The Leslie Street Spit is a land of concrete and brick – literally, it's construction debris used for lakefill. Bit it's rebar that is its greatest challenge and hazard. Tangles of it emerge from the rotted slabs and hydro poles that make up its groynes, and it rises like metal weeds along the beaches. It extends down into the water and up to the soil line. And I've never managed to get a decent photo that shows what it's like.

I'm inevitably drawn to the Spit several times a year – I never think of it by its newer and more civilized identity, Tommy Thompson Park – so it was a natural choice for my Pinhole Day celebrations. And part of that draw was realizing that I could use a clamp to get inside the camera-killing balls of rusting steel and wire. The wide field of view and deep depth of field are exactly right for the task, and there's no glass or LCD screen to scratch.

As I'm trying to sort out what sort of photos are better with a pinhole, and which should be taken with a lens, this set is easy. It couldn't have been taken with anything else.

The small clamps I use are officially branded by Smallrig, but there are a number of remarkably similar-looking ones out there. Some factories have many doors. They're able to hold something as thin as a 'reserved parking' sign to as wide as the post that it's attached to – ask me how I know – but they're practically made for grabbing rebar. The curve of the jaws holds it easily, and the rough surface gives it tremendous grip. And they're cheap enough that I have a pair of them. For WWPPD I carried them both, matched with a very short and a very long arm, as seen in my Pinhole Day Kit post.

I'm still not going to presume that this is a good photo – I think the first one is stronger – but it's a useful illustration. I've tried taking similar photos of the rebar with cameras ranging from the small Ricoh GR Digital to my big Fuji GX680, but it just doesn't work. There's no one place to focus here, and there's never enough depth of field to be satisfying. I've tried. Every photo has felt like an error.

And then there's the choice of film. The first two photos in this post were on FP4, which I thought I would have used up before I got to anything interesting. My mistake. FP4 brightens reds, which rebar is, so I've had to give the tone curve a couple of solid whacks to make it look right here. But photos 3 and 4 – click to see them larger, if you're so inclined – are on Ilford Ortho. It often blows out skies, but it also really darkens reds. I'll use other films, but Ortho is my favourite for just about everything in the city, which the Spit fundamentally is.

I suppose using colour, whether film (ick) or digital, would let the tones in a monochrome conversion be pulled or pushed wherever the person doing the post-processing wants them to be. But at the risk of being pretentious and absurd, I'm not above drawing a distinction between a black-and-white photographer and a photographer who likes to convert colour images to monochrome. 

Not that those photos can't be great, but it feels a bit too much like hitting the "Make Art" button in post-processing for my taste.

One real advantage of the smaller plastic RSS 6x9 pinhole, compared to my Ondu 6x12, is that it's smaller and plastic. And somewhat utilitarian. So it's able to fit in smaller spaces, and resists damage, especially the less-relevant cosmetic varieties. That's why it took all of the rebar photos, while my wooden 6x12 was reserved for less sketchy endeavours, like this one.

The camera was on the longer arm, which risks a bit of bounce considering its half-kilogram weight. Fortunately the Ondu has a very gentle shutter, and the inherent defocus hides any residual movement. But even still, it would be fine. It's not as if I'm using pinhole cameras because I want tack-sharp photographs.