Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Print of the Week

Shot this on Monday, and it’s my favorite of the shoot.  I wish all days could be slightly windy.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Matchbox Pinhole

So, it’s fairly easy to build a pinhole camera that can shoot sheet film or photo paper, but this camera is made for a roll of 35mm film and just requires a pinhole, a matchbox, an extra film canister and a lot of black electrical tape.


So, first take out the inner tray and cut a hole in matchbox, this is where your pinhole will go.  Tape that thing in, then tape the entire box outside to help with it’s light-tight-ness.

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Cut a hole in the matchbox tray.  This will be your photo frame (how much of the film is exposed at a time).  With this, whatever shape you cut will be the shape of your pictures.  The photos will even have interesting edges depending on how precisely you cut.  In theory, you could make heart shaped photos.


Next, pull out a couple inches of the film you’re shooting and run it behind the tray, but inside the matchbox.  This is how that frame you cut comes into play.  Then you’ll be taping your film onto the remainder of film in your spare film spool, which will be your take-up mechanism when shooting.

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Now, tape the heck outta everything.  Use another piece of tape as a shutter over your pinhole.

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To wind film, I attached a sawed off key on the take-up spool.  It’s about one turn of the spool for each frame.


Finally, I used hot glue to attach a nut which can screw onto a tripod.  I glued it to the side so that I could set the camera down and shoot on a flat surface instead of gluing it directly to the bottom.


Then shoot away.  A well lit exposure on 400 speed film is around 1-3 seconds – so you need a steady surface. (Your exposure will also depend on the pinhole you make/buy!)


I developed a couple rolls of this and had photos that turned out, although I didn’t think they were very interesting except in the method I used.  This is a good reminder to still think about your subject!  Just using a weird camera won’t always make for a picture you love. 

This picture I think is fun, and it shows how much detail the film picks up from the jaggedly cut film frame.  It also has almost a fisheye effect either from the pinhole I made or the fact that I shot expired film.  I can’t explain the distortion, but I would love to keep experimenting to figure it out.


Remember, if you try any of this stuff, post it in the comments or email me!  I’d love to share reader’s experience on this blog as well.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Other Holgas and Attachments

One nice thing about the toy camera fad is that there are a variety of weird attachments and specialized cameras you can buy that do weird things.  Holga even makes a 3D camera (which I’ve never personally used, but sounds cool). 

Two Holga varieties I have played with lately are the Holga Fisheye attachment and the Holga 35mm pinhole camera.  (By the way, if the shutter spring ever breaks on a Holga, you can make it into a pinhole camera as well very easily.  Google tutorials, there are a ton out there.)

The fisheye attachment.  


One thing I learned about this guy was that it made everything more wide angle than it will look in your normal Holga viewfinder, so be prepared to have some extra stuff included in your shot.  Not really a tragedy when shooting architecture or landscapes, but a shot of a skateboarder I took turned into a shot of a skatepark.  I got some that I love, however, here they are.

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The pictures are weird, circular and bent.  As should be expected.  With this thing, my favorite shots have these great straight lines that are bent and show the effect the most.  If you Google Holga fisheyes, you can find some interesting shots of Times Square.

Next, Holga Pinhole.  Of course they went there.


Now, I wasn’t entirely impressed with this camera, although it was fun, for a couple reasons.  First, the Diana has a pinhole setting and removable lens, so it offers more functions in one toy camera.  Second, I thought some of my shots were too sharp.  I’ve built some pinholes that are beautifully hazy.  I’ve also built large format pinholes that are remarkably clear (upcoming post).  However, I figured the Holga would fall on the hazy side so I don’t like the shots as much.  The first shot is an example of the sharpness I don’t like.  The second is a longer exposure with a moving subject, which I do like.

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One thing I will admit a pinhole is always fun for is the infinite depth of field, which you can really see in the first shot.  I doubt most cameras would have picked up both the tree in the foreground and the entire landscape in the background as clearly.

Finally, Print of the Week!

I shot this with a friends Anscoflex II.  No f-stop control, no shutter speeds.  A mint green plastic TLR designed by the guy who made the Studebaker.  The only way to “control” exposure in this scenario is with different film speeds.  I love how this shot looks really old and has a distinct lack of contrast.


I also used an enlarger that isn’t exactly meant to print 120 film, so I could slide the negative holder around a little to control vignetting, which is arguably my favorite effect.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A mad dash!

That’s what this past month has felt like and I think the trend will continue.  I did get some quality time in the darkroom this week, so I’m now spending some quality time with my scanner and Photoshop.  Which means I should have a new print of the week in a day or two.

In the meantime, another new resource I find myself stalking is  It’s a photographic blog and newsletter with infinite tutorials and articles.

There is something so wonderfully awesome about the internet and photography.  It can become a huge 24/7 free workshop if you let it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Holga fish-eyes, 4x5 sheet film pinhole cameras and Holga 35mm pinholes, oh my!  Working on getting great prints and scanning them for a bunch of new updates.  And as promised, I should have the matchbox pinhole tutorial up sometimes tomorrow.  This week’s goal, take some great portraits with a great camera and then RETICULATION (with different pictures, of course).  I’ve sooo been looking forward to abusing my film. ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Photo of the Week (2 weeks of catch-up)

I’ve been so busy, I’ve forgotten to update my photo of the week for the past 2 weeks.  So, this time, I found myself playing a lot with my position relative to my subject when using ambient light and using that to control the feel of photos.  These were all shot in a bar mid day, so the light only comes in 1 front window.  I think there can be a lot of darkness and mood using harsh light from 1 direction.  Here are 3 examples, shot with light directly to the side of the subject, to the side at an angle to the subject, and directly behind the subject.

Remember, the only control regarding lighting you have sometimes is where you stand and where you place your subject.  Start looking for where shadows lie in everyday life.  Like paint to a painter, light is a photographers medium, be aware of it!

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

I just bought this…

And I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  The film is pretty hard to find, and then I have no idea where to process 110 film cartridges.  I don’t even think I have equipment for this in the darkroom.  But for the $10 I spent, I had to have it…

The Holga 110 Mini Camera


If anyone knows a great source for buying and/or processing 110 micro film, let me know.  Thanks!