Out shooting. With home-made cameras.

Last week I mentioned we’d spent the afternoon making pinhole cameras.

Home-made pinhole cameras
My home-made pinholes ready for action.

Well, yesterday, after a very brief induction into the dark room (I’ve never been in a dark room before) we loaded up with photographic paper and went out shooting. Because the cameras are exposing directly on to the paper a negative image is formed, and I was a bit disappointed with the results as they developed, but getting home and playing in Photoshop transformed them. A simple inversion to create a positive image starts things off, but then playing around with the contrast using a ‘curves’ adjustment layer pulled up all sorts of detail that I hadn’t realised I’d captured. Here’s the best results I got, showing them before and after photoshopping.

First shot with cylindrical camera. Couple of spots where light was leaking in, but I could just crop those out.

"Cars" (Pinhole paper negative)

After: (click to view large!)
"Cars" (Pinhole shot, processed)

Back to the same spot, with my holes sealed up, for a closer view of the Citroen 2CV with a longer exposure (2 minutes).

"Renault 2CV" (Pinhole paper negative)

After: (click to view large!)
"Renault 2CV" (Pinhole shot, processed)

This was with the rectangular camera.  Seeing the negative developed in the dark room I though it was an utter disaster, as you could barely see the Land Rover that was supposed to be the main subject, but managed to rescue it (a bit) in post-processing.

"Jeep" (Pinhole paper negative)

After: (click to view large!)"Jeep" (Pinhole shot, processed)

Another shot with the rectangular one. This was an unexpected self portrait – I’d imagined it would be a shot of the building tower, and I was sat on the ground to the side of the camera. Has no idea how wide-angled the shots would be!

"Up" (Pinhole paper negative)

After: (click to view large!)"Up" (Pinhole shot, processed)

And I’ll finish with an important lesson in being careful. This one could so very nearly have been my best shot of the afternoon. But see that thing cutting right through the middle? Can you tell what it is? When I loaded the paper in the camera it was a tiny bit to long, so I trimmed it down… and a bit fell in the camera. Schoolboy error!

Technical Fault

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