Just looking at this camera obscura makes me happy


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/14/just-looking-at-this-camera-ob.html


You don’t need to use pinholes in window coverings – a small mirror projecting into a darkened room works too.

It’s my favorite method for observing solar eclipses: reflect the Sun’s image with a hand mirror onto an indoor surface (or outdoor in shadow.) Works beautifully and worth remembering come August. Practice now so you have the method down when it counts.


It’s old news to many here, but an interesting note for lovers of language, that the name of this device, “camera obscura”, is Latin for “dark room”, and that that’s how “camera” became the name for a device that takes pictures. That Latin word"camera", which means “room”, is cognate with the English word “chamber”.



Ive long wanted an opaque tent to make into a camera obscura, just dont know how light-proof black fabric will be in practice.


Camera obscuras are so fun. I love the wooden box too, but you can easily make on from crap lying around the house… Just a cardboard box with a tube and a lens from a magnifying glass, plus some vellum/tracing paper for the image to project on.

I’ve always thought it would be cool to convert an old box-truck into one, or a pinhole camera.


There are those developer bags that are light-tight, so I could imagine one tent-sized…


Even very small light leaks can ruin the effect. We’ve installed an 8’ square camera obscura the past several years at our film festival; most of the installation time involves finding & gaffing light leaks.


This brought back a childhood memory from the 1960s. Someone left a cardboard appliance box (refrigerator maybe?) on the street and, being a small child, I of course turned it upside down and climbed inside. It had a tiny hole in it, and it was a bright day. I discovered a reversed (and as I remember it upside-down) image of the street inside, and spent many happy hours watching it. At some point (weeks or years later) I had it explained to me.


Curious. It seems as though the original wooden box you show is more like a Camera Lucida. At least, that is what I always took the “magic drawing aid” to be referred to.


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