Greetings from Prague...
For quite some time now, I have been devoting my personal work to pinhole and zoneplate photography...for a long time I would look at both my own, and others pinhole work and wonder why it is that so much of it lookes washed out and flat. after about six months of shooting and not really getting negs I liked, I decided to build some makeshift lens shades and see if this might make a difference...I couldnt believe the difference it made, much more contrasty and rich...it really helped to gather in all that stray light especially with the long exposures invloved. I also started to use a variety of filter gels and that too made a huge difference as well...especially a light red filter. I've always overdeveloped my zoneplate negs by as much as 3 times or more to get the contrast I wanted...this is common practice with zoneplates, but I started to do this (to a lesser degree) with my pinhole negs and poof...nice punchy negs.
Just thought I'd share my findings...
The reason I stopped doing pinhole stuff was because of the lack of contrast. I never thought about a lens shade. Thanks for the information. Time to break out the paper box camera and plant a lens shade on it.
Lens shades continued
One thing to watch out for is that the lens shade doesnt get in the frame...if you dont want it. For me it was easy as I shoot mainly with a hasselblad and a series of pinhole and zoneplate bodycaps...the zoneplates allow enough light transmission when shooting exterior, to be able to see the frame quite well...so I compose with the zoneplate and then if I want to shoot a pinhole version I just swap the bodycaps...same perspective and field of view...I can see if the lens shade is in the frame or not with the zone on. I also use gaffers black wrap and sculpt irregular shaped lens shades that are purposefully in the frame...kind of sculpted vignetting, if you will.
If possible, could you post a couple images. One with and one with out the lens shade? Just to satisfy my curiosity.
Interesting. I did a semester in school with pinhole, and the proffesor gave me comments wondering how I got mine to have excellent contrast where typically the pinholes are washed out. I didn't have a good reason and was unable to answer the question.
But now. My pinhole was recessed into a large format shutter to the point that the threads for the lens elements where visable in the frame. I bet this was acting as a lens hood giving the images and added punch.
Your experience is quite interesting, LDH. The conventional wisdom of using a lens shade is to prevent stray, non-image forming light from striking the front lens element, and thus bouncing around between lens elements and the film, reducing contrast. I wouldn't have expected the same benefit on a pinhole camera, due to the lack of a lens. But, I suppose there is a possibility of non-image forming light reflecting off the inside edge of the tiny aperture plate, causing contrast-robbing flare.