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  1. #1
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Pin Hole Camera - Large Format???

    Okay. Start laughing now...because in a few lines, you'll wonder why you didn't start right from the begining...

    I am actually looking for advise/recommendations from those that might have tried this...

    As a project for a group of Cub Scouts (HEY!, Don't jump threads just yet! I'm serious!) in which I want to see if I can spark interest in photography in them AND get them to create something with their own hands, I've decided to have them construct their own pin hole cameras. I'm planning to have them do this over a period of several 1 1/2 hour meetings.

    I found a site that very simply describes how to construct one out of a Quaker Oats container and using b/w photo paper as film. Exposing a 5x7 inch piece of photo paper makes it Large Format photography, right. (Are you laughing yet?) We will be loading and developing the negatives in my, as yet unbuilt, darkroom. We will also be reversing the negative and creating a contact positive.

    Does anyone have experience with this and do you have any suggestions for me? The group of four boys are of average intelligence and attention span (Okay, NOW your laughing...).
    Fixer scented Glade; for those that just can't leave the darkroom.

  2. #2
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    Heck I actually made a halftone in a Quaker Oats box (a lithographic dot picture for those graphic art history challenged folks) and we published it on the front of the newspaper. I made the hole in the side of the box, taped foil ovrer and pinholed it. Then I put lithographic film in with a halftone screen on top, gave it the prerequisite shadow dot flash exposure and set it outside the door of the office with a brick on top for 20 minutes. The brick is a very necessary accessory to the Quaker Oats camera, keeps it from being blown away. After the 20 minutes were up I took it into the darkroom and tray processed it to the proper dot size and went from there to the plate to the press.

    Be very sure you can get the old style box with the paper lid, as the new plastic ones are translucent and will fog the paper inside. Of course you can use most any old box as long as it closes up light tight.
    Gary Beasley

  3. #3
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Its hard to find the old style boxes. The instructions that I received tell me to paint the interior, including the lid, flat black.
    Fixer scented Glade; for those that just can't leave the darkroom.

  4. #4
    Jon King's Avatar
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    I did a variation on this with a scout den when they were in 4th grade. I'm not sure if I would do it with that group of kids when they were much younger - I'd have ended up doing too much of the work. If you are their normal leader, you'll know how to tame the wild pack of animals and keep them focused long enough to make the camera - Can you tell I was a Cub Scout leader?

    The kids made the cameras, pinholes from soda can aluminum, and had a blast taking the images. Once I told them they could walk quickly in front of the camera in a 2 minute exposure and they would not be in the photo, they quickly came up with pictures of themselves in several places, hitting themselves, waving their arm so it 'disappeared', and so on and so on. Not a single 'boring' landscape image

    I saw one of the kids, now 13, a few weeks ago, and he told me what fun he had making the images - from a teenager, I'll take that as a sign of success.

    I didn't have a darkroom then, and was somewhat limited in time, so we made a corrugated box camera, and used polaroid film in a 545 holder. I looked at the oatmeal box idea, but didn't actually do it, so I don't have any experience with that.

  5. #5
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    There are billions of old Oscilloscope cameras on Ebay for very little $. Most of them work with Polaroid pack film like 665 and 108. Since our attention spans are short and getting shorter, Polaroid is the perfect pinhole. The little buggers can see in 60 seconds if their "vision" is in fact fine art! You just throw the front of the camera away and tape a piece of black mat board with an appropriate pinhole and bam, you're an arteeeeeest.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

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    Paper is quite slow, about 4-6asa I work from, which allows you to do the nifty things mentioned above (and pictured below, although not a great example). When you're working on your exposures, you really need to contact print it to see if you've got the detail you want as the contact can reveal detail that doesn't seem to be there on the neg. If you standardise on on container, you can do some pre work to work out what works (exposure, pinhole size, construction requirements) and avoid boring the little minds and looseing their attention early (once they see the end result I think they'll forget the Playstation, Nintendo, etc for a few minutes!) If I was doing this I'd really want a way of developing the paper on the spot.

    A good site to have a read of is http://www.mrpinhole.com/ There's some calulators to help you with your camera design and exposure.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ghost.jpg  

  7. #7

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    Large oatmeal boxes, cashew tins (using paper cut in a circle and the pinhole in the base), even a stereo pinhole. That last is a challenge. You need two similar size pinholes, and a divided box.

    It might pay to have some pre-prepared pinholes. It takes time to make a clean one, and 1.5 hours is not very long in order to make the camera, and make / develop pictures. I have done it in around 3 hours with a group of adults.
    I feel, therefore I photograph.

  8. #8
    127
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    I made my pinhole from a card index box. I drilled out a large hole, and taped tin foil over it to contain the actuall pinhole (a LOT saver than having kids cut up soda-cans!). Vecro round the outside makes the light seal.

    Paper works fine - use grade 1 if you can get it. It's cheaper than film, and you can dev/load under safelight (again - usefull for me, ESSENTAIL if working with kids), and get to see the negative develop.

    I'd set up a darkroom "on location", even if that limits your location. I've always shot pinhole's around the local neighbourhood, as you can set up the dev trays, go out and shoot one frame, then return to the darkroom to dev and reload. The gratification is instant, and you can adjust exposures based on previous shots.

    Ian

  9. #9

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    polaroid makes a pinhole camera kit. Sells for $79-99 each and are sometimes available on ebay as wholesale lots.
    Eric
    www.esearing.com

  10. #10
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    I may pre construct the lenses for safety reasons.

    Its a small group, only four, so there will be few control issues (hopefully). They're chatterboxes, but really good kids. Third grade does seem a bit young, but its part of their badge work and I thought it would be a whole lot better than just throwing some disposable cameras at them and waiting for WalMart to do the "magic".

    I had planned on constructing the cameras in one session and doing the photography in another. I did want them to see the images materialze and take advantage of the cool factor.

    With failing light issues in the afternoon, I may have to test exposure times before the real photo session. We'll see how it works out.

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