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  1. #11
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    For several years I taught at an art camp for blind and visually-impaired kids in Michigan and we made our own pinhole cameras out of gallon paint cans. I predrilled a large hole in the cans and painted the interiors flat black but had the kids make their own pinholes in brass shim stock and tape it over the larger hole. They used black tape as a shutter. They had a gas doing it. It was important to use the large negatives and contact print them so that the kids with some vision could actually see the content of the images. The big pictures actually let them examine things in detail and see things that would be too small or fleeting for them to see normally.

    We also used Polaroid type 55 film in a camera I made by attaching a graflock back cannabalized from an old Speed Graphic to a piece of 3/4" plywood that I had cut a 4x5 hole into, and covered the front with an opaque sheet that held the pinhole shim. It gave a very wide angle effect and instant feedback. We printed those negatives on cyanotype paper that the kids coated themselves. You might make some cardboard or wooden box cameras that take a 4x5 holder in this manner as someone else suggested. (Polaroid Corporation also graciously donated several boxes of film to the project as did several other local vendors of photo goods. You might contact Polaroid or photo retailers about a similar donation for your group.)

    They also made cyanotype photograms and we even did several on 9x9 foot square muslin, laying the kids on it, etc. A great time had by all.

    I think you will find introducing the Scouts to photography very rewarding.

  2. #12

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    If you use the NEW Quaker box, the lid is indeed plastic and black paint may not be enough. I also add black paper to the inside of the box lid as well as a strip of black electrical tape around the lid to help the seal.

    Have fun!

  3. #13
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advise Tammy, et al...

    This may wind up being just as much fun for me as for the kids...

  4. #14

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    I did a similar project with 1st-5th graders. Third graders can do it! Check out www.paintcancamera.com. Also check out f295 website, and World Wide Pinhole Photography Day images from there. While the oatmeal carton is a great design, paint cans would be quicker. If you drill a large hole, then put in an aluminum can pinhole (predrilled for time's sake as well as safety, then use a strip of flexible magnet from the craft store for a shutter you'll be up and running in a hurry. When I make cameras from cookie tins I use a frame of flexible magnet painted black to keep the pinhole in place. I've tried it to hold the paper too, but it cuts down on exposure size and isn't that reliable. You may know this, but try doubling exposure times, and doubling again if not enough. It's fun to have many cameras for each view to get the best exposure. Have fun!
    This image was made with an oatmeal carton.
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  5. #15

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    Forgot one thing: try a foil and rubber band 'bonnet' over the lid to keep the light out. Contact paper and black paint aren't enough. And you're right- pinholing is great fun!

  6. #16

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    We used to do this with students. I found that the best boxes to use as cameras were the fairly rigid plastic boxes that luxury biscuit (cookie for non Brits) assortments come in. They have snap on lids made of cardboard in a plastic surround. The matte interior didn't need black paint to control reflections. Make a half inch hole in the middle of the lid and stick aluminium foil over it on the inside. Make a pin hole in the foil with a fine needle and stick a piece of heavy insulating tape over the outside to act as a shutter. The boxes will take a sheet of 8 x 10 printing paper which can be held in place with bluetack. Use VC paper without a filter or soft fixed contrast paper for the neg. To expose, just point and take off the tape. We found that 3-5 minutes was enough on a sunny day and correspondingly more in dull weather. Ordinary B&W paper is not panchromatic and the results can look a little odd but you can also use Panalure or even sheet film (both of which need less exposure) if you don't mind doing without a safelight at the darkroom stage. After exposure replace the tape shutter and dev, fix, wash and dry normally.

    To print, if you have a proper 8 x 10 contact printer, fine. Otherwise get a sheet of clean, clear glass a few inches bigger than the neg (tape up the edges for safety). Make a sandwich with a thin (quarter inch) sheet of plastic foam for support, a sheet of face up printing paper, the neg face down and the glass. You can expose by room light, but an enlarger is more directional and allows VC filters to be used.

    Incidentally, if you also want them to get something of a feel for optics, try using boxes of different lengths. You can get quite nice telephoto and wide angle effects by using very long or short cameras and even a zoom lens effect with nested boxes or an old camera bellows. Remember that the effective f number of the pinhole will change with focal length, so exposure times will differ markedly.

    David.

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