Just like School

Some of you will know that I have a fascination with a small optical instrument that was originally leant to me by Janet. – a teleidoscope.

New readers begin here – old readers can skip this paragraph. For the newbies – you must have heard of a kaleidoscope – well the teleidoscope is similar but instead of having rattling coloured beads at one end and gorgeous patterns, the teleidoscope has a lens of sorts at the far end and the patterns are made up from the object you are peeping at.


Before we leave the kaleidoscope. I was surprised to learn that although the word is Greek, meaning “beautiful form to see”, the first kaleidoscope was made in 1816 by a Dr David Brewster. I suspect he used 3 mirrors which he placed inside a tube. In fact kaleidoscopes can be made with 2, 3 and even 5 mirrors. The image produced by each type is very different. It also makes a difference if the mirrors are slanted.

The amazing shapes in a kaleidoscope are produced by small pieces of coloured cellophane or plastic placed in random manner at one end. Their shapes are reflected, which is why the image seems regular. I wanted to know just what was involved in making one and so I took one of mine to pieces,


The teleidoscope is very similar. In a three mirror teleidoscope a small 5 sided image may be reflected by the triangle of mirrors dozens of times.

My aim was to photograph this.

Actually my shoes


Bluebells at Blickling











In reality there were problems. Problem one was that the camera, even with a wide angled lens, does not operate with the same angle of vision as the human eye. It also proved difficult to hold the camera, hold the teleidoscope, align the two and press the shutter, all at the same time.

Dave an engineer invented a portable camera and teleidoscope clamp for me. Brilliant – it is now possible to hold the grip with one hand, align the unit on the subject to be photographed and press the shutter all at the same time. Image reproduction and focusing have all improved.

Dave’s invention

Other thoughtful readers of this blog have suggested that it ought to be possible to create kaleidoscopic patterns from a single photograph.









Martin sent me a way of producing a star pattern image from a single shot

My version of Martin’s creation

In the December edition of Graphic Design 2015, Amber Grayson published a set of instructions saying how a kaleidoscope design could be produced in Photoshop using a hexagon as a base.


A company called “Permadi.com” have a design your own hexagon on line with respectable results – or at least I think so. You need to load the latest version of Java Script on to your computer though to achieve it.










I wanted to find out what my teleidoscope could actually see so I took this picture and found that it reproduced the simple triangular picture 32 times.

Thanks to Linda for her help


In for a penny, in for a pound and this is what I managed 32 hand positioned images cropped in to a circle.

Created on the computer

It looks like a teleidoscope picture, but in reality it isn’t.

And I thought knitting was difficult.