What is a camera obscura? I did not find out till too long ago myself. If you do not know, just go Google it if you want more answer than this: if you black out a room and allow light in through a small hole, you will have a live, color, (upside down and backwards,) movie of life outside displayed inside your room. It is like a giant eyeball or like you are inside your camera.
Oh, you are, though…inside your camera that is. A literal translation of “camera obscura” from Italian, is simply “dark room”. So, you are in your camera, i.e. room.
I did this as a fun aside from daily life for my son’s birthday, today. I knew it was possible, and with our new black out drapes, it could become a reality. Actually, to test out the idea, all I did at first was wrap the drapes around a toilet paper tube, and even with terrible light leaks, I got discernible images of cars and trucks rolling across my ceiling.
Once I spent more time blacking the room out (though we still had plenty of light leaks), and replaced the toilet paper tube with a folder with a one-inch circle cut out, I filled almost half the room (ceiling, walls, and floor) with the upside down, backwards movie of the street outside. I had to frame the ceiling fan in the shot above for proof, as if the wildly skewed, oddly colored police truck were not convincing enough.
Try it! It’s a blast. All you need to do to get started is steal the toilet paper for a few minutes.