Solargraphy is the art of long exposure photography that captures of the image of the sun moving across the sky. These exposures can last days, months, even years. You do this by converting a beer can into a pinhole camera, by loading it with photographic paper and leaving it outside facing the sky. I first learned about this technique whilst doing a wet plate collodion course in Scotland last year and it totally fascinated me. It’s a combination of photography, art and astronomy all rolled into one and the results are just mind blowing!
During lockdown I finally found the time to try this technique out and left a number of solarcans in position, including one overlooking Tynemouth Priory. This solarcan recorded the path of the sun for the first 50 days of lockdown and here is the finished result below, along with a photo of the pinhole camera in position:
After the success of my first solar graph I was hooked and started putting up some more solarcans, from my garden fence, to some well known spots around the North East. See some of the spots below:
The problem with attaching beer cans to public places, is that they always seem to draw attention of curious people. I’ve had three cans damaged or removed on the High Level Bridge, two damaged next to the Angel of the North and lots more just completely disappeared. However the buzz you feel when one remains intact and in position upon your return in amazing! Here’s a few more examples of some of my solargraphs below:
The best thing about Solargraphy is that literally anyone can do it! All you need is the following:
1. Some empty beer cans (ideally 330ml cans)
2. Light sensitive photographic paper (5x7”) (Available online)
3. Waterproof gaffer tape
5. Pin or Sewing needle
6. Cable ties to fasten solarcan in place
If you would like to give it a go, here are the step by step instructions below:
I hope you all enjoyed reading this blog and if you have any questions, please feel free to fire them over. Enjoy giving this a go. I’ve got lots of new solar cans ready to go out after Winter Solstice!