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Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day has been the last Sunday in April for twenty years, and while I've observed it once or twice before, this is the first year when pinhole photography has been an enduring interest rather than an occasional experiment. So I packed my bag and headed out to the least-peopled interesting place I know.

This is the story of the stuff and the journey. The photos will come later – I've finished developing and scanning the six rolls I used, and am only just starting to sort through the results.

The bag is the Fujifilm-branded Domke 803 satchel; I thought about carrying a roll of Acros just to have some Fuji film in it, but decided to stay all-Ilford this time around. Between what's loaded in the cameras and organized in the Canadian-red pouch I have four rolls each of Pan F and Ortho 80, and two rolls of FP4. My Reality So Subtle 6x9F is the black plastic at the far left of the bag, and my Ondu 6x12 Rise is the wooden beauty in the padded divider. The front pockets contain my light meter, reciprocity calculator, and the camera that I'm using to document the occasion – all of which is my phone – and two filter wallets, one for ø52 and one for Cokin A. I'd wind up using yellows, red, and a couple of different NDs, depending on the sun and clouds.

And of course, there are two tripods and three clamps. Can't go pinholing without proper support.

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The Ondu 6x12 in action.

The novoflex-blue ballhead is attached to my Fat Gecko vise, which I use to clamp onto larger objects and chain-link fences. It could grab small things as well, but the thread pitch is so fine that by the time I reduce its width I'll usually have gotten bored and decided it wasn't that photogenic a scene in the first place. So I just leave it wide open and use smaller clamps for smaller things instead.

For the big day I decided on two tripods. My main one is always the Gitzo Mini Traveler, a strong and light little carbon thingy that has a price tag that looks like a typo. (Worth every penny.) And for only the second time ever I brought out my Manfrotto Compact Light tripod, which weighs three times more than the GMT, and costs about a third as much at retail. (I bought mine as an open box clearance for $40 and a milkshake.) Interestingly, the only other time I carried the MCL was also to the Leslie Street Spit, which is where I celebrated Pinhole Day. Back then I was using it as a light stand for a little LED.

The Fat Gecko and MCL were only used for a couple of photos each, but I couldn't have reached those photos any other way. Still, I probably could have left them at home and saved 1200 grams from my kit. But the Gitzo is to tripods what the Ondu is to pinholes, so there's no way I'd leave it behind.

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The utilitarian black plastic RSS 6x9 takes a few more risks. It's way closer to the water than it looks.

They're buried under the other stuff in my bag photo, but the two Smallrig mini clamps did an amazing amount of work. The Leslie Street Spit is the land of broken concrete and rebar, so there are lots of things to grab but very little solid and level footing. And a clamp can hold the camera in places where I've never put one before.

The left and right photos show the clamp with a short arm attachment that has limited pivots at both ends. It's a bit too short and not very repositionable, making it frustrating to use but fairly strong. The centre photo is the second identical clamp with an 11" arm on it; this arm is also very strong and easier to position with its central pivot and more versatile ball ends, but can have a bit of bounce to it. I've ordered another arm that combines the best of both devices, but it didn't arrive in time.

As with all things photographic, the best equipment is the one you don't have on you.

The clamp with the short arm probably accounts for the plurality of the day's photos, while the one with the long arm only contributed a few. Realistically, my light walking-around kit of just the small-armed clamp and Gitzo Mini took over 80% of my photos for the day, and probably could have been persuaded to take half of the rest if I had tried hard enough.

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In hindsight the idea of simplifying my kit and removing three pounds of mostly-superfluous gear from an already light bag seems very tempting. If I wasn't going to the varied and unpredictable terrain of the Spit, I definitely wouldn't have carried the long-armed clamp and the goofy Manfrotto tripod. But it's hard to say if the rarely-used equipment was actually unnecessary. Could I have made do without it? Sure. Are there photos I would have regretted not being able to take? Sure. Do I always wish I packed a little less stuff at every moment *except* when I'm actually packing my kit? Yup.

Over the course of five hours I walked about twelve kilometres, didn't drink nearly enough water, gained several interesting sunburns, put three rolls of Pan F through the Ondu, and one each of Pan F, Ortho, and FP4 through the RSS. I'm pretty sure I biffed a couple of frames – see "didn't drink enough water", above – so that will probably be fewer than 60 photos. The good ones will be fewer still, and many of those will turn out to be of essentially the same scene.

And is that the way it always is?

Also yup.