Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A missed moment.

This morning on the way to work I saw several picturesque qualities to the sky and air. I try to keep a camera with me as much as possible, but, true to form, I didn't have a camera ready today.

There was a glistening fog today. The temperatures were well below zero. The sun was coming up over the local hills and the fog had a double rainbow. An unusual double rainbow as they weren't very long or tall I should say. And then on top of that, as the sun hid behind the mountains, the most amazing sundog stretched way up into the sky, and it only lasted a couple minutes and was gone.

I made a mistake again as usual. No camera, and I was a little bit late to work, so I wouldn't have had time anyway to stop and take the picture.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

high speed photography

I read as much as I can to stay informed about new technology in a number of different areas. In the last couple of years some interesting new developments have started to take place around high speed photography.

A high speed camera can take multiple frames of images quickly. The question is, what kind of range can be achieved? It is impressive what can be done now, from the single shot camera that can be set to take more than a single exposure, to cameras that are designed to take thousands of frames per second, to a camera developed recently by MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that can take one trillion frames per second.

I first became interested in this when reading about a new camera development, the one above that can take a trillion frames per second, click here for more on this.
At a trillion frames per second this camera has been reported capable of recording the movement of light. One article I read describes one use of this ability. You could, or rather you will be able to, the example explains, put the camera around a corner from an open doorway, flash a light for a millionth of a second, and as the light goes out and bounces around the room on the other side of the doorway, an image of what the inside of that room looks like can be reported. In other words, a new kind of radar for imaging anything that reflects light.

I think it is fair to say that high speed photography, then, has come into a new age.

But, what I report above isn't the only new interesting development.

When I started learning about high speed cameras, I first came across the Flex/Phantom line of cameras.

Then I found Fastec.

And then I found this, the Edgertronic.

What's the difference?

The immediate difference is pricing. The Edgertronic comes in at 6 thousand US Dollars.

Compare that to the others. I checked for a price on a Flex/Phantom and what I got back doing a quick Google search was to rent a Phantom for two weeks off Ebay will cost 2 thousand US Dollars. There are Phantom shops around the world that can make them available readily.

But for the price of 6 weeks of renting a Flex/Phantom, one can BUY an Edgertronic.

In my college courses on TV and Radio production we were taught that if you don't need the equipment all the time to simply rent it, and always use other peoples' money to do so. If you use your own money for production, you slide over into the artist for art's sake category, and making a return on your investment is something you can sacrifice.

'Having stated that, I think if I had the $6,000.00 to spare, I might purchase an Edgertronic.

Ultimately, I'd like the opportunity to compare all of the above sometime, and then give you a hands-on review.


Addendum, conjecture and possibly a hypotheses to the above:

Sometimes I hate the last few minutes of the day as my mind kind of runs unbridled and odd thoughts and ideas come into my mind. Which means I have to get back up out of bed and go write them down so as to not forget them.

For about 22 years I have surmised that invisibility is possible. I have described a crude method a couple of times to some local scientist attached to Corning, Incorporated, as I live here, grew up here, and believe they to be the most interested in such topics. This thinking has also lead me to believe that a computer that runs on light is possible. Well, research shows that quantum processing is on the table.And always when I broach the topics people dismiss me. I even wrote to a Doctor in the US Naval Weapons research area about this invisibility stuff and he ridiculed me by writing to the former owner of the local glass manufacturer, who in turn referred to my idea as a kind of "Buck Rogers" suit.

If you say so.

So I am laying in bed this evening and my mind wraps around the words above, a trillion frames per second.

Fast enough to catch the propagation of light. Fast enough to image a room around the corner and beyond a doorway if a proper pickup was made available.


Turn this thinking around.

The term is referred to as electro-magnetic permeability.

There it is, up there, a trillion frames per second.

Invisibility. It is the essence of the SR-71. It can out run its own ordinance.

That camera up there can out run light, or, in other words, the electro-magnetic spectrum.

If you can do that...

You can turn something electro-magnetically invisible. If you have the proper pickup available.

And can then re-broadcast that to the other side of anything you want to"bend" light around.

That's the elite version of the crude method I proposed 22 years ago.

The real version... passing the electro-magnetic spectrum through molecules...

probably isn't that far away either now.

2nd Addendum to above:

Like I said, the last few minutes before going to sleep.

I have also been paying attention, albeit in my crude way, to this conversation about matching quantum states as a kind of quantum teleportation.

The idea being that if you can make an atom here spin in exactly the same way as an atom over there, you have them mimicking each other's quantum state.

So... you get all the atoms and/or molecules in matched quantum states on either side of something you want to make invisible, call it a state of matter wherein electro-magnetic transference via quantum state exists, photons arrive on one side but are emitted at the other side because the mutual quantum state exists.

And then cobble that together with a trillion times a second.

Perhaps, one level elite higher than the above, and an order twice as high as the original crude method mentioned 22 years ago.

I can see it, can you?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nikon L320 versus the GE 1233

I now have a Nikon L320 DSLR and a GE 1233. Both are more or less considered "point and shoot" types of cameras.

