Griffith Observatory
June 13, 2008 *NEW page added 6/2008*

We had heard about a simple "through the wall" camera obscura at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California but had never visited it. Before our visit we were thrilled to learn that Griffith has installed a more sophisticated camera obscura room. It was built by George Keene, who designed Charles Schwartz's wonderful camera obscura in New York.

A view of the observatory on the right shows the lens turret projecting above the building between the telescope dome on the left and the center dome of the building.

Dale, Beverly, and Louise examine the image on the table with Daniel from the Griffith staff. The view is of the hills around the observatory with the Hollywood sign visible on the left side of the table.

As with all of our images of camera obscura tables, this is a composite of a flash picture to show the interior and a non-flash to show the image on the table.

On the left above, a visitor enters the camera obscura doorway. On the left Beverly stands on the roof of the observatory beside the copper sheathed turret that holds the lens and mirror.

The lens rotates 360° but a portion of the pan is past the telescope and center domes, and is out of focus. The rest of the pan is off the hills that surround the observatory. We were there on a bight sunny day in June but found that the haze made the images softer than we expected. If you know Los Angeles weather you may be able to pick a season when the view is clearest.

In addition to the camera obscura we enjoyed "The Once and Future Griffith Observatory" film narrated by Leonard Nimoy, lunch at "The Café at the End of the Universe", and a show in the "Samuel Oschin Planetarium".


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Vermeer's Camera, a 1934 teaching camera
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NEW 6/2008