Stare at the black cross in the middle and see what happens to the pink dots!…
For those of you who have not been to Camera Obscura yet, I decided to show you what an average visit is like. It can take two hours to see everything, so make sure you have enough time!
First, you find us on Castlehill, just before the castle:
Get a ticket at the reception desk. This is where you get a time to see the camera obscura, which is the only exhibit that needs a guide.
My camera obscura show was ten minutes later, so I started to climb the 98 stairs. It is very difficult with little legs like mine.
When I got to the top, it was time to see the camera obscura.
There are no photos in that room, as the light from phones and cameras can affect the camera obscura picture.
Afterwards, you can leave your email address to take part in the visitor survey. I do not have an email address, but I am well-known enough to just write Cameron the Bear and they know who I mean.
You can look around the rooftop and try the binoculars and telescopes. There are some translations of the information panels if you need them.
Next up, there are four floors of illusions to look around. I hope you have brought your camera to get some funny photos!
Once you have seen the camera obscura, you are free to look around the World of Illusions at your own pace. If you don’t want to see all the exhibitions at once, you can even get a hand stamp from the desk and come back later in the day. Or you can have a look around the shop!
Hope you have fun!
Scotland decides on 18 September whether or not to be independent or remain within the United Kingdom.
The Camera Obscura has seen many changes. When the building was first constructed, Scotland was a separate country, but shared a King with the rest of the island, Charles II. When the Camera itself was installed, Scotland formed part of the United Kingdom. Since then it has seen the rise and fall of the British Empire, two world wars and the industrial revolution and technical age develop. And we have stayed open throughout.
Whatever the result on 18 September, we will continue to bring world-class illusions and Victorian technology at its finest. We are even open on polling day for people who wish to escape the canvassing and campaigning. Schools close at 3.15 p.m., we close at 7 p.m., polls close at 10 p.m. So if you want to escape with the kids, or find somewhere to take your mind off the vote, then come on in.
But, while as a world of illusions we can change perceptions, please note that we cannot change the vote, the results, or people’s decisions. Therefore here is our handy guide on what our exhibits can and cannot do on 18 September.
Our twins exhibit can make two of you, but this will not give you two votes.
Our severed head exhibit will not actually decapitate your opponents.
The Ames room will grow and shrink you, but not the vote percentage.
You may get lost in the mirror maze, but please do not put it in front of any polling station to confuse voters.
Our shadow wall allows you to leave an imprint of your shadow, but it will not make your political opponents a shadow of their former selves.
Our giant pinhole camera may flip you upside down, but it will not turn arguments on their head.
So there is a long list of thing that we cannot do for the election, but we do have some election treats.
With our viewcams you can see the last-minute campaigning on the Royal Mile, or even zoom onto Calton Hill where the BBC are set up to cover the election.
Use our magic floor to create fireworks over the Castle if you get the result you want. If the vote goes the other way, use the fireworks to cheer yourself up because everyone loves fireworks.
So on Thursday 18 September, come and escape the politicians, polls and politics with family and friends of both the yes and no persuasion, and enjoy a fun visit on neutral territory.
Whatever happens, in 161 years’ time, we will still be here.
It was a very misty morning, but it has turned into a nice, sunny day! This is the best kind of day to enjoy the rooftop views from the top of the Camera Obscura tower.
It is difficult to climb the 98 steps when you are a little bear, but it is worth it – even if it is rainy!
You can sit on the benches in the sunshine:
There are the best views of Edinburgh Castle:
You can see down the Royal Mile:
And you can see all the way to Calton Hill, where Maria Short’s first camera obscura was:
To help you see further, there are free telescopes…
…and binoculars too!
It is Scotland though, so you can borrow an umbrella if you need it!
Following Cameron’s escape, other bears are following suit…
Many are scaling rope and rocks (kind of) to get to the ceiling and make their escape:
We estimate there are around seventy in the structure of the building, and are sure we can sometimes hear them. It’s like a super-cute version of a basilisk in the walls.
Some of them are expressing their rebellion through rock music, much to the delight of the other shop residents:
In order to embrace their rock ‘n’ roll nature, anyone who rescues a bear will get a free stick of Camera Obscura Vortex Tunnel rock. Feel free to use it as a mic yourself!