No Camera Required

Not all photography requires a camera. Sometimes we make photograms, sometimes we make a “camera” out of a nut, and sometimes, like the image below, we lay things out on a plastic slide cases or flatbed scanner and scan them directly to our computers.

You don't need a camera to take a photograph

There are whole hell of a lotta ways to make a photograph. Once I even microwaved a roll of film in a bowl of marinara sauce and printed the film, which showed the chemical reactions of heat and the acid in the sauce. Those were some splashes of bright colour and fun times, but I’m getting off track. My point is: lots of fun can be had in photography without ever picking up a camera, so remember to have fun and experiment, because you never know what gems you might meet.

Cougar Mountain (Holga Pinholes)

Old railroad tracks and river at Cougar Mountain

Pinhole photograhy always fascinated me. To strip down all he bells and whistles and simply be left with a container that is otherwise light tight, apart from the light that enters through a hole that was made with a pin, and to be able to make images from such a primitive apparatus, is pretty effing cool. We don’t need lenses to make a photography, we just need patience.

See, because the hole a light must pass through in a pinhole camera is so small, patience is a must when shooting. Exposures in bright light can take 4-7 seconds, low light can take up to 20-60 seconds, ad night photography? Well, that’s whole other ball game. If you are lucky, your pinhole might be comparable to an f-stop of 64 (you can generally achieve this by using a beading needle if you are making your own pinhole camera) and you could use a light meter to get a estimate on your exposure time. Sadly, that’s not often the case and exposure times can be a bit of a guessing game.

Perhaps later we shall discuss the mechanics of making a pinhole camera, but today I simply wanted to share my latest adventure. I finally took the plunge and started shooting color in my Holga pinhole. Don’t ask me why I’ve only been shooting black and white film all these years, I really have no answer… but when the first really nice day of late spring hit the Pacific northwest, my wife and I went out to Cougar Mountain to hike the old railroad, which has long since fallen back into natures clutches, and is barely discernible. We hiked for 3 hours, and went less than a mile. That’s patience.

Waterfall at Cougar Mountain. The orange is from the iron in the area left over from the railroad work.