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Solstice Is Solargraph Time

Near the solstice is the best time either to mount or to recover a solargraph, which is a long duration image of the sun using a simple pinhole camera. Persons who started an Anniversary Solargraph in celebration of Indiana's bicentennial should cover the pinhole and remove the can, open the can in a fairly dark room, and reveal their inaugural solargraph images. The photographic paper is still sensitive to light, so scan the image in a high resolution to preserve your personal snapshot of time.

Solargraph image from the Copshaholm pump house at the History Museum in South Bend, IN

Image: Solargraph at the Copshaholm pump house overlooking the History Museum in South Bend, IN, shows the path of the sun from July 12 to December 19, 2016.

You can also begin a new solargraph near the solstice to capture the full range of the sun's path over time. Solstice means "sun stands still" because the sun hardly moves along the horizon from day to day as it slows and then reverses its course in both June and December. If you don't start a solargraph near a solstice, you can still begin one anytime to get a unique photographic effect.

If you have an Anniversary Solargraph can but are not comfortable with reclaiming the image inside, please contact me and I'll do it for you. I appreciate your following through with this project, for which Ball Corporation in Monticello, IN, kindly donated clean aluminum cans with no sharp images.

With much anticipation, yesterday I recovered cans from multiple sites, and some of the solargraphs had seemingly disappointing results. There was water damage, curled paper, missing cans, unclear images. Don't despair. Each image is an original that reflects the time and place and circumstances of your experiment at that site. Science isn't always pretty, but it is always revealing.

Opened solargraph cans and photographic paper from December 19, 2016

Results from the 2016 Anniversary Solargraph project are at Snapshots of Time.

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