Pinholes: Playing with distortions / by Jana Uyeda

If you've taken a look at pinhole photography online (I'm obsessed with the Flickr group Pinhole Photography) you may have noticed that some formats create more distortions towards the edge of the frame than others. Generally, these are images created on larger format films like medium format (120 or 220) or 4x5 pinhole cameras. I wouldn't be capable of explaining the technicalities of why or how these distortions are achieved, but there is an excellent entry on Wikipedia which puts a lot of math on your screen. It makes sense that objects closer to the camera would become increasingly distorted as the light works to reach the film through the pinhole from an angle.

For my shot of these fallen trees at Greenlake Park, I placed the Zero Image a few feet from the cross-over of the two trunks. I took a photo with my iPhone which gives you a better idea of how close I was:

Now take a look at the Zero Image 6x9 image taken on medium format Kodak film. The logs are much longer and that piece in the middle looks much farther away from the camera than it really was.

This becomes more dramatic with leading lines or geometric shapes and can be a lot of fun to play around with. Have you experimented with these distortions?

On a side note, I finally had a chance to begin uploading a few images to my galleries:

Pinhole - these are just my random favorite, standalone shots

Shopping Carts - long exposure in your local grocery store cart. Great fun!

Water Taxi - capturing the 'hum' of the city from the West Seattle Water Taxi

If you're experimenting with distortions or pinholes, let's connect! It's so inspiring to see what you're producing.

Happy shooting this week. Mahalo!