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Documenting National Parks and Historic Sites With Pinhole Photography

This project starts with a trip from California to Florida to take black and white landscape photographs of National Parks and historic sites with my handmade pinhole camera. My final goal is publishing a fine art photography book of my pinhole images. 

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from Artists Point
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from Artists Point

This will be the first fine art photography book that I will make. Having my pinhole photographs presented in book form has been a dream of mine since I started making my own cameras. 

Why National Parks?

National Parks are important to me. Three hours from my house stand some of the largest living things on the planet. Right next door to them is a breathtaking granite valley that has inspired John Muir, Ansel Adams, Stephen Mather and millions of others. These parks are the cornerstone of American retreats and vacations, destinations that inspire and continue to excite. They are a literal breath of fresh air, away from cities and stress that make up the daily grind. Without more people to fall in love with the outdoors, concrete and square tracks of grass will become what we're used to. We're lucky to have extraordinary outdoor places where we can escape to share our common history. Critics will say that these kinds of photographs have been done before. They have. But for someone hard of hearing you have to keep repeating things to get a point across. It's amazing that there are places that have stayed the same over a hundred year span. If we hadn't protected these areas from development, there's no knowing what they would look like. This isn't just a photo book for others to look at. It is an example of what you can do with our nation's parkland. You can be inspired to create art, write novels, dance, or just meditate on their beauty.

I've been shooting landscapes like these with my current version of my handmade camera.

Point Reyes Lighthouse
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Old Faithful, Yellowstone
Old Faithful, Yellowstone

What are the funds for?

The budget for this trip has been calculated to include funds for the trip itself, the rewards given including the book, Kickstarter fees, and photographic supplies. If I happen to get funding above my goal, I can add more places to the list of stops. The cost of ordering the books goes down the more I print. My goal of 100 photo books will keep costs down. 

Some of the stops include:

  • Pinnacles National Park (the newest of the NPs)
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park 
  • Bryce Canyon National Park 
  • Zion National Park 
  • Rocky Mountain National Park 
  • The Alamo 
  • Sante Fe 
  • Big Bend National Park 
  • New Orleans 
  • Providence Canyon State Park 
  • Everglades National Park

The trip now sits at 37 days. This trip is planned October 2013, almost immediately after the campaign ends. If I reach my goal faster than 30 days, I can start booking camping spots sooner. Being home before Thanksgiving will give me time to develop and scan my images. I would like to have books ordered and ready for delivery before Christmas 2013.

I currently develop and scan my images at the http://harveymilkphotocenter.org

Dale & Ashley with Betty White
Dale & Ashley with Betty White

This is where you guys help me. Without your help I won't be able to go as far or as in depth. I can do small parts of this project over time, visiting a few parks a year, but with your help, I can get on the road with Betty and Dale to show you much more. You can help me get to more parks and get the best photographs possible from all over the country. 

Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore

 Articles about my project:

http://petapixel.com/2013/09/24/photographer-sets-document-national-parks-pinhole-camera/

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/09/photographer-seeking-funds-pinhole-national-park-project23972

http://haighteration.com/2013/09/a-tale-of-two-kickstarters.html

http://www.thebolditalic.com/articles/3725-quench-your-state-park-thirst-with-these-pinhole-photos

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

One of the greatest risks of traditional black and white film photography, is you don't know what has turned out until you develop. Digital photography lets you check as soon as you shoot and gives you the opportunity to take as many as you want, at low cost, until you get it right. With shooting film, it is possible for me to get back from the trip, and after developing it, realize I haven't taken as many extraordinary shots as I expected. There's even a chance of enormous uh-ohs, such as boxes of film getting accidentally fogged by light, or our car breaking down.

I've had over twelve years of experience with photographing film. I would like to add checkpoints along the way where I can develop an exposure or two to make sure what I'm shooting is great. Our Yellowstone road trip gave me experience of shooting on the road. When I return home and develop and scan my images, knowing I have a self-made Christmas deadline will make it easier to budget my time.

FAQ

  • Whether this shut down lasts days or weeks, I still plan on plotting my trip, and I'll just sit ready until they open again. I'm lucky that I have a schedule where I can decide when to leave. But there are tons of people who plan months for a trip and now they can't do it. What are they going to do instead? Sit at home? They had made a great choice in getting out to explore and experience what our country is like, and now they're being told that even though it's still there, they just can't get in. National Parks are not a trendy club that you need to be famous or rich to get into. They're for everybody, and they should always be there for us.

    Last updated:
  • Whoops! I pulled down the wrong year - all rewards are 2013. Sorry for the confusion.

    Last updated:
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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    16 backers Limited (354 left of 370)

    Postcards From The Road - A personalized postcard sent to you while I'm on the road trip. Ten maximum sent per day.

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    Ships within the US only
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    9 backers

    E-Book copy of the Photo Book - Download a copy of the e-book to look at on your laptop or tablet.

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    11 backers

    Postcard Set - A postcard set of ten different photographs taken on the trip. Standard 5.5 x 4.25 inch size.

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    18 backers

    Signed Print - Archival Ink print of a photograph taken on the trip, signed by Ashley.

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    12 backers

    The Photo Book - A signed copy of the photo book made from the photographs taken on the trip. 8x10 inches, hardback.

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    6 backers

    Photo Book Sponsorship - A copy of the photo book in addition to having your name on the sponsorship/donor page.

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Funding period

- (30 days)