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Pinhole Photography


I am not a fan of winter and this view has only deepened since the polar vortex has become part of the seasonal vocabulary. Winters are simultaneously grey, cold and boring. Did I say cold - as in biting, bracing and painful. Rare are the idyllic and perfect snowfall landscapes. The endless days of perfectly blank skies and limited sun adds yet another level of complexity to the pursuit of interesting photographs.


I do a lot of night shooting I like the night lights and they add to the images, but I also like a variety of images; day and night. Sooo how to make winter look interesting in daylight in an overall grey palette? One school of thought is pinhole photography.


A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens but with a tiny aperture, a pinhole camera – effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from a scene passes through the aperture and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box, which is known as the camera obscura effect. Wikipedia


On every Diana F camera there is a pinhole option and I used this option on mine in Chicago at the Bean. The results were surprisingly good because I didn’t have a tripod or a shutter release cord, and I used a pinhole app to guesstimate the exposure. I have a rare Holga 120 pinhole camera and now I am very excited to take it out once the weather clears.


Pinhole photography has never been at the top of my photography to-do list because for me, it was too difficult to guess the exposure. The tables on the web were all over the map. The Pinhole/Assist app that I’m using to determine exposure is extremely helpful. I shot a roll of 120/12 exposure film with my Diana F and 8 out of 12 frames were good negatives.


Soft images paired with long exposures in daylight will quiet noisy spaces. I’m excited to start a Holga pinhole project that will hopefully turn the remainder of winter into a creative surge. Come back for the update.

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