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.
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.