Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Rio Phyz Pinhole Camera: As big as a classroom

Apologies for being so long away. Due to a pre-Prop 30 budget scare, we scheduled our graduation ceremony three weeks early. The dominos that cascaded from that decision landed squarely on my blog time. But now I'm back with a doozie!

With three weeks of time to kill in a post-AP Exam, post-graduation situation, what to do with the handful of non-seniors in AP Physics? Robust, rigorous academic instruction? No. It's ad lib time.

We enjoyed a bit of cinema with some of my personal faves, Atomic Café and For All Mankind. I'll keep my Koyaanisqatsi powder dry for the moment, but I make no promises.

Thursday and Friday, we turned the classroom into a camera obscura: a giant pinhole camera! Here's the crew blacking out the room with 6 mil black plastic sheeting. These are Rio's best and brightest, and they work fast!

Otherwise jaded high school students distracted by the approach of summer vacation are genuinely wowed by the resulting image creation. The giant camera obscura is best experienced live and in person. From the dark of the classroom, the wall opposite the pinhole is illuminated with moving ghostly images of whatever is going on in the courtyard outside our classroom, made even eerier by the imagery's reversal about the origin.

But just for fun, I shot a couple of stills.

1. The celebration of entropy that is my classroom. Careful observers will see the devastating earthquake damage visited upon the room from the previous night's temblor.

2. Lights Out: the pinhole is on the windows to the right. Our Dark Side of the Moon mural gets a full measure of sunshine in the afternoon. It's full-color image lands on my front boards.

3. Ectoplasmic filter. I've been teaching in room B-8 longer than my students have been alive. Although I'm not even dead yet, my spirit haunts the room. Spooky!

Thanks to Dr. Rick Michaels (Bella Vista High School, retired) for the idea. All images shot on my Lumix DMC-FZ200 digicam, processed with Apple's Aperture 3. A wired remote was employed to execute the intervalometer function; time lapse stills sequenced into a video file by Apple QuickTime Pro 7.