Santa Monica's Camera Obscura

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A Camera Obscura: In Santa Monica, just north of the pier, cross on up to Palisades Park above Santa Monica Beach and be sure to check it out, where Broadway meets Ocean Avenue.

Note: It's actually part of the Santa Monica Senior Center and the staff keeps the room (it's a room) locked. To get access, go to the office and ask for the key. The office staff usually stops letting shutterbugs in after 2 p.m.

What is it? The term is Italian for "dark room." It is actually a small room, but operates much like the mechanics of any film held-held Nikon or Kodak, only on a human scale.

From inside, visitors can rotate an old ship's wheel to operate the roof-top revolving turret. The turret houses a mirror that acts as the "lens," reflecting an image from Ocean Avenue outside onto a table inside.

Santa Monica Camera Obscura exterior Our digital photos of the interior didn't turn out very well, but here's a commemorative postage stamp-sized shot of the exterior. It's the building behind the squad car.

You can see its name on the building's wall. Love the 1950's architecture. The actual wheel and other components date from about a century ago.

Photo copyright 2007 West Coast Beach

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