DIY Pinhole Photography

A recent article written by Steven Dempsey showed up on my Twitter feed Saturday. I was drawn to the eerie quality of his work as I read about his passion for pinhole photography, which he achieves with a DIY lens he made with a body cap.

Not one to pass up an opportunity to destroy a camera accessory for the sake of art, I immediately sent my engineer husband the wikihow directions. He’d already taken apart my 50mm and removed the rings so I can use it better during freelensing, and he needed a new project.

Note: Dempsey shared this wikihow link on the article in case others might want to make their own DIY pinhole lens, but I like this one better. Not only does it provide an easier method, but it also explains pinhole photography in detail and gives tips and even links to galleries of pinhole photography to inspire you.

What I love about the images this method creates is their old-fashioned quality (especially if you have a dirty sensor like this naughty freelenser). And since the pinhole requires a longer exposure, motion blur seems to be a must, especially the motion blur of a living subject. It transforms the images from antique photos to eerie stories told by long-forgotten voices.

Who knows, maybe I could start writing spine-tingling short stories to go with them?

These images were all taken with the first pinhole lens Chris made me. But, as you can see, they’re very blurry. Blur is normal with pinhole photography, but too much blur could mean the hole is too large. He made me a new one last night and, though I haven’t had much time (or light) to play around with it, I can already see that things are much clearer through this one. I hope things warm up and/or brighten outside soon so I can have some real fun.

Check out Steven Dempsey’s flickr gallery here.

All images © Lina Forrester

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