Friday, December 08, 2006

Zippy the Pinhole (camera)

My newfound love of lentographs has reminded me of my old love, pinhole photography.
I was never a big fan of the popular oatmeal-canister camera, due to its being a pain in the ass and darkroom-dependant, so I constructed a variety of pinhole cameras from old Polaroid cameras. The advantages of the Polaroid-pinhole-cam were many: no need for a darkroom, you know whether you got a decent exposure within minutes , you can take 10 pictures at a time without the need for a light-safe bag, and you can work in color.
In bright daylight, you can get an image with Polaroid's typical retro-looking colors. However, the longer you need to expose the image for, the wonkier the colors get.
You may be wondering why anyone would want to do pinhole photography, since it's not like it's hard to get a regular lensed camera. Well, the cool thing about a pinhole lens is that the aperture is so teeny tiny that it gives you an almost unlimited focal range (something inches from your camera will be just as in-focus as something 20 yards away). If you're willing to do some math, it's possible to calculate the optimal pinhole size for your camera which will allow you to take incredibly sharp pictures. I do have one that can take near-perfect photos, but I seem to have misplaced my most favoritest image from it, so I'm showing you these less-spectacularly focused ones instead.
The drawback to Polaroid photography is that it's pretty expensive, and the difficulty in judging pinhole exposure time means you often need to take numerous practice shots to get one decent one. I haven't taken any pinhole pix in about 5 years, but my dream is now to have my very own digital pinhole camera. This is really easy to do if you have a camera that allows you to swap out the lenses (it doesn't hurt the camera at all), but I don't have one like that. So now I've taken to contemplating various camera hacks that could work on more basic digital cameras.

I'm especially enjoying gazing at the Maine summer shots below (featuring a real Maine outhouse), since the view out my window today is of a sudden dump of snow, and I reeeaaaalllly don't feel like going out and shoveling.


Anonymous Old comments saved from HaloScan exodus said...

So you are a rocket scientist after all. I knew it.
mary jane | Homepage | 12.09.06 - 5:51 pm | #

Those colors are most definitely wonderful ,do you use polaroid film?
jungle dream pagoda | Homepage | 12.10.06 - 11:37 am | #

If you come up with a digital camera hack, will you share it? I only have a non-changable lens digital camera since I got seawater in my SLR on a kayak trip. And I don't have a polaroid, either. I'm so camera challenged!
Julia G | 12.10.06 - 3:24 pm | #

6:03 PM, July 26, 2007  

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