I’ve been fascinated with pinhole (camera obscura) photography since I built my first pinhole camera out of an oatmeal container way back in high school. (For those of you keeping score, that was over 30 years ago.) There is something amazing about how such a tiny pinhole can capture such cool imagery. What is more amazing is how old the pinhole camera is. Originally called the “Camera Obscura”, latin for dark room or chamber, the earliest written record of it was from around 400 BC! About 1800 years or so later, this is what Leonardo Da Vinci said about it:
“Who would believe that so small a space could contain the image of all the universe? O mighty process! What talent can avail to penetrate a nature such as these? What tongue will it be that can unfold so great a wonder? Verily, none! This it is that guides the human discourse to the considering of divine things. Here the figures, here the colors, here all the images of every part of the universe are contracted to a point. O what a point is so marvelous!”
Recently, I decided to try my hand at some digital pinhole photographs. I created a pinhole “lens” for my Nikon D700 using an old body cap, a small piece of tin, a pin (duh!), and some electrical tape. With this particular shot I realized a couple of things – well, it’s really one thing. With such a small opening you need quite a bit of light to capture your scene or you need a really long exposure. Really long. To get this particular shot from a dark, scary back room of our basement (see another shot here), I needed a 32 minute exposure at 400 ISO and that was a bit underexposed. It’s got some weird crescent-shaped artifacts and a lot of noise. Either way, I like what I captured – all without a true lens.
So I’m not sure where this experimental photography kick is going to take me, but it’s going to be a fun journey!
Day 33 of my 365 photo a day project.
Looking for art for your home or office or something to spice up your digital desktop? This image and most of the others from this project are available as prints and digital downloads. You can also check out the rest of my portfolio here. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss anything!