As you travel along Lake Flower Avenue in Saranac Lake, one will wonder what the small roadside cabin is for, sitting directly across from the lake.
Guesses have ranged to from a tiny guest house to a storage place for riparian equipment. But the cabin, located is the Adirondack's only known room sized Camera Obscura, and approximately only one of 50 that exist world wide.
Imagine your handheld point and shoot camera or your sophisticated SLR camera, expanded in size to the point where you can open a compartment cover and go inside the camera. By entering the doorway of the Adirondack Camera Obscura you are doing just that. Once you are inside the darkened room, there before you on a table top is a unique and magnificent five foot wide view of Lake Flower. If you were able to place a large piece of photographic film on the table, you could capture the image. Or if you had a massive digital pixel sensor, you could do the same and capture the image digitally!
Knowledge of the existence of the optical nature of a darkened area, allowing light to enter from only one small opening reaches far back into antiquity. During the late Renaissance, well before the development of light sensitive films, 17th century artistic painters would utilize a camera obscura to capture portraiture and even landscapes. As the image of their subject matter was projected on to a surface area, the artist would recreate the image with paints from their pallet. Prior to the existence of glass lenses, a mere pinhole would be used instead! Yes, you can a substantial image in a dark room from a mere pinhole. Camera Obscura translated from Latin is "dark chamber (or room)".