Robaina's plantation

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Cámara Oscura (Edificio Gómez Vila) Plaza Vieja (Havana)

                  By definition, according to Wikipedia, a camera obscura (Latin: "dark chamber") is an optical device that led to photography and the photographic camera. The device consists of a box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside, where it is reproduced, rotated 180 degrees (thus upside-down), but with color and perspective preserved. The image can be projected onto paper, and can then be traced to produce a highly accurate representation. The largest camera obscura in the world is on Constitution Hill in Aberystwyth, Wales.
                   The Camera Obscura in Havana is situated on the top floor of the Gomez Vila building (completed in 1933) on one of the corners of Plaza Vieja in Old Havana. It was donated by the Provincial Council of Cadiz and manufactured by the British company Sinden Optical Co. Ltd.   They use a rotating turret which gives a 360-degree view of the city. The room you enter for the demonstration has a camera operator (guide) and while rotating the turret he changes the angle of the mirror thus changing the image on a concave screen. With his free hand the operator points to sites on the 1.8 meter screen and describes them in several languages. About 15-20 people stand around on a circular platform that surrounds the screen. While you may think you're looking at a still image, the guide will point out objects that are moving, like cars or people. It make's you realize that it's a reflection and in real time. The whole show lasts about ten minutes and it was all very interesting, especially since this object was invented thousands of years ago. However, I was really interested in getting some Aerial photographs of Plaza Vieja. It was definitely worth the $2cuc I had to pay to get to the roof, the pictures were great and the show wasn't bad either.          

Camera Obscura is open daily between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm.
Provides services guided tours in Spanish, English, French and Italian.

Plaza Vieja
Habana Vieja

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