Monday, July 9, 2012


My granddaughter in a kaleidoscope produced image.

When I was a young boy, one of my favorite toys was a kaleidoscope. It worked with a rotating ring and small pieces of randomly tumbling bits of coloured plastic. Then in the '60s, well into my teens, I discovered kaleidoscopes that break the world into a kaleidoscopic image. I thought this was really cool.

These units were inexpensively made out of a cardboard tube, a plastic lens and three little mirrors taped together; yes, I took one apart to inspect its innards.

I was so impressed that I bought one for each my nieces and nephews. I took them for a walk around their neighbourhood and we viewed their usual world in an unusual way.

The other day I found my old '60s kaleidoscope forgotten in a box in the basement. I wondered if I could capture the images it created. I positioned the lens of my point and shoot in front of the viewing hole and voila I had a picture.

I know there are apps available for the iPhone to manipulate images and give them the kaleidoscope look, but I enjoy watching the images form and evolve on my camera back. If the idea of an app interests you, check out Kooleido for your iPhone.

I'm wondering how hard it would be to make a proper little kaleidoscope to attach to the front of my point and shoot. There are instructions on the Internet for the old-fashioned children's toy and even suggestions on making one for use with a camera. If I make one that works, I'll post some pictures.

For high quality results, Photoshop may be the best answer. Start with a fine quality image and let Photoshop take it from there.

Flowers on the patio as seen through my kaleidoscope.
To see my best efforts, check out these. I tried my little gadget on my lilies.

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