Create your own solargraph
Want to snap a photo that captures months in a single frame? Solargraphs images are a fusion of art and science. With a few basic materials and a generous helping of patience, you can capture the grand scale of the universe in your own backyard. As solargraphy enthusiast Chuck Bueter says: “It’s visceral, it’s fun, it’s science.” YOU WILL NEED
• A clean, empty drink can • Matte black spray paint • A sewing needle or pin • Pliers • Scissors • A red light ( e. g. a torch covered in
red cellophane) • Black and white photographic paper • Black duct tape • Access to a photo scanner
1 Cut off the top end of the can and spray the inside with black paint to minimise reflections. 2 Using the sewing needle or pin pinched in pliers, punch a hole in the side of the can from the inside outwards. The hole should be about 3 cm from the sealed bottom end of the can. 3 In a dark room or wardrobe, using your red light to see, take a piece of photographic paper and trim it to fit inside the can. It should curl around the inner walls but not cover the pinhole. Make sure the lightsensitive side is facing the pinhole. Secure the paper with a small piece of duct tape. 4 Close off the top of the can with duct tape, making sure no light can get in. Then use a piece of tape to cover the pinhole (your ‘shutter’). 5 Mount the can securely outside (e.g. on a pole or fence) with the hole facing the Sun. Choose a place where you will not only capture the Sun but also some interesting foreground objects. When you are ready, peel off the ‘shutter’ and the exposure will begin. It is recommended to start at either the summer or winter solstice, and let the exposure go until the next solstice. 6 When you are ready to take down the can, cover the pinhole ‘lens’ again with tape. Before you open the can, prepare for the next step. Have your scanner switched on and ready to scan. Ensure the room is as dark as possible. Extract the photographic paper and quickly scan it; you only want to scan your paper once, as the scanner’s light will expose your ‘film’ further. 7 Once scanned, use digital editing tools to adjust contrast and brightness. Now you have a stunning image to share!
DO IT YOURSELF