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January 10, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Silent Valley Reservoir – Pinhole Obscura

Silent Valley

A small group of us set off from Dublin at seven a.m on a miserable Saturday heading across the border into Northern Ireland. The whole way we joked about how dull the weather was. We had poor visibility for the entire two and a half hour drive. I had low expectations for this trip as I had visited the Mourne mountains many times and had not heard of the Silent Valley Reservoir. I assumed that if it had been worth visiting it would have been on my list of things to shoot. When we pulled into the car park the fog had just started to lift and started to give the first glimpse at what this place had to offer.

The buildings on the site are home to pumps, sluice gates and controls. These were not just utility units built for a purpose they were also beautiful. Stone pulled from the surrounding hillside had been shaped to construct fabulous buildings. The designers and craftsmen had an eye for fine detail. The gate houses when viewed from the right angle looked remarkably like a boat. A castle like structure was home to the controls for the giant sink hole that stops the dam from over flowing. The hovering mist gave the place an eerie beauty.

We climbed the gentle slope of the dam and this is when the full wonder of this site revealed itself. The fog clinging to the sides of the valley made this a majestic scene. This was one of those rare places that makes you want to put down the camera and just enjoy the atmosphere. I fell in love with the quiet beauty of this place and can’t wait to make a return trip.

Originally posted in October over on the Pinhole Obscura site.

Homemade 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Dev: Digibase C41 Kit (Past its best)
Focal Length:50mm
Exposure:15 seconds


Homemade 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Dev: Digibase C41 Kit (Past its best)
Focal Length:50mm
Exposure:5 seconds



Leave a Comment
  1. aafke / Jan 10 2014 10:14 am

    like it (again) 😉

  2. christian harkness / Jan 10 2014 1:18 pm

    Hey Brendan – these are cool and I am so impressed to see you doing color pinhole work – way to go!!!

    • Aware of the Void / Jan 11 2014 12:15 am

      Thanks Christian, I am getting a handle on doing my own C41 stuff now that my local lab wont develop 120 colour film anymore. I have some slide film to try next..

      • christian harkness / Jan 11 2014 2:49 pm

        Oh WOW, I did not know you were doing it yourself – that is great!

      • Aware of the Void / Jan 13 2014 6:53 pm

        Yep – so very similar to the B+W I thought it would be worth the effort for the 120 stuff. My local lab is still good for 135 but I have to do the 120 myself or it really starts to get pricy.

  3. angelinahue / Jan 10 2014 8:19 pm

    Sounds like a dream!

  4. Marie / Jan 11 2014 9:30 pm

    Digibase, is it good? I use Tetenal C41 and E6. Very easy to use and perfect results too. Much easier to use than I expected.

    • Aware of the Void / Jan 13 2014 6:52 pm

      Hi Marie, I have used both but only recently started with the Tentenal c41 kit.
      The only real difference is that the bleach and fix are separate steps with the digibase so if you wanted to do bleach by-pass it is the better option.
      I found the Tetenal kit very easy to use and I think this will be what I use from now on.

      • Marie / Jan 13 2014 7:21 pm

        Wow, to have options are always a good thing. Sadly, here in Sweden is Tetenal the only one I can get, but I’m satisfied with it, it is easy to use and the results are great.
        Good to know, thanks a lot, I will keep my eyes open.

  5. kathryningrid / Jan 14 2014 6:00 am

    That first shot is truly glorious. Just plain compelling. Love it!

  6. infraredrobert / Jan 18 2014 12:56 pm

    Interesting combination of tools to get this effect.

  7. sliceoflondonlife / Jun 16 2014 1:10 pm

    I love these shots and they evoke Silent Valley for me – having visited it. It’s a beautiful and an extraordinary place and lives up to its name.

    • Aware of the Void / Oct 11 2014 6:46 am

      I really want to take another trip to this place – it is so strangely clam. Thanks for you kind words

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