Contrasts at Camera Obscura

We thought we’d get involved in this week’s photo challenge because Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is an amazing place for contrasts. Here are just a few…


Ames Room

Tall and short


Giant lens

Big and small



Rooftop Crystal Ball

Upside down and right way up


Thermal camera

Hot and cold


Mirror Maze

Lost and found


Plasma Ball

Light and dark


Camera doors

Old and new


Did you find any other contrasts during your visit?

Picture Perfect

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a great place for photos. Visitors leave with photographic evidence of having shrunk during their visit (in the Ames Room) or their friend’s head on a plate (Severed Head). However, for those interested in photography, the World of Illusions can produce many great shots – even if it’s a challenge to capture them! Come along early one day to escape the crowds and see if you can come away with pictures of any of these:

Mirror maze. Test your skills by seeing if you can get a photo in the mirror maze – without you in it. I couldn’t quite manage, but this is my best effort:


It is incredibly difficult to take a good photo of the Vortex tunnel. The flash makes the lights disappear, but it’s so dark in the room that cameras don’t always cope well. Use a high ISO and a tripod if you can.


Hidden in the Middle. The image in this exhibit can only be seen by moving your head quickly from side to side. Can you capture it with a camera? Use a tripod and a long shutter speed, then move the camera from side to side to get the photo.


Infinity corridor. Similar to Hidden in the Middle, adjust the exposure to one or two seconds, then move the camera as the picture takes to transform photos of the Infinity Corridor.


Electricity room. I’ve tried countless times to take a good photo of the plasma dome for this blog, and it’s difficult. Mess about with the ISO and spend a bit of time editing to make these photos look their best.


Bendy Mirrors. This isn’t your average self-portrait.


Light tunnel. Like the infinity corridor, we have the ladder to Australia and this light tunnel that make use of lights and mirrors.


Whether the weather is bright and sunny or gloomy and grey, the view from our rooftop is one of the best in the city. You can create picture-perfect postcards of Edinburgh here.

Rooftop 2 24.03.14 small

Ducks make a splash at Camera Obscura!

Ducks are one of Camera Obscura’s favourite animals. I even brought this back from a holiday across the pond (I know you see what I did there):

Camera Obscura Ducks

Statue of Liberty (Duck!)

Camera Obscura Ducks

Famous Ducks


Great minds think alike, and I came back to James Pond, Sue Ducku, Bob the Billduck and Ductor House, amongst others. Everyone’s quackers.


Camera Obscura Ducks

The Duck Pond


We’ve created an amazing pond for them here at Camera Obscura. They’ve taken to it like ducks too… I’ll stop there.




Camera Obscura Ducks

Flashing Pirate!


This is not just a place for your average duck in fancy dress, however. There are also mini flashing ducks, a duck mood light, and lip balm and bubbles in duck-shaped containers.


Water you waiting for?!

Camera Obscura Ducks

Camera Obscura Ducks


Written by Lauren Robertson

Pretty Neat!

Pretty Neat!

Can you read the text?

This is a great example of the scrambled word comprehension phenomenon….it’s amazing that we can understand such a muddle!

Source: Cambridge University

Thank Your Teacher with Camera Obscura: top ‘thank yous’ from our gift shop!

We’re reaching the end of term now, so kids might be thinking about getting a little something for their favourite teachers…and we’ve got just the thing to say ‘thank you’ in a unique way.


‘F In….’ Books


We now stock some brilliant books that gather together funny answers to questions about history, science, literature and more. F in Retakes, F in English, Blackboard Blunders, amongst others, are hilarious (sometimes vaguely worrying) reads that will remind teachers of the best attempts their own pupils have made at trying to pass exams. Here are some wee snippets from F In School and F In Science

Q. Define Capital Punishment … A. When you get in trouble for not putting a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence.

Q. Where are vegetable oils found? … A. In the oils aisle



Ducks, ducks and ducks!




‘The world according to teachers’ is a little book on a keyring containing lots of quotes about teachers and teaching….


For quirkier teachers, we have dressed-up ducks. Or for teachers that particularly like ducks.


For their tea and coffee, what teacher wouldn’t love a heat-sensitive Pacman mug? Or a mug that changes from a day image to a night image when you add the tea? We have a large selection of unusual mugs that will probably be ‘borrowed’ in the staff room.


Camera Obscura & World of Illusion Bears

Cuddly Bears

Who doesn’t love a teddy bear? Particularly a plush teddy bear in a hoodie!

Chocolates & Shortbread

For teachers with a sweet tooth, pick up some shortbread or chocolate.



A great addition to any classroom, teachers can keep a worry-eater to aid communication with pupils, who can write any questions or concerns and put them in the worry-eater.


Worry Eaters

Melting clocks

When counting down the minutes until lunch, wouldn’t it be nice to have an unusual clock to look at? Some art teachers especially will love the reference!


Melting Clocks



Nail puzzles, Sudoku, lateral thinking puzzles, IQ tests, jigsaws – we have the best variety of puzzles in Edinburgh!


If they always have a book on their desk, why not gift them a special 3D bookmark?


Lenticular Bookmarks