Tag Archives: delio

July Recap

July was a busy month! We covered a lot of ground in pinhole – opening up some very interesting perspectives and adding to our catalog of technical articles. Check below to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Have you responded to our Call for Entry? If not, have a look! Entry is free!

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Brussels Rd Point - Rue Antoine Labarre - Jeanus Loctet - thumbAs always, we found some great fresh pinhole work. You can see July’s full gallery and links to past months here.

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Ljusets Hastighet - Lena Källberg 2016 - thumbWe explored the impressionistic views of life slipping by in Lena Källberg’s Decisive Movement work.

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NEW DAY - Michael D Hawley - thumbWe interviewed Michael D Hawley, the talented professional photographer from the Pacific Northwest, and learned how he grew up in photography and how it shaped his pinhole work.

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On the Move - Howard Mosier - thumbHoward Moiser brought us a new perspective on movement in his Relative Movement series.

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Finally, guest author Delio Ansovini shared with us his journey in IR pinhole, and shared some great data to get you started exploring the medium yourself.

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Pinhole Infrared by Delio Ansovini

Over a year ago we presented a fantastic guest article by Delio Ansovini covering the important aspects of camera geometry in pre-visualization of your pinhole photos. Today we are rejoined by Delio as he walks us through his IR process.

IR, or Infrared, is one of the more dramatic techniques available in film. Rather than exposing on the visible light spectrum that we see, Infrared film is exposed by the invisible Infrared waves that have just a bit longer wavelength than we can see. More importantly, to our purposes, the aesthetic of IR is dramatic because of the way that certain materials reflect more IR than others.

Shooting IR with a normal camera is a challenge, doubly so with a pinhole camera. The wavelength properties of pinhole, the film handling of IR, and reciprocity failure all combine to make a unique problem set. Below, Delio has put together his notes on learning IR pinhole. We hope this helps you on your journey to IR pinhole greatness!

On B/W Infrared Photography with 4×5 pinhole cameras

By Delio Ansovini

I started experimenting with infrared films using a pinhole camera in 2012 with a lens-less 6×9 Ikonta. It came out as an f316 with the R72 filter taped on to the mechanical shutter, all in front of the pinhole plate. Certainly it was awkward but…a functional arrangement. The Efke 820 was still ready available in the local stores so I made it my choice for infrared work.

There followed a couple of weeks of shooting around the local parks, all in the mid-daysun; high winds pushed the white clouds high in the sky across the frame creating very blurred streaked photographs. The poignant images were published in Blur Magazine in 2012.

Encouraged by how successfully they turned out, I ventured into the 4×5 format thinking that: aside from the much extended exposure time, there was not much difference in infrared photography between using a pinhole or a camera with a lens. What blessed ignorance; but here is the story one step at a time.

The film speed and exposure

It’s difficult to pinpoint an ISO rating for IR film because the ratio of infrared to visible light varies greatly from scene to scene and of course we can’t judge the difference since we can’t see IR reflections (IR frequencies are out of range for our eyes); nor can your off-the-shelf light meter help since it is calibrated for visible light.

Other factors affecting speed are the type of filter, the developer being used, and how you process the film. Some broad assumptions and decisions had to be made to eliminate the multitude of variables. Here’s my quick guide on how I initially approached the issues (since then revised):

  • I assumed that the sensitivity to visible light of the Efke IR820 was ISO100,
  • I used only the R72 filter and I assumed that factor was 5 stops.
  • I set the light-meter (L358) to ISO3, the lowest setting available. That is 5 stops from ISO100 using incident readings
  • I limited the pinhole 4×5 cameras to be used to the f175 and f250 only.
  • I used incident light readings at f22 and converted the exposure time from f22 to the pinhole camera f# using the following factors:
    • for f175 multiply the f22 exposure time by 63.3
    • for f250 multiply the f22 exposure time by 129.1
  • Add the reciprocity correction as in the following table.

recip correction efke


Development process

With the exposure method as established above, the first few 4×5 exposures were developed in a Unicolor tank using the Kodak Tmax Developer, 1+4 for 7minutes, all at 20C, in a continuous reversing agitation mode. I used 2 baths of water as stop wash for 3 minutes in total; fixed in Kodak Fixer for 10 minutes; washed for 20 min and hung to dry for 2 hours.

