The Camera Obscura on the Ospizio Bernina
The camera obscura is hidden in the base for winter maintenance of the Bernina Pass road – at the top of the salt and gravel silo. A steep spiral staircase takes visitors to a dark chamber. As their eyes adjust to the dark, an image slowly and then more clearly appears on the wall. The natural mountain landscape with Piz Cambrena and Piz d’Arlas magically becomes visible – yet everything is upside down.
The principle of the camera obscura has been known since antiquity and functions without any technical tools such as lenses or mirrors. The secret is a windowless room with a small hole where light comes in – hard to believe in our digital age. However, the size of the hole (in this case 20 millimetres) must be precisely measured to generate the right brightness and image sharpness. The optical calculations were performed by Guido Baselgia, the famous photographer from Pontresina, together with the architecture firm Bearth and Deplazes.
Under good light conditions, the camera obscura can be visited on a guided tour. Tickets can be purchased online.