" F. C. Baker in Western Camera Notes."

One of the most interesting phases of photography to the amateur who happens to be of an experimental and pottering turn of mind is pin-hole, or, as it is called by Mr. J. B. Thomson, the author of the clever and exhaustive monograph on the subject in the Photo-Miniature, "lens-less " photography. There seems to be a peculiar fascination connected with the production of pictures without the aid of the lens, so generally looked upon as the all-important and indispensable feature of a photographic outfit; and when the resulting negatives and prints are of an excellence such as to make them compare favorably with the results obtained by the employment of a good lens, the experimenter experiences a glow of satisfaction and a feeling that he has achieved something worthy in spite of unfavorable conditions and primitive apparatus.

It is not certain, however, that this feeling is entirely warranted by the facts, for we should place the credit for successful results where it is due, and there seems to be no reason to doubt that a pin-hole, if well made, is for certain pictorial qualities and purposes a really very efficient instrument.

Among its good qualities may be mentioned the fact that the image produced is absolutely truthful, unlike that formed by even the best lenses.

Another good feature of the pin-hole camera is that there is no necessity for focusing: the image is in focus at all distances between pin-hole and plate that will be required for general use, and the angle of view is varied by simply varying that distance, and thus obtaining at will extreme narrow angle effects as well as anything desired between the two.

This advantage will be found to be at times an important one, as, for example, in architectural work, when several exposures may be made under varying conditions and from different viewpoints, and just the most appropriate angle selected for each case without further trouble than changing the distance between plate and aperture of the camera.

And then the cheapness of it I If you are not the possessor of a camera already, all you need do is to get a cigar box, make it light-tight, rig some arrangement for inserting the plates conveniently, and fit the front of the box with a bit of thin metal pierced by a tiny hole, and you will have, at practically no expense, an outfit which, if intelligently used, and with due regard for its limitations, will enable you to produce the very best of work.

To one who already has a camera, the fitting of it for pin-hole work is a very simple matter.

If the camera is one with a removable lensboard, an extra one may be made, carrying the pin-hole and substituted for the regular lens-board.

A shutter is not a necessity, as the exposure may be made either by pulling and replacing the slide of the plate-holder or by keeping the front of the camera covered, say by the focusing cloth, until the slide is pulled, and then recovering the front with the cloth while replacing the slide.

My own experience has been with a 5 x 7 long-focus bellows camera, fitted as above described, and while I have not, of course, discarded the lens, I have found much pleasure and satisfaction in the employment of my extra lens-board, and would not think of leaving it behind when starting on a picture-hunting trip.

Of course the making of the pin-hole itself is an important matter, and care should be taken to get it perfectly round and its edges as smooth as possible. I used a needle. I do not know what number, but it was about an inch and a half long, and only the point was used in piercing the thin copper. The needle point, after being driven by light blows of a hammer through the copper, was inserted in the hole thus made, first from one side and then from the other, and twisted about. One of the results of this procedure was to raise a portion of the metal in the form of a burr at the edge of the hole, and this was shaved away with a sharp knife, and the twisting operation gone through with again. Then more shaving and twisting alternately until the hole seemed perfect, even when examined under a magnifying glass. The side of this small copper sheet that was to be placed towards the inside of the camera was then blackened by being held for a moment in the flame of a match. My extra lens-board was made of several thicknesses of cardboard, cut to fit exactly the opening in the camera front, and built up to the proper thickness by pasting the pieces together. A hole about one-half inch in diameter was cut in the center of this board, and the pin-hole attached by pasting with strips of black paper sufficient to insure the front's being perfectly light-tight.