Camera Obscura: The Renaissance Camera
Nov
22
2013

While driving down Lake Flower Avenue toward downtown SaranacLake you might have noticed a little pale green house close to the road. You might know this house as the “peace on earth” house with all the lights and picture of the world out on the front lawn this time of year.  That little house is too small to be an apartment or a cabin and in too strange of a place to be simply a storage shed.

The Adirondack Camera Obscura

That little green house is the Adirondack Camera Obscura Studio. The building was designed and constructed by local photographer Mark Ellis. He has always had a love for photography, and as grew up he developed a strong interest in ‘pinhole photography’. Pinhole photography allows you to capture an image onto film through a simple pinhole of light. Mark started constructing cameras from old shoe boxes. They had no lenses. The ‘lens’ was the pinhole that would allow light to enter the dark box to project an image onto the opposite wall of the box with a strip of film on it. The pinhole is able to receive light from every direction on the outside of the box to pass through the hole to film on the other side, reflecting the image on the outside. 

Mark's Camera

This is also referred to as ‘Camera Obscura’ (which is Latin for dark chamber). Camera Obscura has been around for centuries. Artists in the Renaissance era would use a camera obscura building to gain perspective in their art work. In his writings, Leonardo Da Vinci gives clear descriptions of the projection of an image through a pinhole (specifically in his Codex Atlanticus). Using Camera Obscura made it easier to replicate paintings and other works of art. 

History of Camera Obscura

The building that Mark has constructed is a full sized Camera Obscura, large enough to walk into. It is like you are walking inside of a giant camera. The little box on top of the building (the lens) can be turned by pulling at two ropes. By turning the lens you can turn the opening so that you can capture different angles of the outside landscape. He uses mirrors to reflect the image down onto the table. You may move the table up and down (with the help of others) to help create a clearer image as you turn the lens. 

Camera Obscura Image

This building is open to the public to explore (almost all of the time). Mark has made this a learning experience where you can teach yourself as you go. There is a history outside that you can read and examples inside to look at. Once you close the door and follow the directions you will be absolutely amazed! It is such a unique experience you will not regret taking the time to do. If you have a couple minutes, stop in and see it for yourself. 

Camera Obscura Image

Author:Courtney Petkov...
Categories:Arts
Ducks and Otters at Lake Colby
Debar Mountain and Black Peak

E-Newsletter Signup Form

 
1 Start 2 Complete

About The Author

Blog Topics...

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
Registration Now Open for Kids’ Afterschool Art Classes at BluSeed Studios BluSeed Studios announces open registration for children’s after school art classes as of October 12. Classes...
Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
The upcoming date less then 1 day.
The weekly meeting for the Rotary Club of Saranac Lake at the Left Bank Cafe. Please feel free to contact us if you're interested in learning more about Rotary.

Recent Blog Posts...

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Submitted by guest writer, Elisabeth Marchbanks I must admit, fall is my favorite season in the Adirondacks. As the air becomes crisper and the leaves start to change their color, I can’t help but...
Thursday, October 4th, 2018
A great time of year for a hike Fall is made for hiking. It possesses the perfect mix of pleasantries — leaf color, pleasant temperatures, and no bugs — that appeals to time outside. So when...
Win a fantastic getaway! It's free! Enter now.
Fly to Saranac Lake via Cape Air The Adirondack Regional Airport, your "Gateway to the Adirondacks," provides quick and convenient access to and from Logan International in Boston, MA. Daily flights are provided...
Woods and Water Defined by nature, recreation, heritage, learning, creativity, and cuisine, we invite you to explore our historic routes and waterway connections.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Interested In
Sign Me Up!