Weekend Pinhole Shoot in San Francisco

I loaded up my behemoth of a camera and headed for San Francisco to get a shot of the Golden Gate. I’ve been wanting this shot for a while, so I decided this weekend would be as good as any. Traffic was heavy and it took nearly three and a half hours to get into the city. I figured it would be about the same to get back home. So I was a little concerned when I finally got to the bridge and it was full overcast and I only had one piece of paper to shoot onto.

Typically my exposure time with this camera is 6.5 minutes in full sun. I’ve never attempted to shoot in overcast so it was pretty much a big guess. I found a sturdy group of rocks to rest the camera on and ended up doubling the time to 13 minutes since it was a little later in the afternoon and there was so little light.

Once I got home I dropped the paper in the developer and was relieved to find my exposure was good. Quite honestly I was happy “anything” came out on the negative after an entire day of driving for one picture. But I guess that’s what makes this type of photography so fun.

Final Print:

Golden Gate Bridge -16x20 Pinhole

F/300ish
Timespan: 4:43pm – 4:55pm = 13 minutes
Paper: Ilford RC Matte
Contact Print: 70 seconds w/ bare 15 watt bulb

16x20 Pinhole Camera

My 16x20 Pinhole Camera

Camera Placement:

8 Comments

  • Rishi B says:

    It’s beautiful… just so you know, you can get the same effect (which still wont feel as nice as this one is) by putting a pair of dark sun glasses infront of a DSLR and setting it for long exposure…. I don’t have a sample but I do have some images of Golden Gate.. Here

    Rishi

  • Beth says:

    Nice job. The top photo beautifully captures the bridge.

  • Dan says:

    Very nice photo! I was wondering… with 16×20, what is your 3rd dimension? That is, how far is the pinhole from the film plane? Also, any idea why there is more of a vignette in the upper right than the upper left?

    (I’m building my first pinhole camera at the moment, hence all the questions.)

    • Roger says:

      Hey Dan –

      I believe there is more vignetting on the right hand side of the image is because the sun was in the process of going down and the right hand side of the camera was facing east. That’s my guess anyway. 🙂

      As for the focal length, it’s roughly 7 inches maybe 7.5. This gives it a very wide angle field of view. Maybe a bit too much, Making it longer also makes the camera more cumbersome. Thanks for checking it out.

  • Joseph says:

    Roger,

    Great Pic.
    Ive been looking at making a 16X20 pinhole camera and I was wondering how deep your camera is (how far back from the pinhole is your paper) and how large is your pinhole? – That is if you don’t mind sharing your secrets..

    Thanks

    • Roger says:

      It’s about 7.5″ deep, and the pinhole is roughly 0.025″. When I built the camera, I accidentally made it 1″ shorter than I wanted, so this is about as wide-angle as you could get. I guess that’s why there is so much vignetting. Thanks for looking.

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