My experiments with Camera Obscura (The Pin Hole Camera)

Although photography has technologically advanced and is advancing exponentially, the pace at which a photographer has to catch up with the changing medium and techniques is quite high. Caught in the technology  race trying to under stand the digital photography from every different angle sometimes becomes mundane.

In such a situation I decided to step back and see where it all began. The “Camera Obscura” or the in other words the pin hole camera was the answer for it. Having read about it few days back and with an inquisitive mind of a child I decided to test it my self along with my nephew Anchit who is a 2nd standard student. 

First we decided the room in the house which would become the dark chamber “the light proof room. The window was chosen and the view out side the window was just right. Next question was how to seal all windows. There came an answer with black chart papers.

The view out side room
Black Chart papers being cut

Immediately went out and got couple of black chart papers took the measurement of the windows and made a custom fit size to seal all windows. All doors of the room was locked and light leaking through the gaps of the door were sealed using blankets.

Both windows closed with chart papers

Cut a hole on the sheet through with the light would be beamed. Made a pouch which would hold the different size apertures. Bigger the aperture brighter the image but blurry. Smaller aperture was determined which would give optimum sharpness and the brightness to the image formed on the wall.

The Pin hole through which light will come in

Now we were all set. Thrilled with what we were going to see, I felt like I travelled back in time some 200 years. Going to witness what we all call the Photography, where it all began.

Anchit(Left) and Rithwik(right)
The actual image formed is upside down(inverted)

The image is inverted in post processing to show the right perspective.
Technology change, photography will evolve, but there will be times when we will be questioned about how it all began. Its always a nice feeling to retrospect.


Mountain Rain

It was a fun trek planned with my friends. Idea was to trek to the top of Nagala range in eastern ghats in India on a weekend after long working hours of the week. I had not taken my camera out for few weeks now. I was fully charged up for some landscape photos. But there is always a mystery associated with landscape photography about the light and the terrain and weather conditions. It always keeps me bothering about the result. May be that’s the fun part I love about landscape photography.

It was a long full day trek to the top of the mountains. We had almost trekked for 20 Kms with full steep slopes. Carrying the camera and tripod with the hope of photographing the sun set. 

We took rest in between and as the group had breaks I still kept moving around to find the right vantage point to capture the mountain ranges extending towards the horizon. But was in vain and I knew I had to climb more. We kept walking and by the time it was 5 PM we had reached at almost the top on the mountain.

The view was breath taking with cold wind refreshing from one side of the mountain. Immediately I sensed the possibility of rain. But the sky was clear. Before my thoughts about rain vanished from my mind, the dark clouds rolled in from no where and as I looked towards the other side, it was heavy down pour of rain. I was thrilled, sun was shining in one direction and other direction the heavy rains were fast approaching us. I quickly pulled out my camera, set the aperture put on the tripod and click, click , click before I could make the fourth shot the rain had fast approached us and showered on us. 

I knew I made the shot of the day. Happily packed up the camera and we all had a nice refreshing rain bath. Then we put up the tent had nice camp fire , had dinner and slept under the stars.

Although I had taken this photo 4 years back, I still keep thinking what if I had missed the setting on my camera on that day. What made me use the right setting in a split of a second. And I found my answer when I read about serendipity explained by Jim Brandenburg. I quote it here as told by Jim himself

"Serendipity is a wonderful word in the English language. It means happy coincidence, or a lucky, unexpected moment. This is essential to photography, but not without preparation. There are Japanese traditions involved in preparing: you study, then study, then study some more. You prepare mentally for years and years, so when the special moment comes, your instincts take over and it happens naturally. It's the same with cameras and other equipment: when the magic moment comes, you are ready to capture it instantly. You have visual language that you have studied for many, many years. You are familiar with the equipment, so it comes as second nature, like an extension of your fingers. I think that this is crucial. It's the same principal as practicing the violin. So many people think photography is easy: just pick up the camera and take a picture. But like the violin, you must practice photography for 30 years or more before you truly do it well."

After I read this, it became my guiding principle when ever I go out on a shoot. And I believe my photographs have started reflecting it.