World Wide Pinhole Day – DUMBO Pinhole Walk

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Pinhole hunting season is officially afoot! This Sunday, April 24th is World Wide Pinhole Day, so put aside those multicoated glass lenses and step back in time and try one of the oldest forms of photography. See my previous link for an explanation on what a pinhole is and what types of pinhole cameras are out there. You can adapt any digital camera to take a pinhole body cap or lensbaby pinhole/zoneplate but I find the best images come from homemade pinhole boxes or the beautiful Zero Image teak and brass high end cameras. Pinhole Photography will force you to slow down your process and be more reflective. Average exposures during the middle of a sunny day tend to be 8 seconds. If you shoot indoors you are likely to exposure for hours. The below image is a 2 hour exposure taken yesterday. If you can name all 5 cameras in this image I will send you a $50 B&H Gift Card! Leave your guesses in the comments section below.

This will be the 11th year in a row that the world celebrates WWPD. I was surprised to see that there aren’t any scheduled events in NY, so I have decided to host one! Here are the details for the DUMBO Pinhole Walk:

Where: Meet in front of the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
When: 1pm Sunday April 24th – rain or shine
What you need to bring: Pinhole camera, film or digital capture, and tripod.
I will have extra cameras, film, and light meters if you are new to this and want to try it out, but there will be limited quantities and will go to the first arrivals.

From there we will walk and pinhole around Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge area. This free pinhole photowalk will go until 5pm and we will end back at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for a celebratory scoop!

If you are not in the NY area and want to participate check here to see if there are any events near you or host one!

Click here to RSVP, one lucky attendee will win a signed 1st edition of Michelle Bates “Plastic Cameras, Toying with Creativity

Hope to see you there!

World Wide Pinhole Day 2010

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Well I hope you polished off your pinholes and had some fun this weekend!  The last Sunday of every April marks World Wide Pinhole Day.  People from all over the world take a step back and use a handmade pinhole camera or converted digital camera to create amazing images.
This year’s online gallery is already starting to populate so check out it out!
My film shots are still waiting to be dropped off at the lab tomorrow, but I did take my Lensbaby ZonePlate/Pinhole lens for a walk with my D700 camera.  In the two shots of the daffodils I wanted to show the difference between the soft focus glow of the zone plate and the soft sharpness of the pinhole.  The beauty of the Lensbaby dual optic is the ease that you can switch between Zone and Pinhole mode.  This $35 optic will definitely make you see in a new way with your Lensbaby.  The Zone Plate is a permanent f/19 and the Pinhole is f/177, both settings make it dim to look through the viewfinder of your SLR camera.  I find it easier to compose by putting my camera in Live View mode, which shows the “live” image on the back of the screen.  In a sunny environment the Zone Plate is easy to compose this way. Take a test shot, if  you like it ~ why not shoot it again with the pinhole setting?  I advise using a tripod if possible.  The Zone Plate is easy to use handheld on a sunny day but the pinhole will have 2-10 second exposures on a bright day.  Remember the Pinhole setting needs about 5 more stops of light to get the equivalent exposure.
Don’t feel like counting the math of 5 stops?  Here is a little reciprocity math trick:
I call it the Six Stop Rule:
If your Zone Plate Exposure equals 1/10 of a second exposure
Change your Pinhole to a 10 second exposure, which would be 6 stops difference, then half that number (subtract a stop) which would be 5 seconds and the equivalent of 5 stops.

Let’s try it again:
Zoneplate Exposure equals 10 seconds.  To add each stop of light you need to multiply by 2.
20 seconds = 1 stop
40 seconds = 2 stops
80 seconds = 3 stops
160 seconds = 4 stops
320 seconds = 5 stops
320 seconds = 5 1/2 minutes.  The difference between 5 and 5.5 minutes at such a long exposure is negligible.

