Capturing The Japanese Garden With A Pinhole Camera

One of the great advantages of shooting with a wooden Zero Image pinhole camera is that its small, well built design allows me to take it places I couldn’t, or wouldn’t dare venture with my other cameras. comprised of nothing more than a simple box with a hole in the center, there really isn’t much I can do to hinder its ability to create images. Trust me I’ve tried, so far I’ve managed to drop it in a river, have a bum kick it, and let it tumble down more than a few flight of stairs. So when the staff at the Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Japanese Public Garden informed me I couldn’t use a tripod I simply adapted my approach.

Tripods are usually a required tool in any pinhole photographers kit, as the required long exposures make steadying the camera a must. Yet, it is possible to survive without them. The key is to search for flat surfaces to steady the camera on. At first this seems like a painful disadvantage, after awhile though, you begin to realize this restriction actually opens up a world of possibilities unavailable to more advanced cameras.

This first image of the Shoseian Teahouse for example, was the result of pushing my pinhole camera through thick hedges to strategically place it in an area that was otherwise off limits.

Camera: Zero Image 2000 PinholeFilm: Kodak Ektar 100

Camera: Zero Image 2000 Pinhole
Film: Kodak Ektar 100

Similarly the image below of a gnarled Japanese Maple tree, was made possibly only after I knelt down, dodging the low branches to place my pinhole camera near the base of the tree. Thought it might appear as if the camera isn’t all that close to the tree, due to a lack of a lens elongating the scene, it is in fact quite close. You’d be hard pressed to capture this tree, at such a wide angle, with even the widest of lens on another camera. Even better, unlike a fish-eye lens which distorts straight lines and bends the outer reaches of the frame, a pinhole does not suffer such affects. The Zero Image 2000 really is a magically little wooden box.

Camera: Zero Image 2000 PinholeFilm: Kodak Ektar 100

Camera: Zero Image 2000 Pinhole
Film: Kodak Ektar 100


About jsodphotography

Seattle based film photographer. Recording light through a pinhole, Holga, and various 35mm cameras.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Film Photography, Photogarphy, Pinhole and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Capturing The Japanese Garden With A Pinhole Camera

  1. Love the last one especially–something about how the tree branches flame upward.

  2. kiwiskan says:

    One day I’ll have to try a pin-hole camera…

  3. simon0252 says:

    Marvellous work, Jeff. Excellent pov and wonderful colours.

  4. jesusjoglar says:

    the color of the leaves on the ground of both pictures are specially increasing the interest of the viewer, I can’t stop looking at the leaves and then back to the sky and so on!!

  5. Fantastic work, Jeff!
    I just got my Zero 2000 this week, can’t wait to try it, and I see what you mean, a fantastic light little camera, or, should I say, a HUGE camera in a tiny and light body!! 🙂
    Happy New Year!

    • Glad to hear your Zero 2000 finally arrived, that was quite a prolonged wait you had to go through. Can’t wait to see what you create with it, I have no doubt you’ll do great things with it. Happy New Year!

  6. These shots are great, love that perspective that we’d normally never see. You make me want to run out and get my own Zero 2000!

  7. Love that last one of the tree. I just really love trees and the way their limbs curl and curve. Guess you might have figured that out already!! That’s a really cool composition and perspective.


  8. sued51 says:

    These are both gorgeous images. The red color in both images is striking, but there’s something about the watery-looking brightness at the top of the first photo when compared to the vibrance of the red leaves at the bottom…like the teahouse is a bridge between two worlds…

  9. lexymeliss says:

    Such beautiful colors.

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