When you come and visit us at CairnGorm Mountain our Camera Obscura is well worth a visit, especially on a clear day.
If you’ve never heard of a camera obscura before, then the concept is quite simple – it’s basically a more complex version of a pinhole camera. It is a darkened box with a convex lens or aperture that projects an external object on to a screen inside. Most camera obscuras are set up to view a surrounding landscape and can create particularly dramatic scenes.
The camera obscura at CairnGorm Mountain is open during the summer months with free entry and is a key feature of the mountain arts project, ‘Reading a Landscape’. It stands at 635m above sea level in its own distinctive black timber building at the top of the Mountain Garden close by the funicular railway track, a few metres’ walk from the base station.
Since 2004 the Cairngorm Mountain Trust has worked with partners to develop an artist-led initiative that would enhance visitors’ understanding of the mountain landscape. Now ‘The Dark Room’ camera obscura rotates slowly projecting a 360⁰ real-time view of the surrounding landscape onto a table before your eyes. It is one of only a handful of such cameras in Scotland, the best known being at the Outlook Tower on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.