Photo Friday

Last Sunday was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.  In the past I’ve made a camera for the occasion but due to time constraints and laziness I opted for a pinhole body cap on my digital camera.  I love how the light flares in the picture, and it also shows how dirty my sensor is!

More info on World Pinhole day and photos from around the world HERE  Click on Gallery at the top of the page for photos.

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Photo of the Week

Well, after posting my 52 create pinhole camera, I promised a pinhole picture for the photo of the week.  Unfortunately, none of the pictures turned out.  All three were completely blank which leads me to believe that my safe light was not in fact safe.  A camera store told me I could simply use a red light bulb from the hardware store, but seeing as all three pictures were completely white, and I used exposures varying from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, I think the light was the culprit.  I’ll try again soon.

So instead I bring you the picture above.  It was taken during the Fete des Vendanges (harvest festival) in Montmartre Paris.  This was a parade that ran up the hill and people gave out free wine as the parade marched by.  These Alpenhorn players were indeed in a marching band (it reminds me of the Woody Allen Sketch where he laments being in a marching band as a child as he was a cello player…).  Every block or so they would stop walking and put down there horns to play.  Quite the festival and if you are ever in Paris in the fall, it is an event you don’t want to miss.

Back to the details… Taken with my Voigtlander Bessa R using Fuji Neopan 400.  I think the lens was my 35mm skopar, but it could also have been the Jupiter 8, doesn’t really matter now does it? Developed in D76 and scanned.

52 Create – Pinhole Camera

52 Create, my weekly creative outlet for 2011…  As this past weekend was World Pinhole Photography Day, I decided to make a little pinhole camera just for the occasion.  Last year I made the Pin-Cube, but this year I decided I’d like to test out some of my new Ilford Direct Positive Paper, so I went with the “Granny Cam”.  Far simpler than last year, I simply took a tin of sweets, drilled a big hole in it, then took a throw-away pie plate and cut a square out of it, drilled a pinhole in it, and taped it to the can.  The photographic paper is taped to the inside curve of the can, giving a curved focal plane, and hopefully some interesting distortions.  The camera was f231, with a pinhole of .016 (drilled with a micro drill).  I also spray painted the inside of the tin with flat black paint to minimize reflections.

So why the Granny Cam?  Well the sweets were a type my Granny always had around the house when I was a kid.  My brother brought this particular tin back for me on one of his vacations, so proud he had found “Granny’s candy”, I didn’t have the heart to tell him I never thought much of the candy myself…

No pictures yet as I’ve been busy with commissions, but one will be used for this week’s photo of the week.

Camera Obscura – San Fransisco

The Camera Obscura is basically a pinhole camera, but instead of projecting it’s image onto photographic paper, it is often projected onto frosted glass or even on to the wall of a room.  Originally used for drawing (tracing), it is the precursor to the first camera.

Located in San Fransisco, the giant camera obscura projects an image onto the wall of the inside of the building.  It was built in 1946 and continues to be a tourist attraction today.

Giant Camera Obscura

Something’s Hiding Here visits Camera Obscura

Pin-Cube Mk1

April 25th was World Pinhole Photography Day where participants around the world are encouraged to build or buy pinhole cameras and take a picture to post onto the World Pinhole Day website.  I unfortunately missed out last year as my travels for work hadn’t left me enough time to create my camera – I could have bought one, but what fun would that have been?

That being said, there are some beautiful pinhole cameras being sold such as the zero image and the Holga 120 Wide Pinhole, and you can even buy body caps for an SLR or DSLR that can turn your camera into a lensless wonder!

Why pinhole? Why not?  I mean honestly, I couldn’t make a lens, I wouldn’t even know where to start, so if someone such as myself wanted to make his own camera I think my only option is the pinhole route (please correct me if I’m wrong!).  So, with the help of Pinhole Photography: A Beginner’s Guidewww.mrpinhole.com, and the flickr pinhole group, I was able to successfully build a pinhole camera that took some pretty good pictures IMO.

So how did I do it? Well, I continued my love with Baltic Birch plywood (it helped that I had a whole bunch left over from the caterpillar crib) and made it by stacking 10 layers on top of each other with pre-cut holes for the chamber and film reels.  The idea is that this could be made with a CNC or laser cutter (Ponoko) and assembled at home by anyone. By using 120 film it was easy to get holes and a take up spool.  For the pinhole, I used some metal from an old cocoa can and bought a pin vise (micro drill) to make a 0.4mm hole.  the entire camera was held together with threaded rod and cap nuts.  The small red window for the camera was made from a red translucent file folder, it didn’t work very well and was hard to see through, but better than nothing I guess.

My only real disappointment was the shutter. I ran out of good ideas at this point, and faced with a time crunch, I went with the ol’ electrical tape method.  Film advance was from an old stereo volume knob.  I had planned to round the edges with a router and then varnish the whole thing, however the camera wasn’t perfect and I’m not sure I’ll use this one again.

Here is one of the pictures (Ilford FP4+) that I developed myself with ilfotec DD-X. Note the great depth of field you get when you have f245!

Issues – so a few issues with the camera. I measured the slits for the film based on an old paper backing I had. Unfortunately the film is the thickness of the paper backing + the film, so it was a bit snug.  It worked well in some ways as the film stayed flat and no light leaked around the red window, however it was VERY tight to advance, and eventually stripped the mechanism. The film was bottom loaded (just like a Leica as I liked to think), this along with the wider than anticipated film was a huge pain to get into the camera, cool to tell your friends, but a pain nonetheless.

Next time – next time I think I’ll make a wider format camera, possibly a panoramic type one like the Holga mentioned above. I was pretty amazed at how easy the entire project was, and  think more people should try to make their own pinhole!