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How To Photography Waterfalls With A Pinhole Camera

Watch how popular Youtube photographer Martin Henson uses a 4x5 pinhole camera to capture images of waterfalls.

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There is something magical about waterfalls that we photographers can't get enough of but I bet you've never photographed one with a pinhole camera before. 

Usually, we're kitted up to the eyeballs with a tripod, camera, lens, filters, perhaps a shutter release...the list goes on but photographer Martin Henson wants to show you that actually, all you need is a pinhole camera and a bit of patience. 

In his latest photography video tutorial, which can also be used for a bit of mindful enjoyment partway through, Martin shows you how to set up your shot and talks through some of the technical aspects of capturing images with a pinhole camera which, for Martin, includes setting the pinhole to 75mm (in his Zero45 pinhole camera there are 3 options 25, 50 and 75mm).


The Set-Up

Martin gets right in the water where he is able to set the tripod/camera up at a low angle to ensure as much of the water is in the shot as possible. It also allows some foreground interest to be included. You'll also see Marting using his light meter to calculate the pinhole exposure time for f/216 which happens to be 60 seconds. A spirit level is popped on top of the camera to ensure everything is level and Martin always carries a stopwatch to count down the exposure time. 


The Results

Obviously, you don't know what type of image you'll have captured straight away as you do with digital cameras but the results are beautiful with the milky water accentuated by the black and white medium which gives contrast and allows shape/form to stand out from the frame. 


Waterfall photography with a pinhole camera

© Martin Henson


Switching To A Different Pinhole

After getting positive results with the 75mm pinhole, Martin switches to the 25mm option and positions himself even closer to the waterfall. The super-wide 25mm pinhole can produce dramatic results that give you something really different to the look of the 75mm pinhole.

Here are the settings along with the camera and film Martin used to capture his shots:  

  • Zero45 Pinhole camera at 75mm with Ilford Fp4 125ISO, 1-minute at f/216
  • Zero45 Pinhole camera at 25mm with Ilford Fp4 125ISO, 18-seconds at f/138


Thank you for sharing your techniques with us Martin, it's great to see that slowing down and exploring what can be a really accessible area of photography is fun and rewarding.

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24 Feb 2021 3:06PM
Very interesting! Thank you for sharing, I might have to get back into Pinhole photography. It has a certain charm to it in a world full of "everyone is a photographer" with their smartphones and digital cameras.

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