Saturday, September 3, 2011

Therefore I will boast....

The pinhole camera failures

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV) To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. {8} Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. {9} But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. {10} That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Gee whiz.  If that ain't my verse of the week, I don't know what is.  Here's the deal.   I'm co-teaching a beginning digital photography classat the kids' school.  I remembered my 6th grade art teacher having us do pinhole cameras with oatmeal boxes and photo paper and absolutely loving the results.

 I had recently heard of people using Fuji Instax Polaroid style film for pinhole cameras, and thought it would be a great way to teach the kids how simple the concept of a camera really is.  It's just a light tight container, a hole to bend the rays of light, and something photosensitive inside.  If I knew that this silly idea would fruitlessly consume the spare moments of this past week, I think I might not have bought that Instax film.  

Digital cameras totally spoil me.  They allow my learning curve to go very wide with little cost to me financially.  I can take lots of terrible pictures, see my mistakes instantly in the histogram, and learn very rapidly how to improve my work.  With film, it's different.  This stuff was a dollar a sheet, and boy was I nervous.  After the first ten tries failed, I decided to pray.  That goes along with the verse up above.  

The exposures.  At least they are pretty in kind of an abstract, artsy way.  
As I progressed through 4 camera styles, 4 different sizes of pinholes, multiple exposure variations, 4 different film rolling methods and various focal lengths, I shot up a few more prayers.  I think they were mainly selfish.  I wanted to be done, so I could call my co-teacher, tell her how much fun the kids were going to have, blog about it so more people could try it too, then go to bed.  Not so much.  

I even put the pinhole in front of my dSLR lens to make sure light was getting through correctly.  This is in my bathroom at night.  It worked just dandy.
In the end, I went through 30 exposures throughout the week.  This is nothing in the digital world, but it's all I wanted to do in this realm.  There is a whole culture around pinhole cameras, with people cannibalizing old Polaroids for their rollers, putting pinholes in front of their dSLRs and building pinhole cameras from anything from paper to old Instax film boxes.  I thought it should be simple, but apparently there was more to it.  Giving up is not my style.  Usually, if I really care about something, I can figure it out if I'm stubborn enough, but this time I knew there was nothing else I could do.

Saraiah makes her own camera 
"To keep me from becoming conceited..."  I think I'll take this experience as a lesson in humility.  I'm reminded that the mind I have was designed by God.  It's a mind that has not been able to comprehend Calculus, keep track of time, or remember numbers, but it's mine.  It's just not the pinhole photography time of my life, I guess.  I'm humbled, and at least the kids have seen what perseverance looks like.  Eva even called me Thomas Edison the other day.  I guess I looked a little like a mad scientist, with my steak knife and black foam core madness.  

I'm glad I failed, because I can boast anyway.  I can boast about a God who designed light that can bend and be focused in such a way that photographs can be made.  He made a beautiful way to view an eclipse in the dappled images in the shade of trees, just because of that special way light bends through tiny spaces between leaves.  He made it possible for entire rooms to reflect the image of the outdoors (upside down) if that room is made entirely black, with just the tiniest prick allowing light in.  I am in awe of this grand design, even if I can't seem to capture it in a pinhole camera.  

On a happy note, however, my husband was able to remove the lens of an old digital camera, so that the image is blurry on the display screen, and when the pinhole is placed in front of it, the image becomes focused.  I can't wait to see the surprise in the eyes of those kids.  I can boast about the intelligence my husband was given with technical things, and I can look at him through a new lens  (har-de-har).

The deconstructed lens-less digital camera and my pie tin pinhole aperture

Sun through the pinhole in front of the digital camera
Our view through the pinhole
The tractor, pinhole-ified

Another thing to boast about.  The cabbages were insanely huge this year, in spite of my blatant neglect of the garden. Another reminder of how the world goes on just fine without me, especially when God's in charge.

Another thing I dare not boast about.  These are some natural dye examples I had prepared for the fair.  We decided to stick goat hair in them and allow the sun to dye it.  After my flop of a day, I decided I'd wait till tomorrow to see how the wool fares.
I can't help but boast about these beauties.  How do I have such amazing children? 

Sisterly love


  1. Love love love that last picture of your girls. SO fun!

  2. Your girls are beyond precious and your cabbage is defiantly something to boast about!!! :) It's huge and so pretty!


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