The results or lack of them

The negatives were underexposed; furthermore I noticed serious IR seepage through the camera’s felt gasket on both cameras and film holders dark slide when the camera was positioned in full sun for the required exposure.

I also felt that the TMax developer had no compensating properties at all, in fact rather useless for the application!

In short: neither my 4×5 cameras made in wood and Gator foam board, nor the old 4×5 dark slide in the aging film holders were infrared-proof. The relatively aggressive Tmax developer did not help either.

The fixes

The following procedural changes were implemented with good results with the 4×5 Efke IR820 film and the unmodified existing cameras and film holders.

  • Wearing latex gloves to handle the IR film for loading in full darkness, my fingerprints somehow became visible on the developed negatives if I did not use gloves.
  • Carry 3 film holders in an aluminum foil covered black plastic envelope. I used a recycled 8×10 film black plastic pouch, lined on the exterior with aluminum foil and double-sided sticky tape.
  • Load the film holder onto the camera in the shade and wrap the aluminum shield around the 3 sides of the camera covering the felt edge. Making sure the shutter is closed and locked in place, remove the blind slide and cover the top of the film holder with the shield.
  • Position the camera on the tripod in the sun for the shot.

Calculate the exposure as before but rating the film as follows:



• Open the shutter for the timed exposure.

Revised development process

Blown-out highlights are not my favorite attribute in a photograph, so I tried what I know works well with panchromatic films. My notes on the revised process read:

Film used: 4×5 Efke 820IR rated ISO25, f175, Filter R72, Exposure 15 minutes.
Film development: AdoxAPH09 1+100 for 15min In Rotary tank, continuous reversing; water wash 3 min; fixing 10 min.

The results after the fixes

All much better, no blow-out of the highlights, no elaborate PS editing with curves or masking, therefore I was quite happy.
However; the aluminum foil wrapping of the camera sitting on a tripod for 20 minutes or so did generate some amusing conversation with the curious (or alarmed?) passersby.
For that I devised a wooden back cover lined with foil, as shown in the photo. It is classier…

[singlepic id=415 w=600] [/singlepic]

Illustration legend:
1. The f250 back with the aluminum lining of the back cover
2. The back cover mounted on the camera
3. The camera front with the shutter (aluminum foil is lining the inside of the cap)
4. The R72 filter mounted in the camera inside. One of the three tabs is rotating so that the filter can be removed and the camera used with normal Pan film

Good things don’t last very long

First they discontinued the 4×5 Efke 820IR film, and then some chemist decided to change the formulation of the Adox APH09 so that what I used to dilute 1:100 I now have to dilute 1:40.

And yet I do sympathize with the individual in the German laboratory. I use only 120cc of APH09 working solution to develop 4-4×5 negatives. At 1:100 dilution it means 24 drops of APH09 concentrate from the 500cc bottle available. However; the compensating characteristics of the APH09 previous version are no longer there.

Fortunately we can be resourceful

Just a few weeks ago, I decided to revive two chemicals that I stored in glass jars- one is Sodium sulfite and the other is Metol. I purchased some distilled water and that’s all I needed to make the old D23 and, try it on a new Maco IR 820c.

New? Not quite, just new on eBay and available at a reasonable price. I did find this link to the film datasheet useful; in fact, I wish I had come across it earlier, although I enjoy the experimentation process.

In reference to the making of the D23

It’s easy, even I can do it; and very economical. As far as I know there is only one formula for making this developer, the one listed in Ansel Adams’s book “The Negative”.


Both chemicals can be purchased in powder form from Photographer’s Formulary, or as prepared solutions from B&H and others.

Well, the results of these two last process changes are shown in the photographs accompanying this article, and the details for each photograph are listed in my usual cryptic fashion. At least now you know what’s behind all the puzzling verbiage.

A warning to all that intend to use the data in this article: it works for me but it may be quite different for you. The major difference is in the agitation of my rotating developing tank which is quite unusual and energetic and cannot be controlled. At least the developing times, contrast and sharpness all reflect that.

In reviewing my writing along with the data published on the MACO IR820c data sheet referenced above, I become aware of a great discrepancy in the reciprocity factor to be used. This subjects maybe something to look into closer.

