Roses Tin Pinhole Camera

One of the reasons I am doing this blog is to help me with the technicalities of pinhole cameras, especially the exposure times,which are very variable.

I have made a pinhole camera from a Roses tin, which I have painted black inside and the exposure times are much longer than for the beer can cameras due to the larger pinhole to paper distance.IMG_1555

This was a 5 minute exposure on a cloudy day

This was a 1 minute exposure on a sunny day

There are charts available for working out exposure time, and has a calculator that you can put your camera size and pinhole size into,it will work out your exposure time. There is also a factor called reciprocity law failure, which is where the general laws of exposure for light sensitive material i.e double one factor, halve the other, don’t work over long exposure times.At the moment best guessing and doing test pictures works for me.

I am in the process of determining approximate exposure times for the Oss Box Pinhole Camera which I am unsure of as yet. I will be using Photographic Paper rather that film which has an ISO of 5-10 so this will dramatically increase exposure time

World Pinhole Day

Every year there is a World Pinhole Day where people from around the world are asked to take a pinhole picture and post it to This year it is the 24th of April with the exhibition going up on the 26th of April.


Indoor Pinhole showing Flash Unit

These are negative and positive images I took using a flash indoors with a 20 min exposure. You can see the flash unit multiple times in the image and the movement of it.

World Pinhole Day
World Pinhole Day

These are 2 images I have submitted both using beer can cameras.


Old Stuff

Old Stuff

Justin Quinell’s Beer Can Camera Design





This is the first camera I made at Justin Quinell’s workshop at Wolverhampton University and the first pinhole pictures I took with it.


Beer Can Self Portrait Negative


Beer Can Self Portrait Scanned Negative.

This a 10 second exposure onto photographic paper on a sunny day in Wolves.

We also made matchbox Pinhole Cameras which can be used with a roll of film.If you make sure that you leave a small length of film sticking out you can attach a new film roll to it and wind it through into the old canister. Colour  or black and white film can be used . I don’t remember how I processed the colour film so may have taken my roll to a processor although you can process colour film with black and white chemicals if desperate.

Matchbox Pinhole Camera
Matchbox Pinhole Camera Pictures


These were mostly indoors made  using an off camera flash which I synchronized very haphazardly by shouting “go” at my daughter while I uncovered the pinhole. The flash unit is showing on the left hand side in the Three Monkeys above.

Russian Dolls

This final one was obviously taken outdoors and  was probably about a 10 second exposure.

‘Oss Box Pinhole

Dave, Dom and Neil painting the inside of the ‘Oss Box the Quarry Bank colour.


In 2011 I did a photography HNC at Sandwell College in West Brom and loved making pinhole cameras. We made them from beer cans and biscuit tins but they can be made from pretty much anything that can be made lightproof. The results were exciting and always unexpected. I also went to a workshop run by Justin Quinnell who is a pinhole mastermind and great inspirational teacher who taught us the best way to make a beer can pinhole camera and a match box camera for film.

Biscuit Tin Pinhole Negative
Biscuit Tin Pinhole Positive

These are images taken with the Biscuit Tin. They were made onto black and white photographic paper with a 10 second exposure


Biscuit Tin Pictures

These were 10 second exposures onto colour photographic paper, hence the orange negative.These have both been scanned and inverted in Photoshop and I have enhanced the resulting positives by adjusting the levels.

I had read about large scale pinhole cameras and thought it would be a great way to use the Oss Box and promote it for use in the local area. I have received an Arts Council Grant for a project to turn the Oss Box into a temporary pinhole camera and Camera Obscura. The project will  be for a week in May this year 14th – 22nd and will be at Haden Hill House from Thursday 19th of May – Sunday 22nd of May.

Haden Hill House

Other venues have yet to be confirmed.

I have decided to note down all my experiments on the way to  the Oss Box Pinhole so that I have a record of progress for myself and for anyone else interested in doing a similar project.


The Oss Box

I belong to a small volunteer group of artists, writers and local historians called Cradley Heath Creative based in Cradley Heath in the West Midlands.

Vicki Fran Tim
Vicki, Tim and Fran

Our main aim is to promote creativity in the local area and encourage local arts and arts events.We meet up once a month at the Holly Bush Pub in Cradley Heath and we have bought a horse box-The ‘Oss Box- which one of our members ,Tim Tolkien,is converting for us, by opening up one side so that it can be used as a stage.The plan is that local artists can use as a small venue,arts or exhibition space or hopefully other things we haven’t thought of.

Oss Box Shadow Puppet Theatre

Fran and Tim Jarvis used it as a Shadow Puppet  during the Christmas Lights turn on in Cradley Heath.


The Holly Bush- Home of Cradley Heath Creative.

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Our ‘Oss Box

grass roots

After the success of “Locked In” last year,we have our second free arts festival at The Holly Bush,  with the Oss Box making its stage debut. Sadly it probably won’t be up to supporting a Flamenco Dance Troupe as yet but maybe next year….

Good Looking Bunch At The Bush