A better image taken from outside the house using a beer can pinhole camera

I also mounted two pinhole cameras outside the house on a south facing wall.  These cameras were based on beer cans as the Ilford photographic paper fits very nicely inside a standard size aluminium beer can.  Like the indoor cameras the exposure time was also 6-months, but it looks like the Sun’s path has come out a lot better on the outside cameras.  No vertical exposure streak either 🙂  The white fibreglass dome of the New Forest Observatory can be seen in the centre of the image.  The checkerboard pattern across the centre of the image is the patio, and sitting in the centre of the patio you can just make out the teak table and chairs.  Only thing wrong with this image is that I didn’t have the camera angled upwards enough to capture the Sun at the peak of its travel.  However – I have just reloaded the beer can cameras and put them back on the south facing wall, but they are now angled upwards by about 30 or so degrees so I should definitely get the Sun at its highest point tomorrow – the summer solstice 🙂

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2 Responses to A better image taken from outside the house using a beer can pinhole camera

  1. Lance Larsen says:

    I ran across your pinhole camera image while perusing MailOnline. Aside from an amazing view of nature seen in a completely new way, I was quite interested to learn from their article that a pinhole camera will actually “burn” an image onto a sheet of paper. The poor electronics in my digital cameras! If only I had known how much power I was unleashing on them by turning a lens cap into a pinhole lens! Never again! 😉

    All kidding aside, I really did enjoy how you managed to think a bit differently and present data in a new way.

    I did have a couple thoughts though, so I thought I might share them with you (for whatever they are worth–if for nothing else than a thought experiment). It would be interesting to try doing the OPPOSITE of what you did in the experiment on this page–try loading the paper (I’m assuming you are using paper instead of film) on a convex surface instead of a concave surface. That should create nearly horizontal lines, shouldn’t it? Wrapping it around the outside of a beer can residing inside a larger pinhole camera should do the trick. The paper would only need to go around half the can, of course. If I were going to do it, I would paint the can flat black to avoid light scatter inside the camera. Or better yet, hold the can over a candle and capture the soot on it then (standing well back from the candle!) spray it with a lusterless flat lacquer overcoat (from the hobby store spray paint aisle), or Krylon 1311 Matte Finish (from the hardware store). You would probably need to do a small patch at a time to avoid getting it all over your fingers. Soot is very black, as scatter free surfaces go.

    My other thought was to use a compound on the paper that reacts more toward the UV end of the spectrum, although you likely are already. I was thinking that perhaps you might get more cloud penetration, thereby lowering the number of days the sun couldn’t get through on the overcast days.

    You’ve probably thought of these things already, and if so then I apologize–you can just bask in the praise. 🙂

  2. Greg Parker says:

    Hi Lance,
    If you look at a very recent article you will see I put the photographic paper inside a flat camera (a Tea-caddy) so that there was less distortion of the recorded image. Yes you could put the paper around a convex surface – definitely worth a try just to see what you get 🙂 My next step up is a little less adventurous. I will be using 7″ x 10″ photographic paper (instead of 5″ x 7″) inside a 4″ drain pipe to create a bigger pinhole image.

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