Back to the Art

11/07/2008 06:54

Work continues on the photofest project.  For the latest endeavor, I chose to build my camera.  The result was a large-format cardboard box pinhole camera.  The major problem I had with the camera was calibration.  Since it has no viewfinder, I had to essentially create one from scratch.  To solve this problem, I drew crosslines on white stock in my studio, 8 feet by 8 feet.  Then I measured out 7 feet of distance from the backdrop and exposed a photo at every foot.  After I developed the film, I placed the camera back at each foot and measured the view from just behind the camera.  Then, using push pins, I marked the edges of the exposure.  To protect against parallax error, I created a "nose guide," which was basically a styrofoam square.  If I put my nose on this square and close my left eye, I get a decent reproduction of the margins of the photograph. 

The next difficulty was with the lighting.  I wanted directed light for this project.  Again, since the funds are tight these days, I decided to build my own snoot.  I did this with a six-inch air duct pipe for dryers.  The problem is that the pinhole camera needs an inordinate amount of light to expose.  So I attached the duct pipe to a 600 watt halogen tungsten bulb.  Problem.  That light got so hot that it melted the attachment system and almost caught on fire.  So the redesign has air ports to allow for cooling, a shorter snoot, and a high speed fan cooling system.  It also contains a fire-retardant attachment system.  This has yet to be tested.  Finally, I color corrected the light so I can use daylight film.