About the needle for the aperture

I would like to talk about the needle you have to use, to make the hole in the foil and eventually becomes your aperture.

With other words the opening where the light will come through during the extreme long exposure photography.

It is so, that if you shoot with a regular camera the opening of your lens at the time of exposure will define how much dept of field you will end up in the image after exposure.

Meaning that the wider your opening (smaller number on the lens) the less dept of field you will have.

The smaller your opening (bigger number on the lens), the more dept of field.

Dept of field means how much sharpness you will have towards the front and the back in the image.

With the opening in the foil it’s actually the same, with the difference that it is not so extreme as in a normal camera.

The ‘disadvantage’ here is that you don’t have a lens !

Meaning that the sharpness of the image here is going to be ‘relative’.

The image will never be as sharp as with a normal camera.

Although you have to bear in mind that the rule here counts equally.

That’s why I advice you to use an as tin as possible needle to make the opening in the foil. I use N° 11 whatever that may mean in knitting world… 😉

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Preserving the negative

I would like to share a remarkable discovery about preserving the Solargraphy Negative.

To my current knowledge, so far there was no way to preserve the negative for the future. The traditional way of ‘fixing’  a negative is done with a ‘fixer’. Meaning that the negative is preserved for the future, and for further use of enlarging a print.

Since you don’t run the b/w paper, that is used for a Sun Photograph, through any chemicals, it may come as a surprise to you, that so far there has not really been found a way of preserving the paper ‘negative’. If you are familiar with darkroom technique you’re aware that if you put the photographic b/w paper in a developer first, (but in this case we can not do so) because it would become completely black, due to the extreme long exposure photography.

Obvious we skip this part of the process…:-)

After some experimenting I seem to have discovered a way to be able to do so.

The next step is the stop bath ( you can use diluted ordinary table vinegar ).

We need to put the negative in this solution first, to stop the process of being exposed and influenced further by light.

Let is sit for about a minute or so.

Next we need a fixer ( this one you need to buy in yr local photo store ).

This solution makes sure that all influences stop from changing the negative.

Let it sit for about 3 minutes in the solution, and then rinse it for 5 minutes in clear water.

Dry after rinsing.

Although the negative seems to preserve now ( have no long term experience so far ) I would advice to keep the negative in a dark space, even after this treatment.

This way you make sure it is preserved under the best conditions.

I think this is a cool discovery !

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How does a solar negative look

How does a solarnegative look

Here you can see how a Solar Negative looks when it comes right out of the canister.

Notice all the detail in this image.

On the sides of the image you can clearly notice, that it has been violated with water.

This risk, which is part of the process, can enhance it’s uniqueness and beauty.

Without the effects of the weather elements it would not be the same.

This goes beyond imagination, it gives tremendous added value to the image.












The Suikerui in AntwerpThis is the final result after the image has been altered with Photoshop. Notice that the image has been flipped horizontally, to make sure it fits reality.























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When and where to place your canisters


It happens every time when I’ve put my canisters into place.
When going back after some time to check out if the canisters  are still in place, I found out that 50% of them are gone.
Most of the time they are taken away by people who find them, and out of curiosity rip them from there place to check out what they are.
So one time when I was placing my canisters, I noticed that people who see what you are doing, go check out what is was you where doing after your gone. Just like that, out of curiosity.

So after discovering this, I made sure that I was not seen by people when I was placing my canisters.
A good plan is to do this early in the morning, at night, or in the early evening.
There are far less people around that time of the day.
Disadvantage is that you have to plan out beforehand how the path of the sun is traveling through the landscape your are wanting to photograph.
Takes a bit more time and planning, but it’s the only way to avoid your canisters been stolen.

It isn’t always that easy, cause I like to make images from street views on a lower point of view level.
This means that it is more difficult to not been noticed by people.
So, now I go out at night to place the canisters.
This seems to work, cause so far all the canisters I’ve placed are still in place.

Another thing to pay attention to, is to try to hide your canisters.
Could be on a higher place, behind a traffic sign, underneath some plant(s), in a nich, etc…

All these little precautions make sure your valuable canisters are kept from being stolen.

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Size of the B/W photopaper

To make sure you can prepare well, it is inevitable to know the size of the piece of b/w photographic paper that is going to be inserted in the canister (pot).

So if you cut out a piece of 70mm by 45mm it should fit fine.

Make sure NOT to cover the hole that is provided to function as the shutter !

It should keep a space of about 10mm between the beginning and the end of the paper.



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How to process the B/W Photopaper

Under normal classic conditions, the b/w photographic paper is put into a chemical solution (developer) to make the image visible.
Not so when you are experimenting with Solargraphy.
The exposed paper is scanned in a dark environment (special darkroom light can be obtained) and developed in Photoshop.
It is advisable to prepare, and do a test with an other piece of paper, preferably one that is stiffer and is the same size as your b/w paper.
My experience is that it is best to tape an L shaped template on top of the glass of your scanner so it is affixed and stable.
You will next run a test with the template and a piece of paper (the same size of the b/w paper that you will be using), letting the scanner determine where the final place of the b/w paper is going be on your screen.
This way you can safely run a high resolution scan with just one scanning, without risking the image being influenced by the extreme light source of the scanner.
Hereby a picture of how I solve this problem.
It tells more than a thousand words…










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How to make your own canister_free pdf !

Due to high demand of people interested in how to make your own canister I decided to make an extensive explanation on how to to this. I tried to make it as easy as possible and together with text put in some explicit photos also, so its really handy for you to make it work.

This way it should be a no-brainer to do this.

I hope it makes you go ahead for this fun experiment.

Enjoy !


Click here to download










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Who Invented The Camera Obscura

The question ‘who invented the camera obscura’ got me busy lately and after some thorough investigation I found out that actually nobody seemed to have invented the Camera Obscura.

It would not be a crazy idea to imagine that our ancestors ( homo erect us or cavemen ) must have noticed the external landscapes appearing upside down on the wall of their cave-homes, but presumably didn’t have a clue what caused this phenomena as a wall paper…

When becoming aware that this is actually a naturally occurring thing since the beginning of light, we can start to see how a camera is based to work on this principals.

So asking who invented the camera obscura is a bit of an ought question no ?

You might as well ask who invented the light….

Over the ages a lot of people have made a contribution in many ways to the Camera Obscura and pinhole concept as we know it today, but the principal about the underlying optical laws that are part of nature are the fundamentals where it all is based on.

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Is A Pinhole Camera The Same As A Camera Obscura

Light Rays make it so that we can see.

As a natural phenomena, light finds an entry at the front of your eye and the first thing it meets is your pupil.

Then it goes through a ‘lens’ to make sure you get to see everything in focus.

Ones past the lens it finally arrives at the end of your retina, where light sensitive cells are gathered together to make sure your brain is informed what you are seeing.

The image that is formed at the back of your eye is upside down. Your brain flips it back in normal position.

A pinhole camera is a sort of camera obscura which literally means ‘dark room’.( your eye is a bit the same )

In fact all photographic cameras are.

A pinhole camera is a light tight box or can with a tiny opening so light rays can find it’s way in and influence the light sensitive material that is placed at the back of the container.

The light sensitive material is then flipped by either an enlarger ( chemical way ) or computer ( digital way ).

When you observe cameras that are build with a pinhole size aperture, they usually are mend to expose any photographic material available but have little value if used as a viewing device or underground reference for painting or drawing. ( The famous painter Vermeer used this viewing device to create his paintings. )

Reason for this is that the optical appearance that is emitted by the pinhole is so dim that the representation of the external form would be almost impossible to see.

The overall of camerae obscurae ( seems to be the correct plural ) are constructed with optical devices build in the aperture.

These days we are all familiar with sharp and bright images due to this.

There are some art photographers who use room size camera obscura. Way of doing this is shutting out all daylight that comes through the windows.

This is very easy obtained by using big pieces of black plastic and gaffer tape to stick the plastic to the windows.

After all windows are thoroughly blackened, an opening is made about the size of quarter piece.

Best place is about the center of the surface covered by the plastic.

This way the light gets as equally divided as possible over the room.

Ones this work is done you only need to stay in the room for a few minutes till your eyes are adapted to the dim light coming in.

After adapting you start to see the representation of the external but upside down.

Ones you see what’s on the walls you set a ‘normal’ analogue or digital camera in position and extreme long expose ( long but not as long as Sun Photography or Solargraphy ) till you get the overall look of the room wrapped in what is happening on the outside.

Using a digital camera is an advantage because you can check the result right after long extreme exposing.

It saves you lots of time just in case anything goes wrong afterwards.

I’ve done it ones and it felt like I was in a movie. I saw the cars driving, people walking by and even the clouds in the sky. I have a good friend who does this kind of Art Photography.

You can check out her website and admire here beautiful world.

Enjoy !

Please feel free to leave your comments, ideas, remarks, proposals etc…

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What is Solargraphy




is an extraordinary and easy photographic method to catch the path of the Sun onto a piece of black & white photographic paper or any other light sensitive material, by use of extreme long exposure.
Any 35mm black film canister, tin or black box can be used as a pinhole camera which in turn, when prepared correctly, will provide pinhole exposure images.
My favorite model is a 35mm plastic black film canister, because it’s ready to use, needs hardly any work, and is free available at your local photo development store.
Advantage also is that you save the environment from plastic waste !
Surprisingly so, no photographic chemical agent or process is used to develop the black and white sensitive material to make the image visible.
The Path of the Sun and the surrounding landscape is directly ‘burned’ on the b/w photographic paper, and is ‘fixed’ by use of a computer, and a scanner in combination with an imaging process software.
The most remarkable thing about this method, is the fact that although a piece of black and white photographic paper is used as light sensitive material inside the pinhole camera, the outcome is a color image.
Ones the canister is tightly placed, the exposure times can run from 1 day to 6 months !
Because of this, you could also call it Long Exposure Photography. The longer you expose the black and white paper to the sun, the more each path of the sun will be visible.

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