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Return to GOAL 2006 pinhole photography

The Darkroom and Camera Obscura

Because asbestos abatement was being done in the Darkroom in the Art Department, I had to adapt a Biology Lab to use as a darkroom.

(image taken with a .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24mm x 50mm frame on regular 35mm ISO200 film, done with the normal room lights on)

The developing area was in the back of the room as far from the entrance (and any light sources) as we could get.

(image taken with a .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24mm x 50mm frame on regular 35mm ISO200 film, done with the normal room lights on)

The entrance was made into a light trap with several sheets of gardeners plastic.

Camera obscura

It was fairly easy to make the whole room into a camera obscura by putting a small hole in one of the windows.

(image taken with a .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24mm x 50mm frame on regular 35mm ISO200 film, done with the normal room lights on)

A six foot wide projection screen was placed 8 feet from the 1/2 inch "pinhole," indicated by the arrow.

The image it projected was easily visible. This worked out to an f ratio of 200, not that much different from the cameras the students were using, which were f250, so the brightness of the image was almost exactly what was inside the student's cameras

(Nikon D1, 17mm lens, f3.5, 30 second exposure)

This image is recorded with a digital camera of the image projected by the 1/2 inch "pinhole." The image here looks a little brighter than it did with the naked eye.

Out of curiosity, I also made a 1/4 inch "pinhole," to see if it made the image sharper. As expected it was quite a bit dimmer and it was hard to tell visually if it was sharper. I realized that with the smaller pinhole, it was still only f400, which should yield an exposure of 4 minutes with the photographic paper we were using for negatives. I taped two pieces of 8" x 10" photographic paper to the screen (the area is indicated by the dotted lines in the above image) and made the exposure. Here's a reduced size version of what I got.


1/4 inch "pinhole," 8 foot "focal" length, two 8 x10 sheets of photographic paper, 4 minute exposure

360 degree Anamorphic image.

One of the projects I had intended to do with the students was a 360 degree anamorphic camera where the paper is wrapped around the inside of a 3" cylinder and the pinhole is on the end.

Some experiments showed that, with photo paper as a negative, this will work only in some very limited lighting situations, so I decided not to include this project in the workshop. However, I realized that a camera like this attached to the ceiling, pointed down, was exactly the situation in which it would work.


(3" 360° anamorphic camera, .4mm pinhole, 4" x 9.5" photo paper, 2 hour exposure)