IR Sample Images

[singlepic id=422 w=600]The Midle of the Swamp, ©Delio Ansovini[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=418 w=600]The Ducks Pond, ©Delio Ansovini[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=417 w=600]Seat in the sun, ©Delio Ansovini[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=419 w=600]The Dunes, ©Delio Ansovini[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=421 w=600]The Rivulet, ©Delio Ansovini[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=420 w=600]The House on Fire, ©Delio Ansovini[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=416 w=600]Casa Loma Stables, ©Delio Ansovini[/singlepic]


Data for the photos presented

The swamp
The Duck Pond
Seat in the sun
The dunes
The rivulet

4×5 Pinhole
f175, L=35mm, Photo location: H. Park, Ontario
Date: June 2016
Film used: MACOPHOT-IR820c
Rated ISO 25 Exposure: 30 minutes
Filter.R72; Lighting: None;
Negative development: D23 1:1 for 11min In a Unicolor Rotary tank, continuous reversing agitation; no water wash; Neg. scanned 1200 dpi, RGB, spotted, duotone; framed to size.
The house on fire
Casa Loma

4×5 Pinhole
F250, L=50mm, Photo location: Casa Loma, Ontario
Date July 2016
Film used: MACOPHOT-IR820c
Rated ISO50, Exposure: 24minutes
Filter.R72; Lighting: None;
Negative development: D23 1:1 for 11min In a Unicolor Rotary tank, continuous reversing agitation; no water wash; Neg. scanned 1200 dpi, RGB, spotted, duotone; framed to size.

On Pinhole Camera Geometry: a Brief Overview

Editor’s Note: For this article, ƒ/D is pleased to present a contribution from guest author Delio Ansovini. We’ve featured Delio’s work previously on ƒ/D, where he showed an expert hand at still life subjects. If you look at his work enough, one thing that quickly begins to stand out is his exacting attention to detail in the framing of his shots. As a trained engineer, he has a firm grasp on the geometry involved in a camera’s configuration, and he’s graciously offered to put together some thoughts on how he approaches the subject for us. So without further ado, we present Delio Ansovini’s take on Pinhole Camera Geometry.

Geometry matters – because it is the geometry of a pinhole camera that defines the image taken with it.

The pinhole diameter, the size of the negative, the distance and position of the film and pinhole from each other, and the orientation of the camera toward the subject all affect the resulting image for one simple reason: light travels in a straight line.

Perspective geometry, which is stated simply as ‘…a way to give an illusion of three-dimensional depth when drawing on a flat surface’, very reliably does the rest.

Once we understand these concepts and techniques, the lack of a viewfinder doesn’t need to stop us from pre-visualizing the results.

First: What are view lines?

View lines provide us with a visual axis that defines what will be captured by the pinhole in the final image. The lines are a simple tool that you can apply to any camera to help with your visualization.

[singlepic id=78 w=350 float=left][/singlepic]Top Red View Lines
By visually following the line from the camera, you can observe what is included in the shot. Anything inside the extended two lines will be in; anything outside them will be out of the shot. It helps to use a pointer – I use a pencil positioned on the view line and I look at the sharp end pointed toward the subject. Others use 3 screws and line up the 2 screws with the subject. Regardless of your method, the top red lines are to help you visualize what will be included from left to right in your shot.

Side Red View Lines
Just as explained with the top lines, the red lines on the side of the camera extend from the edges of the film plane to the axis with the pinhole. For a 4×5 negative, the corners of the frame holder opening are the points to project to the sides of the box. For 6×6 the corners of the film mask are the ones to use. Again, like the top red view lines, you can visually follow the lines from the camera to the subject to visualize what will be in the shot, but for these lines, you’re visualizing what will be included from the bottom to the top of the shot.

Blue Horizontal and Vertical Lines
The blue projection lines from the pinhole to the edges of the camera are important to consider when applying your view lines. If the pinhole is recessed from the front plane of the camera, recess the convergence point of the view lines by the same amount.

[singlepic id=80 w=150 float=right][/singlepic]The Four Converging Planes
If you extend out the Red View Lines diagrammed above, you have an ever broadening plane extending from the front of the camera. The result is that the four intersecting lines generate four converging planes that extend from the film plane and intersect at the pinhole, then extend into the space beyond the camera.

