Tipster of the Week: Warped Colours with Long Exposures


What happens if you leave a pinhole camera loaded with slide film sitting in a dimly lit room for a couple of hours? Way out and weird colours, that’s what!

I love taking pictures of flowers and I was desperate to take some lovely, soft, tranquil still life shots with my mdf pinhole camera. I was a bit short of 120 film, but had a couple of rolls of Fuji T64 lying around. Colour balanced to daylight, right? A subtle colour adjustment, maybe a cool blue edge to the shots? Maybe, maybe not.

I’m no mathematician, but even I could see that late afternoon light, a room with a low ceiling, a pinhole camera and 64 iso film would mean an exposure of more than just a minute or two. My (very, very) rough calculations pointed to an hour or two. So I put the vase of flowers on the table, put the camera on a tripod, pointed them at each other and left them to it. After an episode of Dr. Who and a chat with my mother, I went back and moved the flowers and the camera and did it again.

The next day I tried several different combinations of flowers, times of day and exposure times, hoping that out of the twelve or so shots at least some of them would work. When the developed film came back and I saw the negatives on the scanner I couldn’t believe my eyes. For a start, all my subtle ten or twenty minutes adjustments to the exposure times had made virtually no difference. Some were darker, some lighter, but they had all worked. And the combination of different coloured flowers, slide film and long, long exposures had created the most extraordinary colours.

So load your pinhole camera with slide film, shut it up in a room with something that doesn’t move and let them get on with it. Who knows what will happen?

written by kvboyle on 2010-06-20 #gear #tutorials #pinhole #colours #long-exposure #tips #experiment #light-leaks #t64 #tipster #tipster-of-the-week


  1. ceduxi0n
    ceduxi0n ·

    awesome! i can't wait to try this :)

  2. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    superb colors! love the soft touch!

  3. mochilis
    mochilis ·

    Love the green ambience. Numbers 4 and 6 are my favourite.

  4. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    stunning! really like it specially the tulips ones and the n°4!

  5. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    wow, beautiful shots! Looks almost like paintings...

  6. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Wonderful gallery!! Colour shifts and reciprocity failure happen. The longer the exposure has to be the longer it has to be. You start losing ISO speed and things get unpredictable at longer than about 10 seconds, generally.

  7. leela_dark
    leela_dark ·

    what a supercool tipster, your shots are amazing! I have to try this...

  8. json
    json ·

    by cross processing?

  9. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    Wonderful galery. And herbert-4 explains quite expertily...... Thanks...

  10. grizzbar
    grizzbar ·

    Amazing stuff! It almost looks like old E4 Color Infrred Slide Film shots from the 50s... One note of clarity, though: the "T" in 64T film stands for Tungsten. This is also known as "Type-A" or "Indoor" film designed to balance tungsten light to normal white and when shot in daylight conditions turns everything very, very blue. Herbert-4 goes into the reciprocity failure, which really works in these shots! I've got some 64T OOD (Out Of Date) film and was going to try some "Blue Scale" photography with it - look for my new tipster coming soon!

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