If it is not challenging, I don’t like it

April 28, 2024

At the beginning of April I went back to Italy for a few days, spending some time in Rome and then back to Ferrara, my hometown.
It was a great opportunity to take some pictures, so I took a MIA 6x9m (27mm focal length which you can find it here) with me, with the hope to get some decent negatives to print later in the darkroom.
Once in Rome, I got a pleasant warm and sunny welcome: roughly 25 degrees C and very sunny and bright days ahead. What more can you ask for?
Well, perhaps a tripod and some filters?
Yes, because I soon realised to have just brought the camera and some rolls of Kentmere 100, having left my trusty Artcise CS20C, the filters and the filter holder at home in the UK!

MIA 6x9m

At the beginning I felt a bit discouraged because I really wanted to get some images back home and, despite the bright days, the tripod was an essential tool.
At this point the only option I got was to be creative, and make use of the ground or any other stable area to support my camera and trying to be as still as possible (no shaky hands!), since the exposure times were almost always around 1 sec.
I did not have a lot to loose, just some films at most, so I gave it a go.
I am posting here all the images I got both in Rome and in Ferrara, since, despite all the challenges, I managed to get some decent results, which demonstrate that pinhole photography does not have to scary at all. It can be challenging but, as usual, it is just a matter of practice.
Now, the composition is not always spot on, same with the exposures, but I think I have some decent negatives to work with, and hopefully I will be able to obtain some wet prints to display.

As you can see, some of the pictures are under exposed and some are over exposed. These are the files just as they came out from the scanner, no post production at all.
And, of course, some are a bit blurry because I moved the camera. That’s the main challenge without the tripod.
I was expecting these images to be soft, which is the main characteristic of the “slot” pinhole plate, but I find it quite pleasant and not disturbing.
Another challenge I encountered was the difference in exposure due to the bright light. You can see in the 6th image that the sky and the palace are decently exposed, but everything else (what’s in the shadow) is quite under exposed. I hope to be able to adjust this with a bit of dodge/burn in the darkroom.

The first roll in 6×9 went pretty smoothly, so I decided to try the 6×6 format.
With this roll I just missed a shot because I forgot that I had already advanced the frame.
Again, these images are as straight out of the scanner and I’ve discovered that some of them have a few streaks of water. Something that I need to take care of before the wet printing.
I think these would look good as contact print.

I travelled to Rome to attend a concert of an Italian singer-songwriter, who was performing at the “Auditorium Parco della Musica” named after Ennio Morricone, which is quite a stunning place, designed by Renzo Piano.

After a few days in Rome, I travelled back to my hometown Ferrara. There I finally got hold of my tripod and some filters but, as I said, I did not have a filter holder with me, so I resorted to hold the filter in front of the pinhole by hand.
I have to admit I am not very happy with these images, since they are all under exposed. I have to refine my techniques with the filters.

A couple of images were taken indoor (since I had to finish the roll…) and some I think are salvageable in the darkroom, but I had a lot of fun and I managed to get some material for some future work.