Friday, 30 January 2015

Exploring Edinburgh // Camera Obscura


I'd seen lots of photos from this place on Facebook and heard people mentioning it to others when asking for recommendations of things to do in Edinburgh, but I couldn't recall ever seeing it in passing when I was in Scotland's capital, so when we were there in November I was really keen on going to Camera Obscura.

Situated super near the castle, up the Royal Mile, Camera Obscura is actually the citys oldest purpose built visitor attraction amazingly dating back to the 1800s!! To read a more detailed (and actually very interesting history of the Observatory and World of Illusion) you can do so here
In short the Camera Obscura refers to the optical device that Maria Theresa Short (you'll have to read the history to find out who she is haha!) installed on the top of a townhouse she bought. A Camera Obscura, also known as a pinhole camera was the original device that lead to photography and the camera as we know it today, and the one at this visitors centre projects images through a giant periscope into the Victorian rooftop chamber.

But that isn't all this place has to offer. I wasn't able to take any photos in the actual show but we took plenty while exploring the other 5 floors. 





There's the Magic Gallery, Electric Room, Mirrors, Lights and Senses, Moving Pictures and Optical Illusions. Within these different sections you'll find a mix of interactive and fun things to play around with or simply look at. Now I know 'looking at' stuff doesn't sound so fun but with different visual tricks and work by artists such as Salvador Dali and many more, you'll leave entertained and perplexed. Plasma balls, funny mirrors,  a zoetrope, a praxinoscope and holograms are all among the fun too.
I was a little skeptical to enter when I saw the price of entry (just shy of £14) but I can tell you now that it's more than worth it. They recommend allowing yourself two hours to explore and see the show but I'm sure we were there for at least 3 hours. It was pretty busy when we went so choose your days and times carefully, especially if you don't like kids. Seriously, they'll push in front of you and be noisy during the show so during the week is when I'll next visit - they're open everyday of the year except Christmas you know?!

Even as a 24 year old, with my parents, we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs - especially in the light tunnel where you feel as if you are spinning upside down while walking over the bridge, and the mirror maze which is sooo much harder than you'd think.   
So if you find yourself in Edinburgh and looking for something fun for all ages to do indoors, for sure give this place a go. :) 





Click to enlarge!

Oh, oh, oh! I forgot to mention there are also free telescopes on the rooftop and on a clear day like we had you can see for miles around in all directions. The panorama above was taken on a regular 18-55mm lens in four photos looking North and shows Princes Street and the gardens, Leith, New Town, the Firth of Forth and Fife. Breathtaking I'm sure you'll agree.
Have you ever been to Camera Obscura? Did you enjoy it? If you haven't is it somewhere that you think would interest you?




18 comments:

  1. This is something I would definitely love to do, and I live so much closer to Edinburgh now so I need to go. I love the picture of the mirrored room/hallway that is amazing! I love optical illusions so I would really enjoy this. You got some great photos too - I'll definitely be going at some point! - Tasha

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    1. Its most certainly worth a visit. And is a lot better than what my photos show, so hard to capture most of the stuff on camera!

      Xo

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  2. I loved this and have been every time i have visited Edinburgh. X

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    1. Oh really? Thats so cool! I dunno if Id go back many times but its definitely worth visiting at least once.

      xo

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  3. Hi Danielle,

    Happy Saturday to you!
    I've just entered your give away and when I came back to your blog to check the requirements, I've seen you got another post up already! I went to Edinburgh years ago (I think it must have been 2001 or 2002) and of course I visited the Camera Obscura! Like you I stumbled across it rather than I knew about it and I went straight to see it. I remember they had lots of fun visual deviations and visual tricks to show you what you can do with your eye and how to play around with dimension. The coolest thing was definitely the camera itself on the top and you could zoom in so much you could see passengers on the street and look them straight in their faces. That was scary, but fascinating at the same time. Glad to read you had a great trip with your family. Say hello to Jake and give Baker a cuddle! Speak soon xxxx

    Caz | Lunch Break Adventures

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    1. Aw thanks for such an awesome comment Caz! :) I wonder if its changed much since you were there...its been a while haha
      The camera show was great.

      Xo

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  4. Oh I would love to go there someday! It looks really interesting! I love the photo you took where you're small in the corner :) Also the panorama picture is absolutely gorgeous!!!
    Jade x

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    1. There is so much more than what I photographed too! haha Thanks, so fun isn't it..it's just a weird shaped room but I have no idea how the camera makes it look like that. Thank you very much :)

      xo

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  5. I live right by the water in that last pic :) Great shot!

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    1. Ah really?! So cool! I'll wave to you next time haha. Thank you :)

      xo

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  6. I would love to go to the Camera Obscura (especially seeing as they take Tesco vouchers as payment), the other half's not that interested though - think I need to spend the next few months trying to convince him :-) xx

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    1. Do they?! Thats helpful haha. Oh tell him to compromise. I bet he'd love it too, there's a lot more than what I photographed.

      xo

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  7. I've been to Edinburgh quite a lot and I can't remember ever visiting Camera Obscura, I think I need to! I love illusions, it amazes me how something so simple can trick our minds so much, definitely putting this on my list for the next time I visit my friends up there! :)

    Love Amylou x
    www.amylous.co.uk

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    1. Oh definitely a must do when you next have some free time in the city. Im glad we've done it now. It really is so interesting!

      xo

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  8. I love the look of this! This is definitely something Kris and I would spend plenty of time in!

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    1. I need to go back with Jake at some point, I think he'd enjoy it too!

      xo

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  9. That looks flipping brilliant! Not sure my vertigo would enjoy it but the rest of me would! :) x

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    1. Oh no! My Mam had to stay inside at the top as it is pretty high up lol

      xo

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