Extremely Long Exposures - for Months and Years

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by ci_xa|1, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Hello, I am interested in making extremely long exposures: of the order of many months, perhaps a few years.
    E.g: http://photoslaves.com/open-shutter-by-michael-wesely/
    Could anyone tell me how this is performed? What sorts of film and/or paper is optimal? Can this be accomplished only with pinhole cameras?
    Thank you.
  2. Michael Wesely's site only lists his galleries. Upon writing to them I have received no responses. Hopefully someone out here knows more about this.
  3. I suggest you look into solargraphy, which does essentially this but pointed at the sun (using pinhole cameras and photo paper).
    At least 1 of the photos linked above appears to have water spots - it's possible he had a clear piece of glass or plastic over the pinhole to protect it.
  4. Here I did thus decades ago (1960's 1970's) with:
    (1) Blueline paper and diazo films (ammonia developed); or
    (2) contact photo films (standard B&W dev/stop/fix)
    One placed the material in double box; ice chest; any large box and used a pinhole; and exposed for days; months; even a year
    With (1) the modern stuff of today takes about 10 seconds to expose with in full sunlight; with no lens. Ie ones hand on the material if one goes outside blocks the sun's UV rays. In a camera with a piece of material at the film place it is vasty longer; the glass hacks off most all the UV; thus think F1 and hours and days as the speed! A pinhole at F256 is *way* faster than a lens at F256 by many T stops; unless one uses a quartz lens. These material here are exposed by a 5000 watt UV bulb in the quartz cylinder of a blueline machine in normal usage.
    With (2) with slow contact papers and films for repro work; the bulb was often and arc lamp at 240 volts for 10 seconds
    Both (1) and (2) as an ASA speed are in the dirt; an exposure inside of the shop at F4 might make the light bulbs show up in a week; with nothing else at all!
    I got the idea decades ago from a Pop Photo magazine at my grade schools library; a pre WW2 issue say 1930's.
    Thus none of this is really new; it is at least 70 years old.
    Many old repro stuff is UV sensitive and about nothing else. Thus Daizo (Ammonia developed) films here are handled in room light; with the fluorescents off if one has to cut or handle it for many minutes. Under 200Watt Edisons bulbs about 6 feet away; one has a safelight time of maybe 1/2 to 1 hour. With a bank of two 40 watt Fluorescents; Diazo films can ruin in say 5 minutes since more UV is emitted.
    (3) You too can just try slow contact paper too; and use the paper negative to make a positive print; this is *WAY* faster than (1) or (2). It also works better with a lens too; since many papers see actual blue besides UV
  5. I'm thinking pinhole with welding lens window...
  6. I suspect he views his developed technique of doing things like year-long exposures as proprietary material. It would take years of experimentation to nail it.
    You'll learn a lot about reciprocity failure working on exposures as long as his. Also about 1000X neutral density filters -- maybe stacked.
  7. glenn is probably right.
  8. Wow they are amazing photos for sure .
    I don't think it would be hard to do from a technical point of view as working out exposure is just doing the math but actually doing it is another thing , setting up any sort of camera for that long would not be easy ,finding a place to set it up could be hard as well .
    I have seen some similar shots from people who have done exposures over several hours that look good but they were with more static elements like water with stable landscape .
  9. Look up Justin Quinnell, pinhole photography. He did a six-month exposure.
  10. Kelly, could you please answer some of my questions based on your post?
    1. What do you mean when you say ' A pinhole at F256 is *way* faster than a lens at F256 by many T stops;' ?
    2. What speeds of photo film do you recommend? Or photo paper.
    Assuming I were to make a year long exposure, can anyone tell me the approximate math behind it?
    Also: I have spoken with Mr Quinnell. His technique is a simple beer-can pinhole camera with photopaper.
  11. Daniel. I have photographed 'welding operations - up close'. I used to, before I retired, train welders and I used the resulting images as demonstration pictures. Welding filters are not that good a quality and can vary in density through the grades available. I ended-up using stacked ND filters.
    I would suggest that you use photographic quality ND filters which will also give you the advantage of being able to 'stack or unstack' them with predictable results.
  12. Have you thought about just stacking multiple exposures digitally?
  13. Reciprocity failure at these times is a major concern as the film manufacturers do not publish this info. Experimentation with careful note taking can help, but getting linear results normal looking results like the posted photos in at best difficult. Some tricks include pretrating film to modify its reciprocity results is one thing thats been done. (Take some film off the bulk roll and presoak it, dry it and spool it in the dark) Chems used for the presoak can be alluded to on internet searches but I couldn't find live links to actual formula. another trick used that really works for months exposure is a shutter that is operated for 1 second every day at a specific time. The exposure is actually 300 seconds for 300 days, much easier to predict the reciprocity results and it still integrates all that happens at the scene over 300 days on a single piece of film.
    I have to say that the easiest way to do that kind of image now is a digital camera taking 300 photos that are then merged into a single image.
  14. *** Ci;
    Re "1. What do you mean when you say ' A pinhole at F256 is *way* faster than a lens at F256 by many T stops;' ?"
    A F256 pinhole is 100 transparent to ultraviolet light.
    A common optical glass BK7 lens with a F256 stop is about opaque in short UV light. Optical Glass in a lens is not transparent to UV light that is used with many old reprographic films. Some of these films were exposed in contact going through a blueline machine with a 6000 watt bulb; the blueline machines cylinder is made out of quartz and is transparent to UV. The blueline machine's has the 6000 watt bulb in center of a cylinder that revolves; one is doing a contact print of an engineering vellum.
    In lay terms a common optical lens is like a quartz optical lens with a super super dark ND filter.
    These old reprographic films were/are handlied under room lights; ie filament bulbs that emit little UV
    You did not need a ND filter or welding glass.. The repro films for contact printing were so slow one needed many seconds of direct exposure with a 6000 watt UV lamp that runs so hot that one is moving 500 to 1200 cubic feet of air past the bulb.
    This old UV contact film was slow that one handled it inside under 1930's type 200 watt edison bulbs. You developed' stopped and fixed it with the room lights on.
    The "speed" of this UV repro contact film was faster than getting a sunburn; maybe 1000 times slower than the slowest contact paper most folks use.
    UV Films that have an ASA/ISO in the mud rarely have a Reciprocity failure; many old Kodak spectral plates were like this.
  15. CI
    I; my comment was
    "In a camera with a piece of material at the film place it is vasty longer; the glass hacks off most all the UV; thus think F1 and hours and days as the speed! A pinhole at F256 is *way* faster than a lens at F256 by many T stops; unless one uses a quartz lens."
    If you place a film that is *only sensitive to UV* in a regular camera; the lens is about opaque. The lens passes little UV light
  16. I think it is not a pinhole because of the shape of the ghosts in the the 4th image.

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