Pinhole Chicago

Pinhole Chicago

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I recently converted one of my film cameras into a pinhole camera. A pinhole camera is a camera without a lens, instead there is just a tiny hole that lets the light in. Because the hole is so small it it focuses the light allowing you to take pictures. While the photos aren’t as sharp as those made with a lens they are still fun and can produce some nice images.

I found a book in a used book store a week or so ago all about pinhole photography and thought it would be fun to give it a shot again, I made a pinhole camera out of an oatmeal box way back in high school but this time thought it would be more fun to convert one of my old Holgas. I have talked about Holgas before but if you are unfamiliar they are cheap medium format cameras that have a plastic lens. They are known for not being the best built which causes light leaks inside the camera that can produce some interesting effects on your shots. To turn this camera into a pinhole all i had to do was remove the lensed cover the hole with a piece of tin (which I cut from a soda can). Then all I had to do was puncture a very tiny hole right in the middle using a sewing needle and there you have it, a pinhole camera. Below you can see one of my Holgas in its original state with its lens and next to it one that I modified into a pinhole.


To test the camera out I took it down to Chicago the other day. It was a fun and challenging experience. Lining up my shots proved to be more difficulty than I thought. Because the hole that lets the light in is so small, shots require a longer expose time which means I couldn’t just hold the camera to take the photo, I had to have it stationary because any movement by my hands would blur the picture. So I had to constantly look for bases I could set the camera on, trash cans, tables, benches, mail boxes and even the ground. You also have to kind of guess at how long each photo takes so there was definitely a lot of trial of error. In the end however I got a few photos I was happy with. Check them out below, click to enlarge.