Taking Your Pinhole Camera to the Zoo - Lomography Tipster


Part of Lomography is about experimentation and having fun. Trying to use a camera in an unlikely scenario can be fun and rewarding. Taking a pinhole camera to the animal park can be one idea for a challenge in another of our monthly installments from Lomography author neanderthalis.

I have been enamored with pinhole cameras since I bought my first one roughly two years ago. You will probably see a lot of photos of fields, waterfalls and lapping water along the shoreline.

I am guilty of those fun and basic pinhole photography subjects. They are often beautiful and mesmerizing, but I wanted a challenge. Why not take the pinhole where things move and ideal conditions may not be readily apparent? Here is a tipster to help you try something new.

First you will need to pack a bag with some basics:

  • Pinhole camera of your choice (Mine: Holga 120WPC with the 6×9 mask in place for 8 frames per roll and a cable release)
  • Film – I recommend bringing various speeds because lighting conditions may change often (I brought a selection of 100 and 400)
  • Notepad – Pinhole photography is a learning process, notes of conditions and how long you held the shutter open are useful when you want to remember what you did to get that shot you love. (I use cheap spiral notepads from the bargain bin at the discount store)
  • Timer – Stop watches, 1 one thousand counting, wristwatch... (I prefer a kitchen timer that I can program the amount of time I think the shutter should be open)
  • Tripod – long exposures are aided by a stable camera (I prefer something tall that can lift the camera above the railing to view animals easily)
  • Patience – People will probably not get out of your way or walk in your shot and animals will RARELY pose.

Animals may or not cooperate either, the goat held still for seven seconds but the tortoise would not hold its head still for the same amount of time. Not what I would expect.

It is a lot of fun with some pictures showing movement while other aspects are perfectly still. This is often the case with active animals like monkeys in a cage or elements like water or trees. I recall kids running all around the playground but are little blurs in the negative.

Remember that the photos need not be perfect, but a captured memory that helps you recall that moment in time. I find I have a special connection to my pinhole pictures, a little more than those shot from a crystal clear glass lens.

Have fun and try something new and fun with your camera, be it a Russian classic or a simple lensless box.


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