152mc Working with Light: My second Pinhole Camera – Task 2 Development

Using what I had learned from the workshop on building a pinhole camera from an old beer can I decided to expand this and create another camera from an old Typhoo tea caddy. I had stumbled across this particular object when I was searching for items that I could use for Cyanotype printing. The size and shape seemed perfect for what I needed.

More Tea Vicar
More Tea Vicar

My first job was to make the interior light tight. The lid already fitted well so I just needed to paint the inside black. It took two coats to completely black out all the surface areas.

Making the tin light tight.
Making the tin light tight.

Once the tin was dry I needed to make a hole. Unfortunately this tin was much stronger that the beer cans I could not simply push through a pin. I found the smallest drill bit I had in the house which was a 1.5mm and used this to drill a small hole in the front.

1.5mm was the smallest hole I could make.
1.5mm was the smallest hole I could make.

Now I had my aperture I needed a shutter so I used a piece of tape similar to the beer can method.

adding a shutter.
adding a shutter.

I went into the darkroom and carefully cut and loaded a piece of light-sensitive paper into the tin. The ridges inside the tin held the paper in place nicely. I wanted to get a direct comparison to the beer can image as I wanted to see if this new device would produce any better quality so I headed to the same alleyway I took the original images from.

 

1 second exposure
1 second exposure

I was unable to calculate a correct exposure so I had to use the trial and error method. When I did the beer cans I started at 20 secs on over exposed so much the images went black. This time I decided to start at the other end of the scale and begin with a 1 second exposure. As you can see from the above image there is almost no detail so a longer time was needed.

5 second exposure
5 second exposure
8 second exposure
8 second exposure

At 5 seconds there was a lot more detail beginning to show but it was still under exposed. At 8 seconds it was marginally better.

12 second exposure
12 second exposure

I felt at 12 seconds the exposure was going to be as good as it will get. The light was constantly changing as the sun played a game of hide and seek behind the clouds making it very difficult to get the same conditions twice. During this last exposure the sun was out and the contrast between the lighter and darker areas meant that it was almost impossible to get a consistent exposure across the image. My goal however was to see how this method compared with the images I took in the same area with the beer can camera.

New Pinhole Camera
New Pinhole Camera
18 Second Exposure
18 Second Exposure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Placing the two images along side each other I was able to see that the new pinhole images were really very similar to the old one. There was not the marked improvement in quality I was hoping for. There does appear to be more detail in the newer version and the image is not distorted as the paper was able to sit neatly without bending, however there is not a sufficient improvement to warrant using this method.

If I wanted to use the new camera then it would also create the problem of loading the paper whilst in the middle of the Lincolnshire countryside. I had considered my best option would have been to take a selection of pre cut paper with me and a light-proof black sack so I could reload on the go. If the images had proven much better it might have been worth attempting this but as there was no real benefit I moved onto other ideas.

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