Camera Obscura

As you leave Edinburgh Castle, at the start of the Royal Mile where the buildings start, there was a woollen mill shop. We had a look around inside the store which had a working mill inside the shop making various types of tartan dress. It seemed that once you went in you had a very hard time getting out. It was all geared around people spending money for clothing or getting their photos taken in traditional dress. After walking through the entire mill we came out into the store again. We finally got out of there without spending any money.

Our next stop was the Camera Obscura. The Camera Obscura was constructed here in the late 1700’s. The way it works is it takes the available light from outside seen through a periscope and transmitted onto a flat white surface. What you get is a real time view of the world around you but in reverse. It is best used during bright days where the light comes in much better, but it is still effective to some extent in overcast conditions. The Camera is at the very top of the building. The rest of the building is taken up with strange optical illusions that boggle the mind and the senses. We made our way through the building floor by floor on our way up to the camera. We did have a specific time to be there, but we had plenty of time up our sleeves.

One of the more funny things that happened while we were looking around was in the mirror maze. There is a sign at the start of it that says not to rush as it can be dangerous. Kim went in first with me behind her. All of a sudden this little kid comes rushing in behind me and pushes past my leg. No sooner had he got past me we heard him go thud into a mirror and stagger backwards. All Kim heard from me was ha, ha, ha, ha! The kid was a little stunned but otherwise fine. The next thing we tried was the spinning tunnel. The tunnel doesn’t spin but the lights inside it give the illusion that it does. We both walked in and to begin with it was okay, but the further we went the more we felt like we were about to be turned upside down. It is quite trippy! Kim got a low light shot of me as I exited the tunnel and the black lighting makes me look evil. The image didn’t come out great but it shows a little of what Kim saw.

There were several other parts of the building that were fascinating and fun. I particularly liked when I suddenly got long hair thanks to Kim. The bathrooms were also interesting as each toilet seat had a different comical theme to them. Kim got a photo of one of them, which looks like a block of Swiss cheese with a mouse in it.

At the top of the building we had a short wait to get into the camera. We were waiting for the group before us to finish up. While we waited more and more people for our time slot turned up. I was beginning to think we wouldn’t all fit in, but we did. There was another couple there next too us which I kept an eye on. The guy seemed to be a little weird and at one point I think he got mixed up and thought Kim was his partner. He stood behind her and made some bizarre facial expression as if he was about to bite her. I kept an eye on him for the rest of the tour. Inside the camera observation room Kim and I had to stand at the back on the upper level so that all the kids could see and get a closer look. There wasn’t a lot of room back there, but we did have a rail we could lean against to see over the table. At one point Kim started playing with my bum so I decided to do the same to her. I put my arm up to go behind her and proceeded to ram my elbow into the wall behind me which made a rather audible thud. I managed not to swear or make any other noise, Kim found it hard not to burst out laughing at me.

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