Camera Obscura Naturalis

Recently, I had what I thought was a Pretty Cool Experience, or a PCE as I like to call it. You can thank me for the new acronym later. I encountered a camera obscura naturalis. 

Truly. It was in it’s natural habitat, unfettered and unconcerned with human influences. It left me in awe.

For those who do not know what a Camera Obscura is, it is basically a pinhole camera, like the ones you used in 4th grade science class to see the solar eclipse on the back of the box or on the piece of paper.

There are some famous camera obscura around the world. They have been used for centuries to draw (trace) images, or for art, or just because they are a PCE.  You can find an example of one used for art here at National Geographic, and there are famous ones around the world.

But I didn’t want to talk about them. I wanted to talk about my own PCE.

Recently, I stayed in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Specifically in the Century Casino, Room 102. As the sun came up, I noticed something appear on the wall. Camera obscura naturalis.

Now, I added the whole naturalis part to be silly, but in all seriousness, it was an unintentional one, and that, I felt made it a PCE.

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Sorry for the dark photos, it was dim lighting and all I had was a cellphone camera. This is the view I woke up to above the bed. It took me a few minutes to figure out what I was looking at, especially since the image is inverted.

This is a photo with the flash on, so you can understand the room layout better:

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And this is a photo of what was across the street that was being projected onto the wall:

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The dark windows and the white window trim is what stands out the most on the first photo. If you look closely you can make out the blue sky lower in the first photo.

The image was actually a panorama across the room, but it was faint enough the photos did not turn out well enough to post.

The entire thing was made from a small opening above the curtains where the valance was not flush against the ceiling. Here is a hard to make out photo of where that image came from:

IMG_2468 - CopyThe blue flare at the bottom was an actual gap in the curtains that had nothing to do with the effect. The white blob is, I believe, the two white cars in front of the building in the third photo. The streaks toward the top of the photo are the first floor of the building stretched across the ceiling until it reaches the wall.

Anyway. Just had to share. You see, it was my birthday, and I woke up feeling like life was kind enough to stop and take the time to remind me that the magic is real, and it’s all around us all the time.


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