Summer project on solargraphy

By Gabrielle Grenier

A little photography project has been going on in the Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology group this summer. The fun project uses pinhole cameras and long exposure photography to capture the unique trajectory of the sun in Arctic Latitudes. The hope is that this project will provide the group with some interesting images of the Arctic sun patterns. The technique of using long exposure to capture the sun’s movement in the sky is called solargraphy. Pinhole cameras used for solargraphy are fairly easy to make. All that is required to make a camera is putting photography paper in a light proof container (eg. an aluminium can) and then piercing a small hole with a pin.

Photo by Monica A Sundset

The next step is to mount the pinhole camera out in the sun and be patient. The sun will then etch its daily path in the sky on the photography paper found within the pinhole camera. Pinhole cameras were installed by various members of the group at their homes during the summer solstice and are scheduled to remain outside until the onset of the polar night. At this time, solargraphs will be “developed” by scanning photography paper to a digital format.

Photo by Monica A Sundset

If all goes according to plan, we expect to have images similar to the following by flickr user tom_bullock.


Come back to the blog this winter when we will be sharing the results of our solargraphs! If you are interested in making your own solargraphs, here is the guide that was followed in the construction of our pinhole cameras.