Apr 27, 2020

Coffee, Bourbon, and Pinhole Day

Four Bourbons
Pinhole Coffee Flat White Cup Camera
Kodak T-Max 400
10 seconds
There's a coffee shop in San Francisco called Pinhole Coffee (www.pinholecoffee.com). I've never been but based on info from pinhole friends of mine, and the name, it's a magical place. About a week ago Jeff McConnell, a pinholer based near NYC, suggested folks support Pinhole Coffee during the Covid-19 crisis by making a purchase from their online store. Wanting the magic to survive, I bought a few things. My good arrived few days later, just in time for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2020, so I decided to turn the ceramic Flat White Pinhole Coffee Cup into an anamorphic pinhole camera.

The pinhole-ish looking logo from a Vinyl Me, Please shipping box (I joined VMP in the middle of the night early in the Covid shut down...anxiety shopping I don't regret) was a perfect fit for the top of the cup. I created the pinhole using a sewing needle and heavy aluminum foil. I checked the pinhole for roundness using my phone camera (not sure this actually works...but it looked round in the picture, so I'll pretend it does until proven otherwise). Next I cut a test strip of film to determine sizing inside the cup and figure out how to attach the film to keep it from moving around. The solution = lots of tape.

With a plan in place, I went into my darkroom (bathroom tub, shower curtain closed, towels stuffed into the gap under the bathroom door, fingers crossed the light still seeping in around the door frame doesn't ruin the film) to cut the film, arrange it in the cup, and tape the pinhole cover on top. The process took about 15 minutes. The tape and pinhole cover took a walk in the dark for a bit requiring me to hunt around unsuccessfully until finally I shoved the open end of the cup against my chest and turned on the light to find them. They were literally between my feet, the one place I didn't check.

The goods
Pinhole Day in Nashville was cold and rainy. I looked around the house for inspiration and decided on a bourbon shot...four favored bottles specifically: Eliza Craig Small BatchHudson Baby BourbonLarceny, and, my favorite, George Dickel Bottled in Bond.

The film was exposed for about 10 seconds (total guess since I didn't know the pinhole size, and, depending on which part of the film we're talking about, focal length could be anywhere between 20 mm and 70 mm).

The final image ended up as confusing as any other anamorpic pinhole, screwing with perspective, requiring viewers to figure out how to piece the image together. There are a couple places where the tape is outlined.

It's an interesting enough picture and I enjoyed making it (perfect for a Pinhole Day project), but I doubt I'll go through the process again; too much work with too much uncertainty. Instead, I'll stick to drinking coffee (or bourbon) out of my Pinhole Coffee cup.

Thank you to Joellen, Pinhole Coffee's owner, for getting the order to me so quickly. Have a look at their online store (pinholecoffee.square.site) and consider giving them some support. Their coffee is excellent, the magic is real.
Vinyl and Pinhole...about as nerdy as it gets
Figure out how to keep the film in place
Vinyl Me, Please logo was a perfect fit
Pinhole looks round enough
Darkroom prep didn't help
Final camera
Image set up

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