Camera Obscura

In the same camera-making class mentioned in my last post, Peter Renn turned the room itself into a camera obscura (a dark room) with a large single lens you can see in the first image. It has a focal length of something between 1000 and 2000mm, casting a massive image circle. In the first picture above you can see the lens and part of the image on the floor. In the next couple of images you can see different parts of the image transmissively through a large, hand-held roll of tracing paper bringing different parts of the image into focus by moving back and forth. Next we used a large foam stage flat, and I took pictures of different parts of the image projected onto it. Click any of the pictures to see them all full-sized.

Shoebox Camera Obscura

We had a fantastic camera-building workshop with Peter Renn a couple of weeks ago. I had bought a cheap 135mm, f/4.5 projector lens in a charity shop for £10 and brought in a shoe box to mount it on. The first two pictures show the final product. The cardboard flaps in the first image allow one to slide the imaging screen backwards and forwards to focus. The next picture shows the inside, a focusing screen which is simply some tracing paper in a cardboard frame. The next 2 pictures I took with my phone through a hole in the back. I made the hole the size of my Fujinon 23mm lens so I can photograph what’s on the focusing screen and maintain a pretty good light seal. The 5th picture is a shot my classmate Marilyn took of me using the camera and the bottom right picture is the first image I took digitally. Click any of the pictures to see them all full-sized.

A Comedy of Errors

I wanted to spend some time in the studio learning lighting skills but I was having a hard time booking studio time using the University booking app so I went in to enquire. Helpful people got me booked right away – only problem was not expecting such a speedy result, I had no subjects, so I pulled a few items out of my bag and set them up. Next problem was the sync cable for the receiver appeared to be missing from the case. I improvised, using the tiny clip-on flash that Fuji provides with the camera and which can be used to trigger another light. That worked but didn’t really allow me to use the flash meter so I improvised further with camera metering for a bit but that was a dismal failure. One of our fantastic instructors lent me a sync cable and now I was in business. However, try as I might, I couldn’t get rid of the shadows cast by the powerful studio light. I tried using a reflector but that was insufficient. I tried adding an LED panel but that didn’t do it either. So I spent some time playing around and then returned the trigger/receiver and flash meter, reporting the missing sync cable. Whereupon the helpful person in the equipment room dug deeper into the case’s side pocket and produced the “missing” cable.

More practice will be required.