If you’re looking to do a solargraphy project by leaving a pinhole camera in a place for months, a bridge above a busy freeway is not a smart location choice.
Someone doing this caused a bomb scare in Virginia back in 2013, and it looks like the exact same thing caused a ridiculously huge commotion in Atlanta, Georgia this morning. A busy freeway was shut down in both directions, and a bomb squad was called out to detonate the device.
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Solargraphy involves using a pinhole camera to shoot extremely long exposures of scenes. Photographers who engage in it often leave their cameras fixed to outdoor locations for months or years in order to capture the path of the sun across the sky.
Waiting until the whole exposure is complete before seeing if an image turned out is painful enough, but there’s another major difficulty that can cause practitioners pain: the cameras are sometimes mistaken for bombs.
The Giottos Rocket is a popular tool used by photographers to remove dust from cameras and glass, but if you’re in love with yours, you might want to think twice about flying with it. Reddit user gynoceros found out the hard way that some TSA airport screeners aren’t too enthusiastic about the Rocket’s shape. He writes,
FYI — If you attempt to fly with a Giottos Rocket Blower (you know, rubber bulb you squeeze to force air down a nozzle to blow dust off your sensor — no metal, no moving parts), the TSA may confiscate it because it “looks like a bomb”, no questions asked.
Just f**king happened to me in Newark. I knew I’d get robbed in Newark one day.
To be fair, it does have an uncanny resemblance to “Fat Man“…
Image credit: Rocket Power by Adam Mulligan
If you’re planning to try your hand at solargraphy, it might be a good idea to label the pinhole camera before placing it out in public — when one was spotted at Central Washington University, it was reported as a bomb and caused part of the campus to be shut down for four hours!
[…] a groundskeeper found a cylinder with duct tape on it. Officers closed a street while an Army explosive ordnance disposal team from the Yakima Training Center traveled to Ellensburg to check it out the unidentified object.
The chief says it contained what appeared to be film and could have been a camera made for some project. [#]
Since solargraph cameras are sometimes exposed for up to half a year, there’s probably a solargraph photographer somewhere out there crying right now.
Suspicious device at CWU was homemade camera [The Seattle Times]
Image credit: Beer Can Cameras by andeecollard