Photo taken by a beer can

This gorgeous photo of a statue in England called The Angel of the North was taken by Justin Quinnell, over the course of three months, using a pinhole camera made out of a beer can. Yes, the parabola is the path of the Sun, with the highest peak being June 21. New Scientist has more information on how Quinnell made this photo. (Via Roger Highfield)


  1. Wow – some of those ecliptic lines look like Morse code, encoding cloud cover in the dashes and dots. Or maybe curious squirrels checking out the beer can camera and blocking the pin hole? 

  2. no statue in that photo.

    The Angel of the North is a contemporary sculpture, designed by Antony Gormley, which is located in Gateshead, England.

    It is a steel sculpture of an angel, standing 20 metres (66 ft) tall, with wings measuring 54 metres (177 ft) across. The wings themselves are not planar, but are angled 3.5º forward, which Gormley used to create “a sense of embrace”.

          1. The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture …
            Here it is part of the name, not a noun

          2. Yay, lets argue semantics!  Is this really a parabola?

            Whatever the shape is, and whatever the piece of art is… this is fucking awesome!

        1. Sorry, you’re just making up your own definitions now.  A statue is not limited in scale, find a reputable dictionary with that in the definition.  Merriam Webster includes no such limitation, for example.  A statue is defined as “a three-dimensional representation usually of a person, animal, or mythical being that is produced by sculpturing, modeling, or casting” which this certainly fits.

          It is a sculpture, too, as statue is a subset of sculpture. Thus calling the Statue of Liberty a sculpture is accurate, but so is calling it a statue. As it is both.

  3. i love how you can see the pollution that the highway  next to the statue (left side) produces in this time lapse. shows just how much a major highway produces

  4. Can I say, as someone who lives a few miles from the Angel, that I’m surprised by the amount of time the sun was out! :D
    We’re not known for clement weather up here in the North East.

    I don’t know if it’s by the same artist, but there’s a similar pin-hole image I’ve seen of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. The artist said thad his father died during the time it took to take the shot, and he can pinpoint the exact point in his photo the sun was when his father passed away. Kinda sad but poignant.

  5. Amazingly cool, and somewhat reminiscent of the analemma (though also completely different): 

  6. Actually, since franka_645 asked; When a great circle in the sphere of our field of view is projected onto a plane, what you get is a sine wave ;] (e.g. when a flat map of the world shows the border between night and day, or shows a great-circle route flown by an airliner over high latitudes, or when a panoramic photo of 180 degrees or more shows something like a straight street from one vanishing point all the way to another… Do a search for “wikipedia rainycourtyard” and you’ll see a super-wide horizontal where all “horizontal” straight lines appear as sine-wave segments, it’s very cool).

    And allow me to point out the work of Michael Wesely, which includes many such long exposures (some as long as 3 years). Do a Google Image search for his name, or go find his book “Open Shutter” on Amazon or elsewhere. His shots clearly show the path of the sun through the sky and how it changes over the seasons… and how, when the sun is lower to the horizon during winter, it’s obstructed by clouds more often than in summer, etc.

    In fact, for me personally, discovering Wesely’s work at a young age had a literally astronomical impact on me: I understood, intuitively and visually for the first time, what it means for the world to be on a tilted axis, how the sun goes in a tight circle (less than 70 degrees in radius) around the north pole (or the point in the sky directly above the north pole) in the summer, then transitions down to a great circle during the equinoxes, and further down to another relatively tight circle around the opposite end of the sky in winter, i.e. around the celestial south pole… (Invert the poles/seasons if you’re in the southern hemisphere, of course). I could see intuitively how the narrower winter circle could potentially lie below the horizon all day if the celestial north pole is high enough in the sky (or lie above the horizon all day at the opposite time of year), and I finally really understood how the arctic and antarctic circles are defined as the latitudes where you get the midnight sun and noon-time night during June 21 and Dec 21 (the narrowest circles made by the sun, the most likely to be entirely above or below the horizon). These pictures are right up there with the Foucault Pendulum (arguably even better) as a tool for appreciating that you sit on a rock that is spinning through space :]

  7. “Next to a beer can.” 

    “By a beer can.” 

    “With a beer can.”

    “Using a beer can.”

     It’s all semantics.

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