Category Archives: Pinhole Photography

Woodward Park – Springtime Pinhole Photography Holga 135 PC

Appeal to the Great Spirit at Tulsa's Woodward Park

I took both Holga 135 PC Pinhole Camera and my Canon Superzoom to Woodward Park on Sunday. So I have a few shots where I got similar images from both cameras.


I had to fiddle with the exposure on the Canon for this. Of course with the pinhole camera there is no adjustment besides how long you manually open the shutter. The sculpture looks a lot better with the digital but the background is a mess. The pinhole camera “schmears” the background a little and IMHO gives the overall photo a little bit better look.



This bridge and rock stairs is kind of a draw in my opinion. I have to tell you that I like the film shot a bit better.



This shot across the water is markedly different. The water was a little ripply from the wind and the schmearing effect of the long shutter time gives the surface an ice rink kind of appearance. The people across the pond have a more mysterious appearance. The digital camera provides tons more clarity.



You know, what the heck. Can you go wrong with daffodils as a subject. I don’t think so.

So what do you think? Am I crazy for liking pinhole cameras?

Googie Influenced Architecture at Oral Roberts University

(Learning Resource and Graduate Center)

A couple weeks ago I spent an hour or so on the Oral Roberts University campus. I had my Holga 135PC pinhole camera with me. Most of the buildings on the campus were designed by one man, Frank Wallace are in a style now known as “Googie” but back then in the early 1960’s was known as “Space Age.” The buildings are ORU use lots of bronzed reflective glass.

(Learning Resource and Graduate Center)

(Christ’s Chapel – A Figurative Tent to reflect Oral Robert’s beginnings as a tent revival preacher.)

For a long time the architecture looked outdated and run down but the revival of all things retro and 1960’s it seems that the buildings are coming back in style. It helps that they now have money for maintenance and upkeep.

(A digital pic of Howard Auditorium with its geodesic dome)

(This isn’t architecture, this is just having fun)

(Shooting a shot with a pinhole camera into a reflection of the sun. My question is how can you have lens flare without a lens?)

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Skywatch Friday – A Pinhole Sky


A view of the sky taken with a pinhole film camera, a Holga 135 PC. The camera has a 0.25 millimeter hole instead of a lens and uses 35 mm film. So it is really old school. I use an Ipod Touch App to tell me how long to hold the shutter open so there is some tech involved. I also have to use a tripod and cable release to get decent results. Which looks kind of funny overall because the camera is an inexpensive plastic contraption. But I have fun with it.

Skywatch Friday

My Next Camera,Maybe? The work of Abelardo Morrell

As some of you know I am attracted to cheap offbeat cameras. My latest project is a pinhole camera that my Mother in Law gave me. I posted a few pics yesterday.

As much as I enjoy that camera and as much as I plan on using it some more I have my sights set on something even more ambitious but still relatively inexpensive.

I subscribe to National Geographic and a few months ago they had a photo spread that blew my mind away. It was photographs taken by a man named Abelardo Morrell and he used a “Camera Obscura” to take the photographs. A Camera Obscura is a fancy name for pinhole camera except in this case he used a tent as a camera and a periscope as the “pinhole.”  On National Geographic’s web site they showed some photographs he has made where he used hotel rooms and other small rooms as his “camera.”

The above for example is an image of St. Mark’s Basilica that is projected onto the wall of a study in a building across from the Basilica. The study is totally blacked out including the windows with just a hole about the size of a dime being the “pinhole.” Of course you have to use a regular camera to photograph the photograph so to speak. Abelardo used a small lens to flip the image to “right side up” since a pinhole camera shows a flipped image.

This is an image of Central Park by Morrell showing the upside down image.

And the following is a video put together by National Geographic showing how they made their own “room camera.”

So my next project is to make a room size Camera Obscura. Our house has an open floor plan plus lots of windows and I don’t think that Heather would appreciate me turning one of the rooms into a camera. We actually have a couple of rooms that would work except they don’t look over anything besides a picket fence in our side yard.

So I have fixed my sights on a hotel room in Dallas in April. I’m attending a convention there and I have already made my hotel reservations. It will be on the 37th floor of a hotel downtown. So, unless opportunity presents itself somewhere else that is where it will be.

Of course I have a few things to work out. First off of course is that my employer sends me to conventions to work and learn not build room size cameras. Plus I’m not sure how the hotel feels about it. Can you imagine the maid opening the door and seeing that I have overlaid plastic over the windows except for a small hole? They might want to discuss the situation. Plus I’ll have to have mastered my “good camera” for low light. long exposure because what the naked eye sees is really very dim.

