oatmeal pinhole failures, help!

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by annam, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. annam

    annam Member

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    Hi Everyone/Anyone,
    I am a teacher and have made the oatmeal containers pinhole cameras and am struggling very much with the results. The images are turning black consistently. I think I am doing everything to the book but to no avail. Any suggestions before my next class tomorrow.
    Thanks,
    Anna
     
  2. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Well, black is total exposure of the paper; is there any chance the paper has been accidently exposed to daylight at any point in the process?

    Can you briefly go over how you do this process?
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Anna--welcome to APUG. There's no need to make the same post in three different threads. They'll all come up in everyone's "New Posts" view, and the discussion will be more coherent if it all takes place in the same thread.

    I suspect, as the above poster suggests, that you've exposed the paper to daylight. Did you load the paper into the oatmeal boxes in the dark or under a safelight?
     
  4. annam

    annam Member

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    1 cut a 1"x1" square, 1/3 up from botton of container
    2 cut a 1.5"x1.5" square of tin from a pie tin.
    3 tape tin to oatmeal container with electrical tape
    4 w/ no. 10 needle, drill as little as a whole as i possibly can, ( this i think is the problem, hole to big, need smaller needle.)
    5 use electrical tape for shutter.
    6 spray paint lid with flat black spray paint

    in darkroom place unexposed paper in container, close lid. expose for 2 seconds or less.
     
  5. annam

    annam Member

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    oh, sorry about the multiple posts. this is my first time in a chat room.
    yes, unexposed paper, under a safe light in the darkroom. i feel so silly because i have done this every year and it has not worked this year or last.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It is possible that the hole is too big.

    How about the development procedure? What chemicals are you using, what dilutions, time and temperature (and of course this should take place in the dark or under safelight as well). What type of paper?
     
  7. annam

    annam Member

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    we are using a generic of paper and chemicals, called arist. dilutions of the chemicals works fine for all the other prints done with enlargers. i don't think that is the problem i think perhaps it is the hole. i think i just need a smaller needle, i didn't think they could get smaller.
     
  8. annam

    annam Member

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    i don't know what the etiquette is but i am leaving for the day and will be back in the morning, thanks for your help and suggestions.
    anna
     
  9. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Use several layers of opaque tape on both sides of the lid and make sure to leave some room inside so the top will fit snuggly. Paint alone doesn't work very well. I'd also suggest getting a roll of duct tape and encircling the camera and base with a couple layers, then putting the pinhole shim and shutter in place. It would also be a good idea to spray the inside of the camera flat black.

    This was the procedure we did a couple years ago in a pinhole workshop taught by Dan McCormick using oatmeal cartons. Even having done all this we ended up with a few cameras that had light artifacts caused by the reflection of the image light off the film and onto another area.

    I suggest using quart or gallon paint cans as an alternative to the oatmeal box. New cans can be purchased at a paint store or home improvement store very inexpensively, and they hold up longer than cardboard. Again, paint the inside and lid flat black and carefully drill or punch a larger hole in the side over which the pinhole shim is placed. Be sure to have the can secured well (in a vise or clamped to the table) if you try to drill the hole and preferably use a drill press for that operation. You don't want to freehand the cylindrical can which can slip and end up with the drill bit going where you don't want it, like your hand. A hand file will also be needed to remove the burr around the hole.

    Paint or hardware stores will also usually give you those nifty little paint can keys gratis.

    Joe
     
  10. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    I'm not sure if you can get a hole too big with a needle and a two second exposure for paper. Paper isn't very sensitive, so even with a sizeable hole I doubt it would be completely black. I would bet on a light leak. You might want to stick a piece of that paper into the chemicals before you leave the darkroom to make sure that package did not get damaged (exposed). An oatmeal can must have an FL of about 75 to 100 mm directly opposite the hole, and that would put it in the .4 to .5 mm range for the hole. If you really think the hole is the problem, expose the paper for a much shorter time (half a second), and see what you get. Several of the guys at f295 flash their paper first to get the speed up into the many seconds range instead of the many minutes range.

