This is my favorite so far of all the images created with the cámara galleria.
5 frames with...

5 Sheets of Cámara Galletita Lumen Photos – By Sonny Rosenberg

May 26, 2022

The Cámara Galletita Lumen is always a bit difficult for me to explain, but it’s antecedents are, I think, a bit more straightforward.

I first heard of the Cámara Galletita in this excellent article on Casual Photophile by Sroyon Mukherjee. In essence, the Cámara Galletita is a pinhole camera with a cracker for a “lens”, a cracker camera. I was immediately intrigued with the idea of a cracker camera and the images of the very funky homemade cracker cameras presented in the article. I definitely wanted to make one, but I had other things at the time that needed attention. Still, I filed it in the back of my mind.

I participate in Maureen Bond’s fun Flickr group called In the Frame. When Maureen posted a notice about the upcoming Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, I thought of it as the perfect opportunity to make a camara galletita!

Upon reading about how people were using their camera galletitas, I realized that some employed relatively short exposures. This got me thinking, with all those holes in the cracker, would it let in enough light to function as a Lumen Camera? I had to find out!

The Lumenbox is the creation of Jorge Otero, it’s 2.25″ square, beautifully crafted cardboard box that houses a simple single element meniscus lens. It relies on the principle of the Lumen Print to operate, that is, long exposures on dampened black and white photo paper result in the creation of a self developing image on the paper. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the action of the photons on the dampened paper cause silver particles of different sizes to float up through the emulsion resulting in the chromatic images of the Lumenbox. The images are transient though and need to be scanned and inverted to be preserved. I’ve not yet tried to fix one.

I had recently built a very funky 5×7 pinhole camera that I thought would be the perfect camera to turn into a cámara galletita lumen. Luckily, my wonderful wife Rebecca, agreed to help me find just the right cracker to use. She brought home a few cracker candidates, it seemed like the Wasa Sourdough crackers were perfect. They were almost the width of my camera and had a somewhat random distribution of holes that appealed to me.

The World’s Ugliest Camera? The Cámara Galletitinator G-2000

The conversion was easy, although it resulted in what I call “the world’s ugliest camera”. Unfortunately my first results were quite disappointing. A normal Lumenbox photograph uses a 5 minute or longer exposure with an f/4 lens on photo paper. I was using paper a full stop slower (Arista Ultra EDU grade 3) and guessed that an exposure of 2 hours in bright sunlight might be enough. It wasn’t, but there was something there. I hoped a much longer exposure might work, so I tried an 8 hour exposure on a partly cloudy day, and this time it worked! There was an image there, but it was much different than  Cámara Galletita photos I had seen before. There was a strange atmospheric quality to the image and a sort of early Cubist look to it; and the colors! The movement of the sun formed yellow to orange streaks across the image. I thought I was on to something so I continued with my experiments.

My first successful test of the Cámara Galletita Lumen.

I think the colors on this are little bit more interesting than the first?

The second test with the Wasa Sourdough cracker.

This is my favorite of the shots using the Wasa cracker.

My submission for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

There were some other fits and starts with trying other crackers including a graham cracker, but none were very pleasing to my eye.

I then had the idea of trying a Photon Sieve which is similar to a Zone Plate or even a Fresnel Lens. The results were unimpressive, but because I didn’t want to waste the work that I’d put into the pseudo-photon sieve, I decided to cover up some of the pinholes in the aluminum foil photon sieve to randomize the pattern a bit and create a pseudo cracker. Because it seemed like this version admitted less light than the others, I increased my exposure to 10 hours. So far, these are my favorite results. The images seem just a tad clearer and the colors just a bit stronger, enough so that I quite enjoy these images.

My first attempt with the pseudo-galletita.

This is my favorite so far of all the images created with the cámara galleria.

The most recent test using the pseudo-galletita.

And that’s were things are at, at this point. I have several other experiments in mind with my Cámara Galletita Lumen and will post them here if they turn out well.

I do have a little blog dedicated to this sort of thing, The Daily Lumenbox where the photos shown here were originally posted.

Thanks for reading!

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Thorsten Wulff
    May 26, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Exposure through a piece of Knäckebrot, who would have guessed, Sonny. lovely work, thank you for this Inspiration!

    • Reply
      sonny rosenberg
      May 26, 2022 at 12:40 pm

      Thorsten, thank you! I’m very pleased that you enjoyed the article and even found inspiration in it!

  • Reply
    J Alan
    May 26, 2022 at 11:36 am

    What great fun! Thank you for experimenting and sharing your images. Seems like the “digital” world is always chasing more resolution resulting in technically more perfect images that are clinical and sterile. The cracker camera is filled with randomness and fun and joy by producing surprising images that have something interesting to say!

  • Reply
    sonny rosenberg
    May 26, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you J Alan! I was a little hesitant to submit this article, but Hamish assured me that some readers would find it interesting. I’m glad you enjoyed it. The cracker experiments continue!

  • Reply
    Stefan Wilde
    May 26, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    Sweden has blessed the world with two great photography manufacturers, Hasselblad and Vasa… The Vasarit, the Vasagon and the Vasar have all earned their rightful place in the pantheon of the great plant based optical devices… And you really have shown what can be done with these! That’s the way the cracker crumbles 😉 Seriously, I am quite amazed by the beauty of the pictures and by the skill and patience you have shown by making them! Crack on!

    • Reply
      sonny rosenberg
      May 26, 2022 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you Stefan (I think!). Vasa cameras?

  • Reply
    Stefan Wilde
    May 26, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Oh, I was trying to have a little fun by referring to the manufacturer of the surdough crackers as if they were an optical company, yet I misspelled – it’s Wasa, not Vasa 😉 Joking aside, these are really nice pictures! Thanks for posting!

    • Reply
      sonny rosenberg
      May 26, 2022 at 8:57 pm

      You’re welcome! I didn’t even realize they were Swedish until your post, now I get it!

  • Reply
    Sroyon
    May 27, 2022 at 5:13 am

    Lumen variant of the Cámara Galletita, I love it! And thanks for linking to my article. You may have seen this already, but a couple of years ago I also coordinated a lumen project where Maureen took part 🙂

    • Reply
      sonny rosenberg
      May 27, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks Sroyon! I loved your article, it was so inspiring to me.
      I didn’t know about your lumen project, very cool! I’ll check it out shortly.

  • Reply
    Rock
    May 27, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Brilliant!

    • Reply
      sonny rosenberg
      May 27, 2022 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you ROCK!

  • Reply
    Stephen_J
    May 28, 2022 at 8:23 am

    I was preparing for this years’ WWPD, and as part of the process, I went to the gallery to see what sort of abortions I had made in previous years.

    All of them had disappeared, so I didn’t bother, there was no point.

  • Reply
    Cailín Rúnda
    June 4, 2022 at 2:30 am

    Thanks for such an informative article. I now have a better grasp of the postings on your blog. Seems that I need to do some more reading as I find this technique very appealing! …

    • Reply
      sonny rosenberg
      June 4, 2022 at 2:45 am

      You’re most welcome! Sorry that I don’t often explain the photos on the blog. I usually only do that when I start a new series or new experiment. Please feel free to ask any and all questions. I guarantee that if you’re not understanding something, other people are not either.
      When I get time, I’ll post some general reference articles on the blog with permanent links that describe the methods I’m using.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it!

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