Creative Galleries Fine Art Prints and Crafts


A Tale of Two Moskvas
- OR -
Don't try this at home - but hey - why not? I did! Wanna have some fun?
Like to build one?

It was the best of times, it worst the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, the season of Darkness, it was the spring hope, it was the winter of despair. -Charles Dickens

In 1958 & 1959 Half Dollars had Benjamin Franklin on them and along with quarters and dimes, they were composed of 90% silver. Eisenhower was President of the United States. Kruschev was President of the Soviet Union. It was when Vice-President Nixon toured the USSR - the battle of two egos indeed! The Berlin Wall was not yet to be.

Four score and seven days ago, there was conceived a 6x17 camera design dedicated to the proposition that two cameras are better than one. It was supposed to be ONLY a weekend project. Hah!

No, you are not seeing double, their be two Moskva-5 bodies, put together not unlike a stretch limosine. 6 by 9 plus 6 by 9 equals 6 by 18. Well. . . almost, but not quite. . . . . the negs measure about 55x164 - just short of a 3 to 1 ratio. Must of got carried away with the hacksaw back at this stage of construction.

This is what happens after a bottle of patent medicine - well, not really, it took several bottles. As I recall, and my memory often is suspect, the idea came after consultations with Dr. Jack Daniels and Dr. Jim Beam as to what to do with a couple of real duds. One side of a 1958 Moskva-5 was amputated along with the other side of a 1959. It was a rather nasty operation, and a Dremel was employed in the fusion/alignment the skeletal parts into one long frame. Then there was much confusion, and a consultation with Mr. Cunningham, a local retired cabinet maker and all around nice guy who unlike the others in this tale, does not own any distillation laboratories. I really did not want a superwide this time and specs at a pinhole design calculator website showed that a 128mm f/256 would illuminate a 170mm circle pretty well. After the attachment of Mr. Cunninghams fine Oak appendage box front to the front of the Siamese-Russian twins, help by Dr. Jose Cuervo was needed and then came the initial eye-ball light leak evaluation, pinhole placement in a recessed hole between two 3/4 inch washers, a spinal brace adjustment and the addition of a 52mm ring for the snap on filter cap (as the shutter). 52mm Filters and accessories may be used on this camera. Also note that there are 1/4-20 sockets for mounting on a tripod in either horizontal and vertical modes. The patient was then sent to the field and exposed to full sunny 16 conditions with 400 speed Ilford Delta and found to suffer from a severe case extraneous photon reception, a poor prognosis and an additional cost over-run. This kind of experimental treatment isn't covered by insurance. Dr. Bacardi helped with the film evaluation which resulted with a prescription of a carbon treated cast of adhesive over certain joints, which was immediately performed.

After a recuperation period of 2 weeks involving lots of fresh air, curing and rest the patient was given some Pan F with a 1 stop yellow under Sunny 16 conditions. The film was evaluated with a Virginia Gentleman or two and the patient was pronounced "recovered" - but at least one more precautionary treatment would be needed to insure total remission. Meanwhile the patient was given more film - Delta 400 with a 4 stop red and a roll of Gold 100 under sunny 16 conditions. Other various rolls followed.

Reynolds Monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield - Very Nice - Gold 100 - 4 seconds - 6x12 center cut of image (because the neg scanner can only do 4x5 max - like man what a real bummer!)


Film reciprosity is a funny thing - here is some additional results out of this camera : This office shot, a poorly scanned poor contact print, was taken with no filter on Delta 400 a 45 Minute exposure.

The Dr Pepper can and mouse were in use during this time. :) Dr. Smirnoff was not consulted at any time during this adventure. In fact, no Russians were involved whatsoever - except for the victims . . eh. . . patients, that is.

The pinhole is approx. .5mm in diameter at about 128mm from the film plane with an effective f/stop of 256. Four exposures to a 120 roll are achieved by using only the ' even ' numbers in the little red window and skipping the odd numbered ones. The angle of coverage is about 24 by 64 degrees.

I dislike red windows - and although the window door may be operated with a pair of tweezers, I choose to use a piece of electrical tape to cover it up and attach the film box end to it to remember what film is in there.

There is no pressure plate, so film curl will keep the image from being perfectly rectilinear - but it is hardly noticable shooting most natural objects and landscapes.

I really wanted to find a couple of shotgun sites to mount on the top of the box. One above the pinhole and one each in line with the frame edge to use as an aiming tool, but the local gun shop didn't have any and I didn't like any of the screws at the local hardware store, so, there is no aiming aid. After a few rolls it becomes intuitive. Longwise it covers about what a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera does.

What was missing from the experience? I'm sure that some good German Beer would have increased effeciency and curtailed most of the cost over-run!

Anyway, there you have it. It works great! It was yet another creative pinhole adventure of great fun for me. Imagine what can be done with this camera. Many have told me that the Reynolds Monument pic looks like a doorway through ruins. Now, maybe I can take the image in Photoshop and . . . . . . . . . . .

Geitleman Farm in Adams County Pennsylvania



Tin Can on Geitleman Farm

Oh dear, what am I going to build next?

How about a '6x34' ? What is that 2 1/4 by 12 1/2 inches? Two exposures to a roll - numbers 4 and 8! Is there enough leader on a 120 roll to do that?

How about another 8x10 box camera or a twin port pinhole 4x10? Expose half an 8x10 neg at a time?

How about a still of my own? I hear copper is best.

Too many ideas and not enough time!

Thanks for viewing this page. I hope you enjoyed it!


Contact Daryl Duckworth at :

A photograph is neither taken
nor seized by force.
It offers itself up.
It is the photo that takes you.
One must not take photos.

-Henri Cartier Bresson


~ Creative Galleries Fine Art HomePage ~

Creative Galleries | All Rights Reserved
All images are protected under US copyright laws and may not be copied,
saved to a hard disk or other media, or reproduced in any manner.