So whaddya think? Am I off my rocker? Should I go for it?

I think it will be fun. I just don’t know how I’m going to bring the camera home with me. 

National Geographic Online Feature on Camera Obscura

Abelardo Morrell website Check it out. The man’s creativity is awe inspiring.

Holga 135PHC – Pinhole Camera – Second Roll

I’ve been experimenting some more with my new pinhole camera. This time I loaded it up with some ISO 100 speed film which is pretty slow. Some of the shots required up to 45 seconds of exposure time. Sunny shots required about two to five seconds. Needless to say a tripod is required. Keep in mind there is no lens. Instead the camera has a whole 0.25 mm in diameter. Which of course is pretty small. So it takes a while to get enough light in there to take a photograph. The PinHoleMeter iphone app that I have on my Ipod Touch is invaluable for this process.


First I went to Centennial Park on Friday. It was quite overcast and so the exposures were taking a while. I know the pics are fuzzy but I like them anyway. I am not saying that they are good, just that I am seeing some possibilities. I think they have a timeless quality about them.

Centennial Park Fountains

Another pic that makes me think that I need new glasses.


I’m kind of in a bare branch tree mood these days.

Swan Lake Fountain - Pinhole Photography

They next day was Saturday. The sun was out Saturday and brightened up everything. Plus I had a cable release in addition to the tripod. I was having to hold the shutter open before and that adds to the unclearness. Anyway Saturday I was at Swan Lake Park in midtown Tulsa. With the extra light the colors pop out a lot more.


And again, I like the timeless touch and feel to these photographs.


And I like the deep colors.


Anyway, I’m still having fun with my new camera. It is amazing to me that one can get photographs without a lens just a tiny hole.

Lessons learned so far. I think that I get far better results with the 400 speed film rather than the 100. So I’m going back to the faster film for my next roll.

Have you been amazed by anything lately?

Pinhole Photography: Holga 135PC – First Roll


My MIL Nana gave me another film camera for Christmas, a Holga 135 PC. It doesn’t have a lens, it has a small hole (one fourth of a millimeter) where the lens is supposed to be. This is getting back to basics on photography. It has a manual shutter also. The shutter opens when you press the button and closes when you release it. This is because very little light gets through the pinhole and thus the shutter needs to be open for an extended time.


In bright sunlight you just open and close it as fast as you can. For shots in shade it may require up to 10 seconds. Inside shots can require a minute and a half.

(This is our dove nursery. We always get at least one dove nest here every year. Last summer I think we may have had three. Not all at the same time. We try and leave them alone and not stress them out.)

These cameras are known for making soft dreamy shots. Also, there is no focusing as it has a large depth of field.


The hard part is figuring how long to expose the film. A lot of chatter on the web about buying light meters and blah blah blah. Fortunately there is an app called PinholeMeter that I downloaded to my Ipod Touch. It uses the Touch’s camera along with the fstop and film speed to give you an exposure time. It worked great. Complicated light situations like the above are fun. I took readings on the rock wall, the shadowed glass, the wreath, the hedge, and the shadow. I got widely different exposure times so I used the wreath setting. As a result the rock got a little overexposed. It makes me appreciate all the ciphering that a digital camera does when it sets the aperture and exposure time.

(My tree shadowed on my neighbor’s wall. So you legal experts out there, who owns the shadow?)

All I need now is a “Take the Lens Cap Off” app. I took about ten shots before I realized that the lens cap was still on. Oh well.

(I love garden decorations. You don’t have to water them for one thing.)

I took the first roll of shots in and around the house just to test it and the app out a little bit. I am really pleased with the results.

(Neighbor’s willow tree. Pretty but I hate those long strings that fall in our yard. They don’t mulch very well when I mow the yard. They don’t rake up very well either.)

Of course this camera requires a tripod because of the exposure times. I am also going to get a cable release for the shutter. Anything to cut down movement of the camera is helpful.

Backyard Wheelbarrow
(Old school red wheelbarrow. How do you store your wheelbarrow?)

These images were made with 400 speed film. I have now loaded it with some slower 100 speed film and will be taking it out and about a little bit.

(I see lots of opportunities for double exposures.)

I love my digital cameras but there is something about film that really gets me. The richer colors of film, the nostalgic look, I don’t know exactly what it is but I just love film. I know that film in general and pinhole cameras in particular are pains in the butt and the effort is worth it to me.

(Hey, how about a shadow selfie. Holding down the shutter.)

What did you get for Christmas? Tell us about it.

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