Photography Project 52: Week 36 – Pinhole Photography with Lensbaby

1212_MFA_Big Sur Infrared_0090-EditThis week’s project was a complete and utter wipe-out. I set out to do “pinhole inspired” photography, and thought I would try it with my Lensbaby Pinhole optic. It is a piece of equipment that I’ve had for a couple of years, tried once or twice, and then put it away in utter frustration. For this project I was finally going to conquer it. Three days later, I declared defeat.

First let me start with I love Lensbaby products. I’ve read books, taken classes, and love to try new things with them. In this case, I’m not sure what happened. Halfway into this assignment I checked the internet to see what I was doing wrong. I was unable to get anything sharp – anywhere in the photo. From what I understood about pinhole photography, I thought there would be a small area sharp, and the rest blurred. It seems that I am an in good company, others have experienced the same problem.

I decided to take a “zen” attitude and accept what was achievable with this piece of equipment……I decided to call my images ethereal with a nice dreamy quality. A couple of things to note:

  • I used my infrared camera with this optic. It was a bright sunny day, and I prefer infrared images in this light.
  • When I started to process them I noticed hundreds of “pinholes” all throughout my images. At first I thought my sensor was filthy (but Peter checked and all was good), then I thought they were water droplets from the ocean mist (but they were too uniform in shape and size), and then I concluded it had to be a by-product of the optic. They looked like the pinhole shape in front of the lens. If this is the case, I would love to understand if this outcome is avoidable.
  • I tried a couple of creative things in post – including a Color Lookup Adjustment layer (see the image that looks as if it was taken at night) that I am just starting to learn about.

If you have this Lensbaby optic and have any tips, I would love to hear about them and share them with others. In the meantime, I might have to play with altering some “normal” images using a pinhole technique, or just breaking down and figuring out how to build a pinhole camera.

1212_MFA_Big Sur Infrared_0207-Edit 1212_MFA_Big Sur Infrared_0163-Edit 1212_MFA_Big Sur Infrared_0126-Edit

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