Thursday, January 13, 2011

TTV for my new friend Catherine

I recently joined a new site called 365Project.org.  It's an awesome site that encourages photography for all levels of photographers and the concept is quite simple.  Take one photo a day & post for 365 days.  A journey of your life, a dairy of your continuing development of your photo taking skills.  A another great social network to meet and view others work.
Inevitably, you take more than one picture.  Or want to share more than your daily allotted shot, so we create a 2nd album, share on Face book or our favorite photo sharing website.  Inevitably, you meet people and become online friends...  Catherine & I have been sharing about the technique referred to "Thru the Viewfinder".  A very simple concept.  Take an old camera such as a Kodak Dualflex or Argus 40, the kind where you look down thru the viewfinder via a mirror in the camera.  The kind, that by now should have grim, lint and grunge in edges of the glass lens and mirror because THAT's what you want to show up on your picture.  In order to line up your digital camera with the hand held camera, you have to build a light blocking tube or as it's affectionately called by fellow TTV'ers, a Contraption.  Here's what I used to build mine...found in the plumbing aisle of my super home improvement store...

Both my Argus and Kodak came with a protective metal hinged lens cover... remove it.  It was a matter of unscrewing just a few screws and poof done.  I screwed the screws back in, and tucked the hinge away incase I'd like to reattach it later.
 I next traced the shape of my camera onto some foam board, cut it out and then peeled of one side of the foam board backing, thus exposing the foam.  I then took the camera and pressed it viewfinder down, to create an impression of the frame.  Using as a guide, I then cut the interior of the foamboard, creating a frame.  This I taped directly to my camera.  Then I took my flexible rubber plumbing gizmo, not sure of the technical term for it.. but I set it down onto the camera and traced where the viewing lens was blocked..and cut it out.
Still following me?  Good.  The reason I created the foam board frame, was to keep this rubber tubing to set level atop the camera.  I want it level so when I point my digital camera down thru the tube, my lens is at a 90 degree angle..I found if it's not quite level, it's difficult to get my camera to focus and to keep the shot square in MY camera's viewfinder.  This is what you'll end up with..
Now, here's where you may need to play a little.  The distance between your digital camera's lens and the handheld camera's view finder...it will depend on your macro settings..sometimes you need to be up close or have a bit of distance... for me the next fitting was JUST right...
The little clamps were already attached/preassembled so no extra cost.  However you're looking at about $1.50 each, still cheap.  Place one top of the tubing...

Here's the finished "contraption"  In total, I spent about $8.00 on the whole thing.  For me it was worth it.  Others like recycling and cutting old cereal boxes, cardboard or foamboard to create their contraption..
Be sure to grab a roll of black duct tape and some electrical tape too.  I still like the foam frame for the top of my camera to seal out light.  However, you may need to create "telescoping" effect to get the tube to fit the end of your digital camera, block as much light as possible.  For me, this was too much effort and thinking.


So, there you have it.  My view of how to create a light blocking contraption for your Thru the Viewfinder technique.  I like mounting my whole mess to a tripod, so I have both hands free to hold, focus and adjust my digital camera.  After some playing, you get fun shots like this.  Also keep in mind, a mirror IS used to create this affect, all printed images will come out backwards and you'll view it backwards while focusing...so play!!

2 comments:

{ lillith } said...

i so need foam. we have the exact same contraption going on. mine drives me nuts because it's always wiggly. thx for the great solution!

celticmystyc said...

The reason we have the exact same contraption is because I stole your idea!! DOUH! :D

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