El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Los Angeles Obscura

1st Street Bridge and LA Skyline, with a home made pinhole camera by El Niño Angeleno
Tonight's presentation on Pinhole Photograhy and the Camera Obscura at the Pasadena City College Photo Department. Even Picasso had his name misspelled once in a while.
Several years ago I started to get a little uninspired shooting with my 35mm Leica Rangefinder camera so I sought out alternative ways to express creativity through photography. I got involved with pinhole photography (The Camera Obscura) and became enchanted with the surreal and dreamy images that I could create from this process. I soon started building my own cameras from cedar cigar boxes complete with tripod mounts and a slot to house a 4 x 5 film holder for the litho film I used. Eventually I was able to fine tune the process where I became proficient enough to receive compliments and even offers for some of the images I had created. Once a year or so I am invited by one of the Pasadena City College photo instructors to be a guest speaker on this subject at an experimental photography class offered on campus.

Pinhole photography is the oldest form of photography using the basic elements of time and light in a lens-less light-tight box where a tiny “pinhole” projects the scene from the outside as an inverted image inside the box. The image can be captured on photographic paper or film from within the light-tight enclosure with the pinhole serving as the camera’s manually operated aperture. Pinhole/Camera Obscura structures have evolved from prehistoric caves to airplane hangers and everything else in between. Today a simple camera can be made from an oatmeal box or a wood cigar box.

A Camera Obscura is a large external light-tight room which captures this same phenomenon. The room is the size of a large storage shelter and is usually an educational type attraction located in beach and observatory communities. You enter this room and you are physically able to witness the scene happening on the outside as it appears inside of the room, in essence you are inside of a camera. There are a couple of Camera Obscuras in California, the incredible version overlooking the ocean at the Cliff House in San Francisco and one right here in Santa Monica at the Senior Recreation Center at 1450 Ocean Blvd.
Support your local Camera Obscura.

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