Posted on March 3rd, 2013

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

I guess there is only one place to really start my blog on photography… Yes the Camera Obscura. Don’t you find it odd that the modern camera uses the same basic principles as technology invented around 2500 years ago? I know the Camera Obscura has no real commercial uses today but I think we can all learn something from creating one for ourselves and for the little geek that is inside all photographers, it’s pretty awesome too.

I guess there is only one place to really start my blog on photography… Yes the Camera Obscura.

My Background With Camera Obscura

I think my first really experience of a Camera Obscura was during the 1999 total solar eclipse where we used them to protect our eyes as we could look at a projection of the sun. It’s odd that I would remember the little pinhole Cameras we used as I was only about 8 years old. However for some reason it stuck and I locked this knowledge away. The next time I really thought about the idea of a Camera Obscura was with my Dad. I guess my Dad will come up a lot in this blog as I have to put my creative and experimental attitude to life down to his influence not forgetting why I can get so OCD about my projects. My Dad is the kind of Dad who seems to be able to make anything and as I grew up there where very few weekends went by were we were not making something.  Despite me being the only one to really push photography my Dad seems to love playing with optics and equipment like that. I guess working as a surveyor meant he is always using cool kit too. He has also made his own telescope that sadly, being at Uni, I have not had a chance to play on the latest generation of. Anyway back to the point… One day he decided to convert our living room into a large Camera Obscura and the results were quite cool.


My Attempt With Camera Obscura

So that leads us to now and I was in town looking at some boot sale style deal and found a box camera that uses a fixed focus but a small aperture to create an in focus image. This triggered my memory and I began to think about creating pinhole cameras and try a camera Obscura again. In my dad’s’attempt we came across a few problems one being that my living room at home was a pain is the ass to make light proof, the other being that it would have been nice to have a way to quickly adjust the aperture to test how it changes the image.The light leaks for my attempt were no problem as a search in the attic uncovered a huge piece of cardboard that would cover my window in one go and then a min with some gaffa tape and job done. For the aperture adjust problem I found a solution that I was frankly quite proud of. I borrowed a lens from a photo enlarger and unscrewed all the glass. This left me with nothing but a fully manual aperture ring. I cut a hole in my card and screwed this into place.  The 3 images show my setup and results. I don’t really need to go into much detail about the science behind this as there is loads online about how it works but I hope that some of you will give it a go.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *