Camera Obscura- A Rainy Day Project


Photograph by Erin Smith (taken with camera seen below)


April hasn’t been the prettiest month- the old saying remains true. April showers do bring us May flowers, but until then it may be hard to find inspiration in such grey days. If you’ve taken your share of raindrop macros and are looking for something a little different to do on that rainy afternoon, I have the solution- a little craft project that any photo enthusiast will enjoy, and learn from!

Ever heard of a Pinhole Camera? Also known as a Camera Obscura, it’s basically a light tight box (canister, container, etc) with film on one end, and a tiny pinhole on the other. Pinhole can be the simplest form of photography, but it can also be made as complicated as you like. It’s really an art form all by itself, one that can be very forgiving to those of us that are new to its ways. No matter how the pictures turn out, it’s a rush in itself having built your own camera!

There are many ways to make a Pinhole Camera. Search google and you’ll find plenty of different websites with varying instructions. They can even be built in abandoned rooms, vans, or old refrigerators! The one that caught my eye, though, was the matchbox pinhole. I liked the simplicity, and the fact that everything used to make it is relatively common; for example the 35mm film. You can find the instructions for it here, along with a link to a forum with lots of useful tips!

Matchbox Pinhole by Erin Smith


Some things to consider if you decide to use these instructions: a sharp knife is absolutely necessary to make the edges of your picture sharp. You might find black paint easier to use then a black marker, but don’t forget to let it dry completely before loading your film. When you make your pinhole, use the smallest needle you have. Basically; the smaller the hole, the sharper the image (a tripod will help with this too). You might also find it helpful to use a pencil as a drill- just poke your needle into the eraser end. Most importantly- make sure it’s light tight! Tape it until you’re comfortable no light will leak in, and then tape it a bit more! Leaks are your biggest enemy!

If you’re feeling inspired, you’ve got just enough time to participate in Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD). This year it’s being held on April 25th. You can browse their website for photographs from years past, and upload your photo’s this Sunday to participate! You can also find more information about Pinhole photography, in general, here.

Sometimes we do need to think inside the box (canister, container, etc).

How will you spend your next rainy day?