5 Frames… In the Great Kiva with Kodak Portra 400 (EI 400 / 120 format / Reality So Subtle 6X6F) – by Kathleen E. Johnson

Written by and published on .

The Great Kiva was reconstructed in 1934 by Hopi and Puebloan workers. This site was part of the extended Chaco Canyon regional cluster of settlements and is part of the Chaco Culture National Historic Park. The Aztec Ruins* became a National Monument in 1923, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, and became a World Heritage Site in 1987.

* A misnomer of course, because this was built by the “Ancient Ones” circa 11th-13th Centuries BCE.

I was on my road trip home from the Mayo Clinic and planned to spend 2019 Pinhole Day at Aztec Ruins National Monument. I had been there before with my Mamiya 7 with mixed results, so I hadn’t posted much. I wanted another chance to photograph the Great Kiva, which I had found to be a soothing and meditative space; something that I needed after my 5 months at the Mayo.

 My Pinhole camera choice, the Reality So Subtle 6X6F (F for Filter). After performing time testing in Arizona, I thought long exposures of the interior space would work best. I think this turned out to be true. Another advantage of the 5-minute exposures is that people passing through the space do not appear in the images. I enjoyed my results so much that I acquired a 6X9F version of the camera. I am, after all, more attracted to the non-square image. My only criticism is the lack of a cable release option. This makes exposures of less than 10 seconds fuzzy. So grab some slow film to do the long exposures outside.

And, I finally submitted an image to the World Wide Pinhole Day site. Last year I had a great image but never uploaded it. Darn! But this year I didn’t let it pass me by.

~ Kate


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Kathleen Johnson is a World Traveler, Outdoors Adventurer, Research Scientist and Photographer. She has been making photographs since childhood, but began serious photography as an undergraduate taking her first B&W photography class, and renewed an interest in B&W while living in Monterey, California, studying photography at Monterey Peninsula College. Kathleen’s preferred subjects are: Landscapes and Architecture. She makes silver prints in her own home darkroom.

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