You can use the “Six Stop Rule” easily to compute the switch from zone plate to pinhole with the Lensbaby optic.
Tens of seconds = Seconds (minus a stop) – 1/8 second = 4 seconds
Seconds = Minutes (minus a stop) – 15 seconds = 7.5 minutes
Minutes = Hours (minus a stop) – 2 minutes = 1 hour

I’ll be teaching more about the Fine Art of the Long Exposure at a FREE seminar at B&H Photo on May 27th from 11am-1pm.  Feel free to bring by any pinhole or night images for feedback, and if you shot any pinhole on World Wide Pinhole Day, upload them to their site!

Hope to see you there.

Pinholes from Pittsburgh ~ Upcoming Events

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Soldiers and Sailers #2 Carnegie Dinosaur #1

Pardon the lack of updates lately, strange things happen to me and computers it seems during the summer…

Anyway, there are some spectacular Photo Events coming up in my two favorite cities in the States, San Francisco and New York, that I wanted to promote.

This Saturday August 29th, the alternative visions of f295, make their first symposium stop on the West Coast! I’ve been attending these events for the last 3 years in Pittsburgh and Tom Persinger brings together an amazing collection of “21st Century Photographers” to discuss their unique visions that incorporate the old and new technologies available to photographers. What’s great about this one day event at San Francisco State, is that it is free! It’s a full day of knowledge with featured speakers: Jo Babcock, Martha Casanave, Susannah Hays, Kerik Kouklis, Chris McCaw, Brian Taylor, Claudia Wornum, and of course Tom Persinger.
The above pinhole pictures were taken at this year’s f295 Photowalk in Pittsburgh.
For more info and to register for this FREE EVENT click here

D65’s Workflow not Workslow 4-day Lightroom seminar is also coming to San Francisco. I feel Seth and Jamie, of d65, give the best workshop on Lightroom that I have ever attended. You eat, drink, and breathe photography and a little wine for 4 intense days. Every person I’ve talked to that has taken this class has optimized their Photo organizing skills as well as gained a better understanding of the photo industry. The dates are September 11th-14th and for the SF workshop they are offering a special deal:

Buy one get one at 1/2 off  – you can bring a friend for half price

The total for two people would be $1648.00 (no other discounts can be applied)
Discount code is: SFSPECIAL
All the information on the workshop is at:

Now to New York…20+ of my images are hanging at the John Allan’s Club that is located on the 7th floor of Saks 5th Avenue! They’ll be up for another month or two before their next stop…but if he happen to be shopping on 5th Avenue, go check out my work!

I just got word that “Lost American” and Night Light Painter Supreme, Troy Paiva will be in a group show in New York that opens on September 9th. I don’t know where yet, this is really hot off the press, but I hope to see you there!

Heading back to SF, another Night Photography exhibit that features Troy, Joe Reifer, and Mike Hows opens on Friday September 4th at the Lucky JuJu Gallery. More details can be found here.

And finally…Are you afraid of the dark?
Well, this Halloween I will be teaching a Full Moon Night Photography Workshop in the Catskills of New York. The class will be from 2pm-2am on Saturday October 31st and will cost $300 including room and board! I’m limiting this workshop to 10-12 people so that you can get the most hands on experience. If you are interested in attending, email me ASAP at
I already have 7 people on the waiting list and it will be on first come first serve basis.
More details to follow…

WWPD Photos and Upcoming Events

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WWPD'09 #07
WWPD'09 #01 WWPD'09 Tulips 01

With the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom and exposures averaging 6 seconds, last month’s World Wide Pinhole day was truly a perfect pinhole~icious time.  I met 9 1/2 of my friends at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, it was one of the few hot and sunny days we’ve erratically had here in NYC.  Shooting with Fuji Instant 4×5 backs and the Lensbaby Zone Plate, newcomers to the pinhole realm were able to easily get feedback on exposures and how to compose without a viewfinder.  Pictured here is a selection of my favorite shots, click on them to make them larger and get more detailed info.

The next full moon is Sunday June 7th, and if you are in the New York area and want to brush up on your night photography skills come check out “The Fine Art of the Long Exposure” seminar that I will be giving twice on Wednesday June 3rd!  The first talk will be at B&H’s Event Space from 11am-1pm and then 7:30 -9:30pm that night at the Flushing Camera Club.  I’ve added about 30% new content and will feature images and insights from a recent trips to Prague and the Pearsonville Junkyard Workshop.

Time Exposed, my solo exhibit at John Allan’s Tribeca has been extended until June 11th.  From there it will move to the John Allan’s at Saks 5th Ave for the summer before ending at the flagship John Allan’s Midtown.  I hope to have another opening for the Midtown location this fall, so stay tuned.

And finally I just got back from the f295 Symposium in Pittsburgh.  I’m still recovering from seeing so many amazing tintypes, dagguerotypes, and other alternative processes and visions from some of the top 21st Century Photographers.  More images and info as soon as the film dries!

World Wide Pinhole Day 2009

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Coney Island Dreams Zero Image 4x5 pinhole camera ~ 75mm setting f/216 ~ 2 1/2 minute exposure on Fuji FP100C instant film
Coney Island Dreams ~ Zero Image 4x5 Pinhole Camera ~ 75mm f/216 ~ 2 1/2 min. exposure ~ Fuji FP100C Instant Film

Time to dust off your pinheads and get creative as today is World Wide Pinhole Day!

What is a pinhole camera?

It’s a camera that’s lens is actually a small pin-hole, usually pricked through piece of aluminum and then placed over the opening of a camera or box. It is the oldest form of photography and with the aperture of the pinhole lens equating to f/150 and beyond it can easily open you to seeing the world in a whole new way. Most modern glass lenses max out with an aperture of f/32 so a pinhole camera’s minimal exposure is usually 2-8 seconds on a sunny day.  Given that much time in a single exposure I choose to add subjects that have movement within the image, like water, clouds, or people walking. A pinhole will also give you infinite depth of field, so it is important to place something strong in the foreground to heighten that depth. The above image features both those elements. Shot at Coney Island during last year’s gloomy NYC World Wide Pinhole day I place the wide angle pinhole camera about a foot away from the rocks. I also made sure the camera was high enough to show the tide of the water coming in and out during the 2 1/2 minute exposure.
Weather-wise tomorrow looks to be a much better day in NYC with temperatures in mid-80’s! A group of us will are planning on shooting at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and maybe take a quick dip to Coney! Feel free to send me any of your WWPD images and I’ll post them on this site.
Here’s some more info on Pinholes and how to make a homemade pinhole camera.

Intimidated with making a pinhole camera here is a list of “Professional” pinhole camera that you can purchase and get consistent results from:

Build your own paper/cardboard camera by Lomo. These are fun cameras that give you the experience of “building our own camera” but with all the dotted lines to fold along! Both take 35mm film but do not feature a tripod socket. It’s a simple and fun way to get into pinhole photography but if you are serious you will need a camera with a tripod socket.
holgapinhole1 For a little more money you can upgrade to a medium format Holga or Diana plastic cameras. The most interesting of the bunch is the newly released wide angle multi-format Holga 6×12 Pinhole! My good friend and fellow blogger, Mike Murray just picked up one of these and I look forward to seeing his panoramic pinhole results!
santa-barbara4x5 Stepping up to Large format, the Santa Barbara wooden pinhole cameras offer sizes of 4×5, 5×7, 8×10, or 11×14. The 4×5 baltic birch superwide is the most common and is economically priced under $60! But the 11×14 size is pretty tempting for under $250!
zero-image-new My favorite is definitely the Zero Image brand of cameras. These cameras are handsomely constructed of teak and brass and offer a variety of formats to choose from. I personally own the 6×12 and 4×5 versions. Both offer a turret system so you can choose to use a pinhole or zoneplate lens, or a combination of both!
1_lensbaby_composer And finally the Lensbaby Composer or Muse can take the ZonePlate/Pinhole optic and easily make turn your digital SLR camera into a visionary camera. See my previous blog for examples.

Well whatever you use, from an oatmeal box to a high end pinhole camera I hope you have a great day slowing down and seizing the moments of time!