Adventures in Pinhole Photography

I’ve always wanted to make a pinhole camera, but even with t’internet at my fingertips, I never had the gumption (what a lovely word that is!) to actually do it.  So I took the easy option and bought me a pinhole camera kit.  I got one called the Kikkerland Pinhole Solargraphy Kit.  I bought it from the fantastic Science Gallery for the princely sum of (about) €8 last year, and promptly forgot about it for a few months.  I happened upon it again in a mess of my creation one lazy Sunday morning, and so, with a few series linked repeats of Downton Abbey to keep me company, I set about making it.  It was easy-peasy!  Go me!  (My favourite part was when I turned the page of instructions over and they told me to take a break, stretch, make a snack for myself, but not to drink coffee as it will make me overstimulated… Excellent!) So, I now had the camera, but true to my habit of putting things off, it was many months until I picked it up again with the intention of using it.  In August, I put a Fuji 200 speed film into it, and then taped the whole thing up using black insulation tape- I didn’t trust it not to leak light.  I also had to tape the film advance knob down to keep the film from unwinding or slackening.  Before I did all this, I tried to work out how on earth I’d know how many turns to wind the advance knob  in order for the film to advance at least a full frame, so my photos wouldn’t overlap.  I did this by marking one frame on the film, then winding on… trial and error visually (and as it happened, I made a mess of that anyway- was wrong and at least the first 7-10 photos I took are a big mess of overlap).  Armed with my new camera, I went taking photos in rural Donegal, guessing exposure times.  When I got the photos back, I was pleasantly surprised- I got at least 15 recognisable prints back.  Not only that, but some are pictures I really like!  And so, let me present to you my favourite pinhole photos from the first roll of film I ever took:

The Glen shore as we call it; I think the figure in the photo is one of my cousins- we were pretty much the only souls on that beach for a while.

My brother and my cousin, on the same beach as before. Water was FREEZING by the way, but it never stopped them!

This is a double exposure- a flight of steps leading from a wooded area to civilisation, and the stream that runs through the wooded area. This was an accidental d/e, I forgot to wind on. Happy accident!

This is the steps again. I think it's quite Hitchcockian or something... I rested the camera on the bottom of the middle handrail and it makes for a dramatic vanishing point.

I have another film in the camera at the moment- it’s nearly complete (with photos from End of the Road, but that’ll be another post in itself); I can’t wait to finish it and to see what fruits this one brings!

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5 Responses to “Adventures in Pinhole Photography”


  1. 1 thebigfatpeacock September 12, 2011 at 19:51

    Oh, Amy, the first one is particular is lovely…. I reckon overlapping could be fun, too…

    Looking forward to / insanely envious of End of The Road pics

    • 2 Amy September 12, 2011 at 23:34

      Actually, the overlap isn’t really printable- they all are completely on top of each other and the modern lab machinery can’t differentiate enough to actually print them. Technology, puh! If they were b/w, it would be a different story I reckon!

      Glad you like- I like the 1st one alot too:-) Colours are so vibrant.

  2. 3 madcorbin January 3, 2012 at 04:57

    I just got one of these. Lovely photos! Nice to see what I can maybe get, if I do it right. Can I ask what exposure times you use? I know the camera itself has printed suggestions depending on light (2-3 secs for a sunny day, 10+ seconds at night) but the box it came in had conflicting suggestions (minimum of 5 secs, max of “hours or even days”).

    • 4 onlinesketchpad January 3, 2012 at 11:06

      Thanks! I’d say between 3-5 seconds in the sunny ones, then up to about ten seconds when in darker places and in the woods. For many of the pictures, I took two photos at slightly different exposure times; honestly, it’s hard to see any difference in them, so it’s not like an SLR where a fraction of a second makes all the difference. My finger is across the bottom of a lot of the pictures I took, holding the camera steady, so be careful with that! Good Luck! (I’m not sure if you saw the other post with photos from the pinhole camera- they’re here if you’re interested: https://onlinesketchpad.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/better-late-than-never-perhaps/)


  1. 1 Better Late than Never, Perhaps? « onlinesketchpad Trackback on December 6, 2011 at 12:30

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