photo of the month
from randy kato


If you pay attention to the news, particularly regarding photography, you may have recently heard mention of the world's largest photograph (32' x 111') currently on display at UC Riverside. The world's largest photograph also required the world's largest camera (45' x 80' x 160'), made out of an old airplane hangar.

This is a special type of camera that can not only be huge, it can be quite minuscule as well. In fact, the world's smallest film cameras use this same lensless technology.

What is this magical technology? A pinhole.

This incredibly tiny hole requires no precision-ground glass or advanced coatings, it's just a pin hole. Maybe you've even made a pinhole camera out of a shoe box in order to safely view a solar eclipse. I made the camera that took this month's photo from a kit comprised mostly of cardboard.

The beauty of pinhole cameras is manifold. They are cheap and fairly easy to make yourself. The tiny aperture ensures an essentially infinite depth of field - everything from right in front of the camera off to the horizon is in focus. The tiny aperture also lets in so little light that even in bright sunlight, it requires a long exposure.

This gives interesting images that mix the bright colors and action of a mid-day beach scene with the type of motion blur usually only seen in a long exposure taken in the dark.

I took this photo on the beach in Nice, France. I sat on the stony beach (no sand here) braced the camera on the ground between my legs and uncovered the pinhole for ~3-4 seconds.


Photo of the Month archive