Guest Post: London 1+30 by Danny Kalkhoven

The first time that I visited London with a pinhole camera, I had about one hour…
After a business trip to Southend, on our way back to the airport, my collegue and me figured we had an hour between arriving at Tower hill station and boarding the DLR to London city airport. I had taken my homebuilt 6X6 along, and already had taken some shots in the hotel, of which I didn’t expect too much (which proved correct).

So what we would do: walk to the Tower Bridge, so at least we would have seen that
landmark structure. When we got there, it was raining a bit, not much light in the air. But still we walked as planned. We had to see it, as both of us never visited London before.While we ‘enjoyed the view’ of rainy London, I thought “well, as long as I’m here, I might as well expose that last few shots on my film, despite the rain. And I’m glad I did, it gave me an image of the bridge I’m happy with. My collegue is in the picture to, he’s the ghostly figure making photo’s with his iphone.

pic1towerbr

The second time I had 30 hours. This time I was alone, and arrived on a Saturday morning to visit the Ansel Adams exhibition in Greenwich. Yes I know, he worked with lenses, but nevertheless this was an opportunity to see his work in Europe.
As my return to NL was on a flight Sunday early afternoon, there was plenty of time
to walk around in Greenwich and look for nice images. And fortunately this time it
was a sunny day. Lots of opportunities for nice shots unfolded, walking between the
classical buildings of Greenwich.

pic3queenscoll

pic2queenshouse

Living in Utrecht/NL I am not used to a site with such a collection of buildings, colonnades, views etc. And when I went into the local Starbucks for a cup of coffee, well, just put the camera on the table, open the shutter and see what happens.

pic5grwchstarb

And when I went up in the park to visit the royal observatory there was a nice surprise: there’s a camera obscura building up there! Of course I entered and enjoyed it, and couldn’t resist to take a pinhole image of the building. A case of camera obscura photographing a camera obscura

pic4grwobscura

Next morning I took the DLR and “the tube” back to Stansted airport, but with a detour that took me along Abbey road, where I did what millions of people do there, on a certain crossing. But I did it without a lens!

pic6abbeyroad

Lessons learned from these two trips:

– even in just one hour you can get a glimpse of a location, and if you’re lucky you can take away a nice pinhole image

– 30 hours is better than one hour, you get more glimpses and more images

– there’s a real life-size camera obscura in Greenwich

Camera’s used:

DK2: old Agfa folder converted into 6X6 superwide 30 mm F/150

DK8: old Zeiss folder converted into 6X9 wide 40 mm F/160

Fuji film, some converted into B&W in photoshop elements. scanner Epson 4490 photo.

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