    One thing that might help to determine the proper pinhole size would be Pinhole Designer:
    http://www.pinhole.cz/en/pinholedesigner/
    Also there is a pinhole specialist forum at http://www.f295.org for even more pinhole stuff.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No problem at all. This isn't really a "chat room" where people converse live online in real time (though APUG does have a chat room that doesn't get a huge amount of traffic normally--click on chat room to check it out, but it might not be working at the moment due to a recent server upgrade). APUG is mainly a discussion board, where people come and go, post, check back later, reply if they want to, etc.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Smeiglitz and Greg gave good advice. You may have a leak around the lid of the oatmeal container. A strip of black elastic from a fabric store sewn or glued into a super-size "rubber" band might help. Certainly painting the inside of the container and its lid will. Using a paint can avoids these problems. There are many sites with information on making pinholes and cameras. One of the best is Jon Grepstad. A pinhole that's burr-free and no larger than a No. 10 needle should work fairly well.
     
  13. PhotoPete

    PhotoPete Member

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    If you do have a light leak, you should find that paper placed in the camera will come out totally black even if you don't open the shutter. I would suggest that you put a piece of paper in the camera, leave it out in the same intensity of light and for the same duration as you have been, but don't open the shutter. Then develop the paper. If it is black, and the paper you tested with Greg_E's suggestion is not, you have a leak for sure.
     
  14. Kino

    Kino Member

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    And of course, to be totally sure, snip a small strip off the paper you use PRIOR to loading the pinhole camera and develop at same time as a control strip. It should come out blank, if not, you have a problem with the paper.
     
  15. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    And don't expect Rustoleum flat black paint to actually be flat, or you will find out the hard way that it isn't.... Suggestions are coming down to "special" Krylon camoflage (sp?) black paint. Walmart had it the other day where I am, but only in spray cans. You can read about the paint here:
    http://www.f295.org/Pinholeforum/forum/Blah.pl?b-cm/m-1156365080/
     
  16. Gabe Racz

    Gabe Racz Member

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    Good advice, I find that today's oatmeal container is more prone to light leaks than the oatmeal containers of 15-20 years ago. Especially the lid, which requires lots of black tape and black construction paper to keep tight. Yet another example of something that they don't make like they used to.
     
  17. Tammyk

    Tammyk Member

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    Anna, they are right about checking the paper you use-- even before exposing, just to make certain. Also, put the paper in your box, put in the sun, do not open the hole, and then process the paper. This will also tell you if the box is not light proof as suggested above.

    I will tell you that I made an oatbox pinhole last summer. The lids of these newer containers are plastic, and are not opaque enough, even with a coat of black paint. The quick fix that I did was to cut a small circle of dark cardstock and fit it on the top of the lid. The suggestion to tape the inside of the lid where it meets the box is also necessary for a tight fit.

    Good luck. I hope you reach success.

    Tammy
     
  18. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Aside from the great advice you've already recieved, you may also want to consider cornmeal cannisters. These are cardboard, with round cardboard lids, just like the OLD oatmeal cannisters.

    Another handy container to make into a camera for a group of students is a handfull of 35mm film cannisters. Just make sure they're the opaque kind, not the Fuji style. Use a 1/4" hole punch to pierce a hole in the side, then use black tape to attach the metal pinhole square. A small piece if photo paper will work for film, just ensure its not glossy finish, or you'll get light reflection bands in the picture.

    You can use a wide piece of photo paper and wrap it almost all the way around the interior, ensuring you don't obstruct the pinhole - you'll get a neat wide angle anamorphic image.

    You can also try placing the pinhole in the center of the lid, instead of on the side. Wrap the negative all the way around the inside, like a cylinder, and you'll get a true anamorphic image.

    Experiment & have fun.

    PS: see f295.org for more pinhole ideas.
     
  19. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Folks,

    Anna has done this before.

    She simply over-posted the first time and raised a hornet's nest of interest!

    If she is correct in how she handled the paper (and she says she's done this before with no problems) then I am guessing that the paper was exposed before she got it.

    Meanwhile, your various diagnoses have given me a quick into to pinhole photography (espescially via a Quaker Oats box).

    And also show what a fine bunch of gentlemen you are in coming to the aid of a lady in distress! :D
     
  20. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Well, we aim to please! :smile: