unMonday: pinhole camera!

I haven’t used film in… oh… about 8 years. My parents got me a little digital camera to take on vacation and I loved being able to immediately see if the photo I’d taken was good or not. It was also nice to take pics of anything I wanted, without the fear of “wasting film” hanging over my head. My film days were over (and they had barely begun). Then, when I came home from college one summer, I noticed my mom’s old Nikon in a closet and thought it looked like something fun to try. She re-educated me on film and the basics of photography, I bought a couple of rolls of black-and-white film and was off to shoot… the yard, my grandpa’s military uniform – learning aperture, exposure, and trying to manually focus was pretty daunting so I stuck with things I could take my time shooting. Once I got the hang of it though, it was a lot of fun! It was also forgotten when I went back to school and the ease of my little point-and-shoot digital camera. Digital was just so much more convenient.

All this to say, it’s been hard for me to understand Kyle’s love of trying out film again. I guess it could be fun, but what’s the point? is kind of how I’ve been feeling about film for the past few years. That is, until I listened to him tell me about pinhole photography. Now that sounded pretty unique and cool. Maybe something I should try… so I found a kit where you can build a re-usable pinhole camera and decided to order it.

Buy the DIY Pinhole Camera and Sunprint Kit at the Photojojo Store!

I know there are quite a few do-it-yourself options for building pinhole cameras out of things you have right around your house, but I went with the kit so that I could [hopefully] use it more than once and learn a bit about how cameras work and are put together in the process. I saved this little project for when we were at my husband’s family’s house up in the mountains – as I wanted to use it up there first. It’s a great kit and was a lot of fun to put together.


Who’s there? It’s James on a path in the trees.

I love all of the big trees and mountains around their house. I have not edited any of these photos… they are just how they came out of the camera. For the most part, I held the camera and hoped I didn’t shake toooo much. I wanted to see how the images would come out this way, and I was still unsure of how long to expose the film… a lot of this roll was me hoping for the best :) and I was extremely excited when I got it developed and saw that at least I actually did have pictures!

For this shot, I set the camera on the ground to stabilize it.

How cool, to build a camera, put a roll of film in it, and actually have it work and have photographs to show for it!!! I can’t wait to take it out again – especially now that I know my exposure timing was alright. I may try to use a tripod or something for clearer images, but I kind of like the little blur and soft look too… what do you think?

This feels more picturesque than I think it would in a crisp, digital image. It reminds me of an old Yellowstone postcard or something.

It’s also fun to see the imperfections that can only happen with film. I know I took a shot of the trees where you could see their tip-tops up in the sky, but I have no idea how this happened…

As you can see, it’s not a reflection – but it almost looks like one.

I’m guessing I didn’t wind the film quite right at this point, and this is somehow a double exposure. However it happened and strange as it is, I think this photo is actually my favorite of the entire roll. It’s crazy and unique – a reminder of why film can be fun and useful still in this digital age.



  1. Candy Craddick

    How great to see you actually got some pictures! I think the blur is kind of nice as well…how many times I’ve seen photographers do that on purpose. My dad did a double exposure when we were at Disneyland…we were in teacups over the Grand Canyon! It was our favorite, too!

  2. Pingback: unMonday: july mountains | PHOTO HERE PHOTO THERE

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