To the right is my 4×5, f175 with the 130 deg view lines made with 2mm wide automotive vinyl pin striping. Note how if we visualize the extension of the View Lines towards the subject, we can see what the camera sees at that distance.

Second: Something borrowed from lens photography: the diagonal angle of view

You can find this angle value the fun way (do-it-yourself for those who like trigonometry) or “cheat” and use the app given below. Two factors directly change what the pinhole camera registers on a flat negative. First is the distance from the pinhole to the negative, and second is the size of the negative.

First, let’s look at the size of negative. Imagine that the image projected from the pinhole is a cone with a circular base sitting on top of a 6×6 negative while you are looking at the pointed apex. For a square negative, the vertical and horizontal perspective would not change since[singlepic id=77 w=350 float=left][/singlepic]the cone base will be tangential to both the vertical and horizontal sides, or for that matter with a larger diameter to each opposite corner of the negative.

The geometry will be totally different if the negative is, say 6×12, and we keep the height of the cone (the camera focal length) constant. If we look at the angle formed by the diagonal of the negative (from corner to corner), it is much larger than the 6×6 negative, even though the cone angle remains constant for both the vertical and horizontal planes as before. We call this diagonal measurement from corner to corner of the negative the diagonal angle of view. The diagram helps to visualize the concept.

This means that if we want to obtain a certain geometric perspective in our pinhole image and, for whatever reason, we have to change the negative size, we can use the diagonal angle of view as the constant factor while changing the distance from the pinhole to the negative. In short: a 6×6 cm. pinhole camera with focal length of 28mm has a diagonal angle of view of 113 deg.; the same as an 8x10in. (20.3×25.0cm.) pinhole camera with focal length of 106mm.

The two cameras will give you the same geometric perspective and both would be considered rather popular wide-wide angle pinhole cameras. Instead of the above, you can find the diagonal angle value with this handy program or this handy website.  Both the program and the website have features that calculate the diagonal of view based on your camera measurements. 

There are also personal reasons why I consider the diagonal angle of view important in designing or choosing a camera for a specific shot: I enjoy being able to have some control over the image. Moreover, I hate cropping 2/3 of the negative needlessly – film is too expensive to waste.

The following photos illustrate the visual difference in geometric perspective according to the diagonal angle of view and camera position on a 6×6 negative.

[singlepic id=81][/singlepic]
[singlepic id=83][/singlepic]
[singlepic id=84][/singlepic]
[singlepic id=85][/singlepic]

Note: the almost normal perspective lines in the first, the predominance of the hand railing on the second, and of course the lines divergence and convergences on the last two.  

Third: light gets tired travelling longer paths

The truth of the matter is that the path from the pinhole to the corners of the negative is longer than the one to its center. And it gets darker and mostly “unpleasant” for diagonal view angles above 130 deg.

On the other hand we photographers do love the drama of the vignette, the exaggerated convergence of lines, and the elliptical distortions in the corners. But there are limits, so we crop what we can’t distinguish or appreciate anymore.

I settled on 130 deg in my designs, based on what I like and my processes. Other will choose according to their own objectives and skills.

Some time ago I made a 4×5; f140; 21mm focal length; 149 deg diagonal view angle camera;  following are the camera and the drastically cropped image taken with it.

[singlepic id=72 w=325 float=left][/singlepic] [singlepic id=87 w=335 float=left][/singlepic]

At this point it is not only about geometry anymore: film used, exposure methods, developing products and methods all will contribute to getting details on the corners of your image and make the vignette less severe.

But above all it will be what you like and what you see in the images that you have made that counts. This is what makes pinhole photography so amazing.

Delio Ansovini: Still Life

At ƒ/D, our mission is to promote the art of pinhole photography. To date, we’ve been bringing daily pinhole photo features. But today we want to extend into our next branch of pinhole bliss – Artist Features!

For our first feature, we present the unique talent of Delio Ansovini! Delio was born in Parma, Italy in 1943 and spent his youth in Pavia and Vallemania. Professionally, he did his undergrad engineering studies in Pavia and Milan, before Continue reading Delio Ansovini: Still Life