How Do I…

 

For the first “How Do I..”. I want to talk about “The Beast”, a super telephoto Pinhole camera.

I’ve built a number of Pinhole Cameras over the years. All sizes, shapes and colors, ranging from a Red Pepper Pinhole using B&W photo paper inside, through Normal & Polaroid film cameras of all sizes.

“The Beast” was most unusual one I have built. It was originally designed to photograph the World Trade Center site the year the 2 beams of light were projected into the sky. I expected there would be millions of images taken  and  I wanted to do something different, so I decided to build a super telephoto 8×10 pinhole camera and photograph it from the New Jersey side.

This seemed like a wonderful idea since I had a pickup truck that could easily be used for transport, tripod & stabilizer.

I built the body for the camera out of a “SonoTube” concrete pouring form, available at most big building supply stores.

These are wonderful things, cheap, sturdy, various diameters and lengths and easy to work with. I finalized the size at 48″ long using a tube of 14″ inches in diameter. I built a support frame out of pine I had lying around and the front out of black foam core. The back was constructed to hold an 8×10 film holder.  A adapter was constructed so I could mount a 4×5 Polaroid back to check positioning and exposure.

I painted the inside flat black, the frame luster black and the tube 18% grey.

When I first put the beast in my old Ranger Pickup, it suddenly dawned on me that I had constructed the spitting image of a large bore rocket launcher. The next thought was where I was going and how edgy the country still was a year after 9/11.

Those two thoughts yielded and incredible visualization of me parking the truck before sunset, pulling the tarp off the back and immediately being scattered all over the NY Harbor by a Hellfire missile or 2, released by either one of the many Apache attack helicopters or F-117  Stealth fighters that we knew were patrolling the harbor area constantly.

So “The Beast” never got used for its intended purpose and was put in a closet.    (yeah, yeah, yeah… I know..coward, etc)

I dragged it out in the summer of 2014 to finally see what it could do.

I brought it up to the Thunder Mountain Photo Studio and set it up on a big plastic garbage can and loaded up a 3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ Polaroid back with Fuji FP-100C film and aimed it across the Delaware river at a prominent tree on the top of the mountains.

image of the target tree across the river in PA

Image of the target tree across the river in PA taken with a Canon 5D MII and an “I” series 24-105mm at 105mm sitting the PH camera.

Image of the target tree across the river in PA taken with the PH camera "the Beast".

Image of the target tree across the river in PA taken with the PH camera “the Beast”.

 

 

Note the trees on the mountain top on the New Jersey side and the trees on the mountain top on the PA side. They are blurry from movement but very visible, as is the pine tree in the center. If I had time to properly weigh down the camera and the plastic trash can I think the image would have even been sharper. Unfortunately we only had time for a few shots before we had to break down & assist the new Photography teacher in setting up for the new class.
“The Beast” has a pinhole size of 0.050″ &  fl=48″ giving an approximate f-960 so shooting in the late afternoon sun  gave an exposure of about 32″. The image shown is uncropped from its 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 Fuji Film origional.

Side View of a 48" Pinhole camera

Side view of The Beast with Dimensions.

Rear view of The Beast showing Hand made film plate holder, with some Dimensions.

Rear view of The Beast showing Hand made film plate holder, with some Dimensions.

 

 

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