I have always been a fan of pinhole photography however on digital cameras it has never really had the same appeal, the reason behind this is focal length. Film based pinhole cameras tend to have a very wide angle of view, my Zero 2000 pinhole camera has a focal length of 25mm and shoots square images on to 120 medium format film which is approx. 14mm in 35mm terms so that is wide to say the least. However with DSLRs you are limited to fitting a pinhole body cap that tends to give you a focal length approaching 50mm or even 75mm on a cropped sensor, that was until now…
Justin Lundquist and Ben Syverson at Wanderlust cameras have come up with a great solution for micro four thirds cameras… the Wanderlust Pinwide. Yes this is essentially a pinhole body cap however there is a difference, as micro four thirds cameras have no mirror assembly the lens cap can recess the pinhole further back into the camera giving you a much wider angle of view. The Wanderlust Pinwide has a focal length of 11mm (22mm in 35mm terms) ok maybe not ultra wide however a nice focal length to work with.
What better place than to take some shots with the Wanderlust Pinwide that Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, England.
It was an early start to get to Lacock around first light with a view to exploring the grounds, there are a number of oak trees that make for great foreground interest. After a bit of wandering I settled on this particular oak tree and its view towards the abbey itself.
The sun was low in the sky shining straight towards the camera from behind the oak tree, this combination is always going to create a very large dynamic range beyond the range of the camera however as pinholes tend to have lower contrast I was confident I would capture the desired effect.
The Wanderlust Pinwide gives some really interesting effects when pointed straight at the sun, there are some strange colour shifts towards pink in the grass area of the picture which I feel really adds to the low-fi look and feel of the photo.
I am always a fan of bold dynamic compositions and that was exactly came to mind when I stepped in to the cloisters within Lacock abbey. Even with the wide angle of the pinhole I had to get the camera positioned on a tripod right up against the wall in order to capture the wonderful architecture.
This photo just screamed to be in black and white as it is far more about shape and texture rather than the colours. When using the Wanderlust Pinwide towards a bright light source you get wonderful softness almost like halos where the light flows around a darker object in this case as it passed through the windows.
With Lacock behind me and the raw files from my GF1 downloaded to my Mac I started looking through the images, my first thought was that the files were a lot softer and more diffused than they looked on the back of the camera monitor. This was a little disconcerting at first however after applying a good healthy amount of definition (clarity or structure depending upon your raw software) the sharpness and micro contrast increased which added a bit more punch to the image while still looking suitably pinhole like. From there on I just processed the files as usual until I got the look I wanted.
Overall I would really recommend the Wanderlust Pinhole and while it can be slightly tricky to find great compositions that translate into pinhole photography with a bit of patience you can create some wonderful low-fi photos. Click here to find out more and order your Wanderlust Pinwide.