attraction and concert venue.
My plans were upended when I received a call from a long time client asking if I could shoot for them that Sunday. Servicing a good client and making money took precedence over my WPPD aspirations. Steel Stacks would have to wait.
I returned from my assignment late afternoon and my thoughts returned to WPPD. There was still enough daylight available if I chose subject matter that was nearby, but what? I had photographed the iconic Manayunk Bridge last year and didn’t want to repeat myself. Then it came to me, Bob’s Diner, a retro, stainless steel throwback to the fifties, eatery. I have eaten there many times over the years with friend’s and family.
“ Bob’s Diner, A Monumental Eating Experience.”
In retrospect, I wish I had backed up or used a wider focal length. The diner is adjecent to the Leverington Cemetery. While I was able to include some of the fencing around the cemetery none of the gravestones are visible. The diner’s proximity to the cemetery was incorporated into their slogan and is featured on T shirts available for purchase at the diner.
Camera used was a 4x5 Graflex, Speed Graphic, probably about the same age as the diner. Instead of film, holders were loaded with 5x7 Ilford multigrade RC paper cut down to 4x5. Instead of a lens I had mounted an f/340 pinhole on the lens board to match the 160mm bellows extension which is a relatively normal focal length for 4x5.
I had purchased laser drilled pinholes from The Pinhole Resource to reduce guesswork as far as exposure and sharpness were concerned. While I did have a light meter and pinhole exposure calculator I opted to just bracket around the exposures that had worked for me when I photographed The Manayunk Bridge. I made one exposure at two ,four, six and eight minutes. Long exposures for sure but bear in mind the ISO of photographic paper is around six ! Needless to say a sturdy tripod is a necessity.
I processed the negatives in Kodak HC-110 dilution B, the same dilution I use when processing film. Using film developer rather than paper developer slows down the process allowing the shadows in the image to develop fully without the highlights blowing out and can be developed by inspection under a safelight.
The negatives where scanned with an Epson V750 and converted to a positive in Lightroom. Eventually, I will move into the darkroom and make contact prints. Maybe even peel away the emulsion from the paper backing and make prints with an enlarger.
Link to Bob’s Diner on the 2022 Worldwide Pinhole Day web site.
Link to Manayunk Bridge pinhole photo on my bog.
Link To my 2017 WPPD entry on my blog.