Life with Leo

November 15, 2007

How to Make A Lens-free Camera Obscura

Filed under: Photography projects — Tags: , — fehlhaber @ 11:48 pm

I read once that the camera obscura has been known about for centuries and was observed when a knot of wood fell out of a plank and let a small amount of light into a room.  Based on that story, I did the following (all without any lenses, just like in the old days).

If you want to try this at home, here’s how:

1) Block off all light into a room (for anyone who has worked in a darkroom, it doesn’t have to be quite that dark — light can seep in and this will still work).  A small room with one window is easiest, of course.

2) Cut a small hole into whatever is covering the window with the view (about the size of a quarter worked for us).

3) Let you eyes adjust and see what you get. Move the hole (covering old ones) to change what is projected.

4) Take a photo (it’ll show you more than your eyes can see).   This one was done with an exposure of 30 seconds at f/4.0

Here is the very low tech device used to cover the window (leftover cardboard from the Halloween costume & duct tape).  No lens required!

Please post a comment if you have any luck with this.


You can see that the trees are now losing their leaves. This view was earlier in the day than my original post with great fall colors — things look pretty grey now.


Below is a more recent photo — all the leaves have gone now (11/27/07)