Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day: Apr. 25th
April 7, 2010 8:44 AM   Subscribe

You have less than three weeks to get ready to participate in Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. More great pinhole galleries here and Flickr groups devoted to pinhole photography (1 & 2) and the myriad ways to construct pinhole cameras including: Paint Can, Coffee Can, Oatmeal Boxes, Foam Core, and ready-to-fold paper/card stock (that last link is the most popular pinhole-related bookmark on the interweb). You'd expect MAKE magazine to address the topic in fine fashion. And what post would be complete without a YouTube link: THIRTEEN PART tutorial on building a 4x5 Pinhole Camera. Drilling your own precision pinholes: A forum thread. Making your own camera not DIY enough for you? How about concocting your own developer with instant coffee and vitamin C? Don't want to use film, Bunky? Then discover paper negatives for your pinhole cam! The wonderful world of lens-less photography awaits you.

Previously: 2002, 2003.
posted by spock (17 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Also previously.
posted by spock at 8:47 AM on April 7, 2010

don't know if it's pinhole photography or not, but this short entry about Miroslav Tichy is pretty cool as far as cameras made from garbage goes.
posted by msconduct at 9:50 AM on April 7, 2010

Pinhole photography is good. If you can't afford a digital camera.
posted by l2p at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2010

So... I just need one of these and a coffee can and a pin?
posted by bz at 10:01 AM on April 7, 2010

Yeah well. I've got a DSLR. But I'm also in the process of setting up an old school B&W wet darkroom. Film is making a comeback and to a lesser extent, so is darkroom (see the f295 forum - linked in the original post - or the excellent Alternative Photography for some unbelievably cool stuff you really can't replicate with an inkjet printer. This is an unbelievably great time to get into it, as the market is starting to go back up on all this stuff.

Also, you can do (and buy) pinhole body caps for DSLRs, but frankly, I don't think risking the dust inside your camera is worth the risk. I prefer the old-school film or paper negative way.

Also, the (main) point of pinhole is the cool look you get from the combination of incredible depth of field (from the tiny aperture) and the looooong exposure times (where moving things blur or are not there at all). These concepts are completely foreign to you if you've never had to learn the principles/components of photography because you started (and ended) with a digital camera.
posted by spock at 10:11 AM on April 7, 2010

posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:36 AM on April 7, 2010

Also, you can do (and buy) pinhole body caps for DSLRs, but frankly, I don't think risking the dust inside your camera is worth the risk.

Easily mitigated by sacrificing an old UV filter and either gluing/taping it in place over the pinhole. Not that I've used mine in years, but the UV filter is still on there...
posted by god hates math at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2010

My SLR didn't teach me much about how light works - which, I think, is the crux of learning photography; bummer that it's also the part most people skip over or have a hard time understanding. My first self-made pinhole camera taught me nearly everything I know about light and the process of making photos. It's so damn cool. Yay, pinholes!
posted by heyho at 12:06 PM on April 7, 2010

This was a comprehensive, interesting, fine post, and I liked looking at the amazing possibilities of what can be done with a pinhole camera. But what about us lazy folks? When I clicked on the "ready-to-fold paper/card stock" link, which I figured would be what I was looking for, I got something about precision-drilling tiny holes in copper using tools I don't own.

Is there a quick-and-dirty pinhole camera for someone who wants to just cobble one together? Something made out of cardboard and tape, maybe, with an actual pinhole-made-with-a-pin and a roll of some kind of film I can get at the store? The pictures don't have to look like Ansel Adams prints.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:29 PM on April 7, 2010

Sure, fiercecupcake. A lot of people do fine with a really small beading needle (see your local Hobby Lobby or equiv.) and aluminum from a Coke can or freezer aluminum foil. A couple more links for you...
posted by spock at 12:47 PM on April 7, 2010

Is there a quick-and-dirty pinhole camera for someone who wants to just cobble one together?

tinfoil, spraypainted black, small pin...shoebox, all surfaces painted black, black tape, make sure theres no place for light to leak flaps over the pinholes...i made one out of an oatmeal can with two pinholes so i could take two pictures on the same peice of film...

want to save more time/$? skip the film and use photo paper (your prints will be negatives, though)...dont want to deal with developing at all? get that blue paper that "develops in water!"
posted by sexyrobot at 12:58 PM on April 7, 2010

You can also make one out a matchbox
posted by zymoglyphic at 9:39 PM on April 7, 2010

Awesome suggestions, spock, sexyrobot, and zymoglyphic. That's more like what I was hoping for. :]
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:29 AM on April 8, 2010

I love the low-tech and complete instructions of the matchbox (thx zymoglyphic!) but man, what a hassle to do for each new roll of film. I think the time invested up front in making more of a "real camera" that you can put new film rolls in easily would be worth the effort over doing this too many times! YMMV
posted by spock at 6:56 AM on April 8, 2010

fiercecupcake, you can buy them or, you can download the plans for a Dirkon.

Efke made (makes?) a direct positive paper for those who want to go the b&w paper route. There's some left in the clearance section at Freestyle Photo, it actually has some nice tones once you sort out the exposure times.
posted by squeak at 11:52 AM on April 8, 2010

also...if you dont want to develop film, but dont have a problem developing paper (regular photo paper, or that blue stuff i mentioned) you can get a positive image by contact printing with paper (take a blank sheet of photo paper, place your negative image on top, weight it down with a sheet of glass, then expose it to light)'s going to be a little bit blurrier than using a film negative and you want to use paper that doesn't have the manufacturers logo printed all over the back...or just scan it and invert it using photoshop...;)

also: my favorite pinhole camera picture's a six month (!) exposure.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:36 PM on April 8, 2010

My wife, who has make lots of pinhole cameras (including a brass one) suggests the following for the matchbox pinhole:

To save time if you want to re-use the matchbox pinhole camera, cover it with aluminum tape before taping on the rolls of film. That makes it easy to peel off tape and re-apply. You can also leave a longer "leader" hanging out one side of the matchbox, so you only have to re-tape one roll of film. The "take up" roll of film stays taped in place. See here for details.
posted by zymoglyphic at 8:55 AM on April 9, 2010

« Older The Last Jedi Samurai   |   Do you know the way to Lost Dakota? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments