NYC in a Cardboard, Pinhole Camera

Wall of graffiti in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Wall of graffiti in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Back in December, I was given a pinhole camera set (P-Sharan) to play around with, along with a roll of 36 exposure Ektar 100 film.  I don’t know anything about film!  The last time I used it was in elementary school; I had a disposable camera when my family went camping in Yellowstone National Park.  You know how people make you look at their vacation photos, and they’re bad but you don’t say anything?  Mine were SO bad, people DID say something!! It probably had to do with my giant finger or thumb being in every frame :P

Shooting with a cardboard camera that I assembled myself, instead of my Canon T2i dSLR, was really different but extremely fun once I got started.  It took me over an hour to assemble, because I kept second guessing myself (but if you do this with a youtube tutorial instead of just the paper instructions like I did, it’s probably easier and faster!)….and probably I spent 20 minutes just trying to peel the double sided tape off its sheet!  But this thing works shockingly well, and it’s amazing how whoever designed the P-Sharan pinhole camera planned out its packaging.  Everything folds only one way and the way it should, ever compartment fits in to the other perfectly.  It’s amazing, really.  The kind of awe that IKEA would inspire with their packaging ingenuity.  But this is not a packaging post.  The camera came with a guide that tells how long to keep the shutter open (a physical sliding door at the front of the camera) for different environments….sunlight, cloudy days, indoors, night, etc, according to the ISO of your film.

Bedford Ave. station on the L train, exterior.

Bedford Ave. station on the L train, exterior.

Now I could tell I was doing it wrong while I was doing it, but too scared to mess it up that I just… you know…messed it up!  I counted deliberately slow, because I was scared to underexpose my shots, and ended up completely overexposing them!  So much so that it’s all white!  10/36 shots were 100% overexposed.  8 were underexposed or so abstract in the ugly way that I just will NOT upload those.  The remaining 8 were pretty cool!  It’s definitely Instagram-y, with the way the colors look and the heavy vignettes that pinhole cameras always give.  Coincidentally, 7/8 of these photos are from Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn intrinsically linked with Instagram-y retro style shoddy photographs.  Since I have so few, I’m posting my whole Flickr Set for them.

A German restaurant in Williamsburg, looks like a church.  Blurry but I like the colors.

A German restaurant in Williamsburg, looks like a church. Blurry but I like the colors. Exposure on this pinhole camera was like 4 seconds I think…damn long time to hold something steady.

I definitely like the soft feel and weird colors that the pinhole camera and film give you.

My sister’s office in Williamsburg:

Posters of Black Swan, which my sister and her studio did the VFX for.

Posters of Black Swan, which my sister and her studio did the VFX for.

Someone's bicycle hanging on the wall; the staircase before her studio's entrance.

Someone’s bicycle hanging on the wall; the staircase before her studio’s entrance.

Blue Bottle, a place with good cold brew coffee, super flavorful….but elitist, snobby “artisans” run this place and charge tons of money for a cup.  Very underexposed.

Cold drip coffee apparatuses at Blue Bottle.

Cold drip coffee apparatuses at Blue Bottle.

This building had a crack down the middle, a la House of Usher.

Sinking house in Williamsburg.

Sinking house in Williamsburg.

Last one!  The only photo in this set that is in Manhattan (Fulton St.).  I was pointing it at the same area as the main photo in the Phoneography: My Neighborhood post.

Pile of trash and rubble across the street from where I live.  Underexposed but caem out kind of abstract.

Pile of trash and rubble across the street from where I live. Underexposed but caem out kind of abstract.

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One thought on “NYC in a Cardboard, Pinhole Camera

  1. Oh pinhole photography, I remember doing this during art class back in elementary school since they wanted us to explore all sorts of arts. It is funny we never thought this would ever become digital about 10 years later either. Its is the original instagram ^_~

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