Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Another 120 Populist at 45mm


The first 6x6cm format camera I made was the Glenlivet Vertical Populist. It was 45mm from pinhole to film because of the dimensions of the box it was made out of. When I started working on making a new template for the 10th Anniversary Populist, my first experiment was a 6x6cm camera at 45mm. I just cut down a template for a 6x9cm 60mm camera, altered the sides and added the flaps. For the original blog post about making the 10th Anniversary Populist design, I made two cameras out of Cheerios boxes to photograph for the how-to directions, a 60mm and a 45mm. I’ve since lost the 45. I also made a 45mm Populist out of a MacAllen Scotch box for my son about this time. As a result of a terms-of-service misunderstanding I lost the pictures from the how-to blog post when the University deleted my account and I built another 45 for a new set of pictures. The first photograph done with that camera ended up in a juried art show and they wanted to display the camera along with the picture. When someone bought the picture, I included the camera with it. Pondering my next project with self-adhesive labels and two sided adhesive sheets, a 45mm Populist seemed like a logical choice.

 My original plan was to make one without any modifications to see how long it took but that’s no fun. This one does have some unique features. When I first put a second risen pinhole on the Evil Cube, I mentioned that you could use the double shutter on any of the 120 Populists, but I had never done it. It turns out the shutter template for the Evil Cube sticks out a bit above the top of a Populist, but there’s enough extra there that you can trim it off. In that last camera, I had made a shade for the pinhole so it could point more toward the sun without creating reflections off the edge of the pinhole. This new one lets me point to within 45 degrees of the sun with the pinhole in the shade. I’d never made a double shade before either.

There is one odd thing about the pinholes. When trying to drill a matched set of optimally diffracted .28mm holes, I came up with very nice looking ones at .24mm and at .26mm. I called it good and averaged them to determine f at 180. The larger one went on top because it might compensate a little for vignetting. There didn’t seem to be any unusual deviation in the exposures beyond what I usually get.

 The WinderMinder normally goes over the viewfinder on top the camera. I built it up both on the camera top and the WinderMinder for a nice straight line to sight down.

One thing you can’t see is that it’s light-proofed by covering the inside of the back with the backing paper from T-Max 100. The adhesive sheets make this sort of thing quick and easy.

The blue beads for the side finders were chosen because they were all that was left that wasn’t kind of dayglo in the assorted packs I’ve been getting white and black beads out of.

The templates for these projects were printed by DPI Printing, a local digital press. Normally I drop off a project and pick it up the next day, but these adhesive labels were run on a machine in the lobby and were ready right away. I hadn’t brought a backpack and asked for some chipboard sheets to protect them when strapped to the bicycle rack. This camera is made out of those two sheets. I had to take a picture of their shop with it. Of course I started with the rising front pinhole. One of the tripod legs wasn’t completely locked and when I went to close the shutter it moved and got a bit of second exposure for a dynamic effect.

Read Elementary is the oldest operating school in Oshkosh. Perennially in danger of closing, it was rescued by a referendum last fall.

The previous exposure on that roll of film, on that dark, cold day was this arrangement of fire escapes. It wasn’t necessary to sit through long exposures this time but for both of these had to wait for a cloud to get out the way of the sun.

Next, the axial pinhole. Water lilies on Lake Butte des Mortes.

They’ve been repairing sidewalks, curbs and driveways all around us this summer. This is the junction between the arm and the body of a small digger they left down the block.

Andy playing my Alvarez acoustic which I had played in anti-war rallies through a bull horn. He had a terrible teacher for American History in high school. To freak him out, when they studied the Vietnam War, he took it for a class report and played “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag.” Here he’s playing the riff from Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh, Well,” from about the same era. 

He’s had a wide angle camera pointed right in his face since seconds after his birth so he’s well habituated to being photographed and is a pinhole practitioner himself. He makes the internet for the New England Historic Geneological Society and is the webmaster for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (He volunteered without telling me). He plays lead guitar for Alternate Weekends.

The film is T-Max 100 semi-stand developed in Rodinal 1:100.


  1. Always love your posts, and the images speak for themselves.

    1. Nick & Joe, You guys are the reason that I have recently built my first pinhole camera. Thanks for the inspiration!

    2. Far out. I can’t wait to see your pictures.