The Solarcan Project: A year-long photographic experience

A few months ago, I backed a Kickstarter campaign for the Solarcan, a mass-produced pinhole camera that will capture a very long exposure – instead of minutes or hours, this camera is designed to capture an image over a period of months.

The Solarcan was created by Sam Cornwell, who initiated the Kickstarter campaign to get the first 1,000 Solarcans made in time for the summer solstice.  Although one could leave the cans out for as little as a week or two, I plan on leaving them out for as long as possible.


A camera like this captures the image of the sun as it travels through our heavenly skies.  Yeah, yeah, I know, the sun stays still and the Earth moves around it, but work with me on this.  Solargraphic photos are breathtaking, you can see the sun’s path as a sine wave on a piece of standard B&W photo paper.

All you need is time and patience.

Cameras like these are often made from beer cans and photo paper, and are usually crafted one at a time, by hand.  Cornwell plans on making the Solarcan a mass-produced photo product, so that anybody can make their own ultra-long time exposure photo without having to build their own camera from scratch.

And since I figured one Solarcan camera wouldn’t be enough for my experimentation, so I backed the five-camera package.

And last night, five cameras arrived, a transcontinental journey from England to New York.  Woo hoo!  In case you’re curious, I received numbered cans #366 to #370.

Five Solarcans.

Now here’s my plan for mounting the Solarcans.  First, I need a location that has a relatively unobstructed view of the Southern sky.  And wherever I place these little guys, I must make absolutely sure that people know not to touch or move the cans, or to think they are garbage and throw them away – or think they can get 5 cents for recycling them.  If that means making arrangements with private landowners to place these cans on their fence posts or birdhouse poles or whatnot, then so be it.

I’m already making arrangements on that front.

Three of the cans will be placed in the same location, with the idea to remove one can at 4 months, one can at 8 months, and the third can at one year of placement.  That’s dedication.  The other two cans will be placed in different areas around the Capital District – again, with the permission of the landowners, no need to cheeze anybody off – with exposure times to be determined.

In other words … this is going to be fun.

Super fun.

Can’t wait to set these up.

And although I can’t wait to see the results …

I’ll have to wait until the camera is ready to provide the results to me.

Just wait and see.

You see?