The Art of Solargraphy: Capturing Time with Simple Cameras

Capturing the Sun’s Path: Exploring Solargraphy through Art, Science, and Chaos

The solargraph camera is a simple yet powerful tool for capturing the Sun’s movement across the sky. Consisting of a piece of black and white photographic paper sealed inside a cylinder with a tiny pin hole drilled into the side, these cameras are left in secure locations undisturbed for days, weeks, or even months at a time. The duration of time the camera is left to record is determined by the photographer, with options ranging from capturing a single day to an entire season. Experts recommend leaving the camera from solstice to solstice for optimal results.

Three solargraph cameras were set up on the roof of The Weather Network in Oakville, ON, between June 21 and December 21, 2023. Painted both inside and out in black to reduce reflections, these cameras were positioned facing south to track the Sun’s movement across the sky. It’s important to choose the location of the camera wisely, as its appearance may make it susceptible to being taken or damaged if left in a public space.

While in place, sunlight passes through the pin hole to create a line of exposure on the photographic paper whenever the Sun is shining. The Earth’s movement along its orbit causes the Sun’s path to shift approximately 1 degree each day, resulting in a distinct line of exposure added to the image daily, except when clouds block the sky. Weather conditions like overcast or partly cloudy days will affect the appearance of

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