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How To Catch A Thief Using A Pinhole Camera

We recently came across this inventive practice of long exposure photography and were wowed by these images that show six months of action at a time. If the average picture is worth a thousand words, then by our estimation each of these images is worth 180,000 words. But more importantly, while most of us marvel at its artistic merit, I had a more functional purpose in mind.

You see, someone has been stealing my mail. I don’t know who it is, or even if someone is stealing my mail at all, but the bottom line is that I’m suspicious that someone is stealing my mail and I’ve wanted to do something about it for more than three billing cycles. I can’t afford to buy security cameras, what with my exorbitant action figure expenses, and our superintendent has strictly prohibited me from setting any more booby traps in the mailroom. And so, I was left with no option… until I heard about Matt Bigwood’s long exposure pinhole technique.

This is the perfect tool to catch my mail thief because I have plenty of beer cans (I don’t really drink, but luckily everyone around me borders on alcoholism) and the rest of the materials are pretty simple to acquire: a pin, photographic paper, some black cardboard, and lots of black tape. The idea is that I just leave this thing in the mailroom for a couple of days, and if i see someone who’s not wearing my signature bright red jacket accessing my mailbox, I’ll know that there’s a culprit.

There are a lot of holes in my plan: First of all, with this long exposure, if someone even walks by too close to my mailbox, my suspicion will break its restraints and run screaming into the front of my brain. Second, there’s not much natural light in the mailroom, so who knows if it will even work at all. Nevertheless, pinhole cameras are so simple to make that I might as well try.

Finished product looks like garbage? Perfect!

Remove the top of the can with a can opener. Use the tape and cardboard to create a light tight lid. Use the pin to punch a hole into the side of the can. Put a little piece of tape over the hole (this is your shutter). Curl a piece of photographic paper and put it into the can. Make sure theres a gap in the paper where the hole is. Then install it wherever you want to take a photo. For full details, check out Justin Quinnell’s awesome video.

When Bigwood does it, he comes out with beautiful images that capture the serenity of their subjects and provoke thought about the passage of time and our perception of it.



And when I do it, I catch my mail thief! There he is! Get him!


[via The Phoblographer]

@ImYourKid

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