Making progress happen by Jana Uyeda

Good morning! Just a quick update today as it's Chinese New Year and I'm headed out to Chinatown for lion dances, dim sum and more. Come out if you can! A few months ago I decided to place my pinhole camera on the lazy susan at a dim sum restaurant just to see what the final result would look like.

Dim Sum

I loved the final image but wanted to work a bit more on having something in focus while the camera rotated. A friend lent me a lazy susan and I did another experiment.

colbys house

The beer can wasn't secure enough and I'm not sure I like these experiments with black and white film. I loaded Kodak Portra 400 and went for dinner at a pizza shop in Ballard to expose another frame while rotating the camera on a lazy susan.

ballard pizza

It's getting better and I feel like some progress has been made.

I hope you're all staying warm and getting out to shoot today. Have a great weekend and I look forward to reading your posts next week. Mahalo!

Pinhole experiments at Sun Ya by Jana Uyeda

Zero Image 6x9 / Kodak Ektar 100 / Exposure time: 65(ish) minutes / Developed by Panda LabsMy friend Espresso Buzz wanted to get dim sum one Saturday, so we headed out for Sun Ya. I wanted to experiment with the lazy susans that are on the larger tables and voila!

I have to admit, I am loving these long exposures. Happy shooting this weekend everyone, I look forward to seeing your work! Mahalo.

Costco pinholes, take two by Jana Uyeda

Well I have to admit my second attempt at photographing Costco with my pinhole camera did not come out as I had hoped. It took several attempts when I first began this experiment before I finally achieved a black and white pinhole of a shopping cart that I could be proud of. I wanted to create more. I shot a color roll this time and was in a different area of Costco so the overhead lights didn't feature as strongly in the final image. The camera was also in the child seat and not angled up from the bottom of the shopping cart. I was probably, ironically, feeling rushed. I didn't think and just velcro-ed the camera onboard. What's frustrating is that when I saw these rolls, I knew what I had done wrong. I can even say I felt that it wasn't a successful roll when I delivered it to Panda Labs.

Absolutely my fault. When I have too many distractions, I forget the small details and that's where I goof up. It's also how I learn and find new ways to see with my pinhole. In this case, however, I was too quick and didn't really consider my shot. Another lesson learned and another opportunity to grow.

The second shot was taken on the same day when I thought I'd experiment by placing my camera on the pile of raw meat. After all, this was Costco! Enjoy and mahalo!

Exploring movement through a lens-less camera by Jana Uyeda

This photo is a black and white take on the color pinhole shot I posted about earlier.  The landscape perspective was a favorite, but I didn't like the blown out sky so I decided to try the shot again.  I also wanted to see this in black and white.  So - voila!

One of my good friends often refers to my style of photography as 'shitty photography.' To explain her description, she refers to the 2008 movie Yes Man with Zooey Deschanel whose character teaches a 'jogging photography' class. If that doesn't make sense to you, here's a YouTube video to illustrate.


I've gotten a lot of questions from passengers while taking pinhole images on-board the West Seattle Water Taxi. They often ask what kind of camera I'm using, praise me for continuing to shoot film or wonder how old the hardwood Zero Image camera is. I think one of the most important questions I get is why I prefer to shoot pinhole.

The easiest answer is that I shoot pinhole because it doesn't look like most photography I see online. I'm inundated with sharp, saturated images everyday and the softness of a pinhole camera combined with the tonality of film are pleasing to my eye. The Economist recently posted an article about the growing trend towards analogue photography called Difference Engine: Digital disillusion. There is a definite sense of satisfaction when a roll is exposed correctly and developed properly which I don't get from shooting other cameras.

My pinhole series, specifically the Water Taxi and Shopping Carts series, are about exploring movement through a lens-less camera. Though a pinhole is not as sharp as modern glass lenses, it captures a great amount of detail without the harsh edges. While those details are important and can help to draw the eye of the viewer, paradoxically it's the blur that focuses my imagination. I'm not interested in freezing subjects, like the flag on the water taxi, because the boat and my city are constantly moving.  I want my pictures to be more than just a snapshot of the day.  My idea here is to capture the pace of my city as it moves, changes and evolves.

So there you have it. My attempt at explaining my own 'shitty photography' and I hope it was an enjoyable read. It's certainly helpful for me to write these blog posts as I don't always understand what I'm doing unless I type it out.

Have a great week and happy shooting. Mahalo!

Quick post: Portrait or Landscape? by Jana Uyeda

Here are a few shots taken from the West Seattle Water Taxi. I wanted to play with the American flag as it waves in the wind while the water taxi pulls away from the dock. Though I feel they are both successful, I wanted to ask which you prefer - the landscape or portrait shot?

The height of the portrait shot really emphasizes the flag staff, gives a pleasing geometry and I hardly notice what's going on in the background.

The width of the landscape shot really gives a sense of the surrounding area and the white waves foaming beneath the water taxi. I like this shot because I can see the city in the background and the white lines give me a sense of direction.

So what do you think? Portrait or landscape?

Hope everyone had a great and productive weekend. Can't wait to see your work. Mahalo!