I purchased the Nikon this past Christmas during the Thanksgiving Day sales, which meant my credit card was part of the Target credit card hack of 2013.

When I got to the store it was full of people. I mean really full. You couldn't even enter into the store parking lot. I went clear down to the far end of the parking lot at the other entrance before getting in simply to park.

Then, after going inside the store, I found the electronics kiosk and a salesperson handed me the flyer for the discounted Nikon L320 camera. As I read the specs I thought it has some good features, not great but very good. Like very high megapixels picture output and a 26x zoom lens and 720p video capture. I am into this whole new trend of using still digital cameras as video cameras. The end result can be quite good.

I will post a video later to show how good.

But, I have now spent some time "buddying up" to this new Nikon, and frankly my old GE 1233 does a better job at many things I hoped the Nikon would be better at. And it was $20.00 less.

For example, most of my panorama shots on these pages are from the GE:

And notice that the GE also has an interesting quality, the shot of the bowling alley, and the shot of the church service, they both have this very interesting milky-blurred aspect to them, slightly, lightly, out of focus. They remind me of old paintings, but with new subject matter. The GE does this.

The Nikon has produced one very interesting shot. It is a wide angle of a living room at my Mom's house. The walls have a similar milky soft quality to them, similar to the GE, but lighter, with more definition, but definitely a smoothness that is found in both cameras.

One of the reasons I bought the Nikon was to achieve some other more difficult shots I can't get with the GE, like a shot of the Milky Way. The problem is the Nikon is So automated I can't adjust the shutter timing to stay open long enough to get a decent night shot. There are several automated presets that lead one to believe one can get a decent nightshot, but so far I am not happy with the Nikon based results.

The other issue where the GE is better is the panorama shots I take are 3 panels stitched together in-camera. So for the true photog afficianado one can say the camera did it all when it outputs a nice wide panorama shot. No photoshopping or other software to create the end product.

With the Nikon, it came with panorama "stitching" software. I have to take several shots across a landscape and then import them into the software for the final panorama to be realized. For the true photographer, this can be said to be cheating.

The Nikon does have an amazing zoom, and the wide angle aspect, and macro are something I have yet to try to use to fullest extent. It is my belief this is where the camera will be worth what I paid for it.

The Nikon was "on sale" from $350.00 to $110.00 on the holiday sale. I asked for it from the kiosk vendor who handed me the nice little box. I then turned and went toward the cash registers only to find that the lines went all the way to the back of the store. It was about 920pm, and I wasn't going to wait 3 hours to buy this camera. So I went into housewares and hid it behind a display of pots. Then I went back the next day when the lines were gone and bought it in about 4 minutes.


Friday, January 3, 2014

A photography tip

I was walking along the other day when a friend walked by while walking his pair of dogs.

We started discussing how depressed the area is for work, and then moved onto a discussion about photography.

He was complaining how his camera was difficult to deal with when using the manual settings. I was complaining about how my new camera is so automated there are some adjustments I can't make, and explained how that was frustrating.

We then discussed some thoughts about how to make better night shots of particular subjects. He was interested in getting a better shot of his house, I am interested in getting my first shot of the Milky Way.

And I mentioned how I have my camera on a tripod, but neither camera I have allows me to use a device called a plunger. A plunger was a kind of cable with a screw on one end that allows you to attach it to the shutter release and, when you press the cable at one end, it triggers the shutter release with a minimum amount of disturbance to the camera, allowing you to take a long exposure shot and not have any blurring take place.

While discussing this I also mentioned to him that he use a higher ISO setting on his camera, which allows for a better night shot in some cases.

He replied to my comment about a plunger that I should use the self timer release function.

I have yet to try this.

I will keep you posted.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Missing images.

She said to me, "Sir, sir, what are you doing?"

"I'm taking a photograph of the vista." And waved my arm to indicate the area of acquisition. An interesting vista, to me at least as the clouds were sitting low in the valley. The shoulders of the local hills wrapped like a kind of warm garment in grey. The weather doesn't do this very often, a rare moment. It may be worth getting a picture of.

"What for?"

"To post on the internet, for sale."

She pondered this, someone behind her said something.

"No, not my house, not on the internet."

As I turned around I fumbled with my camera. I found the two panoramic images that had her house as part of the photo. I deleted them.

In strict technical terms, taking a photo like this doesn't require someone's permission.

Missing images.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Interesting what happened last night...

As I create my art works some interesting things keep happening. One is that I find myself going back over what I have done and I find new updates have occurred with tools I have used in the past, and I keep increasing my "web" of myself. I am not sure that inter-connectivity will make one a success, money-wise that is. But as an artist (using the term loosely here, I see myself more as a person that plays at art rather than a Picasso-like embodiment trying to end war, or like Bob Dylan, writing music to end war; for me it is simply fun to get into it and see what happens as a result). What is success anyway? You can define that in a lot of ways if you are open minded.

Anyway... I happen to be wondering how to make the new cover for the new part of my speculative fiction story, the first part of which is called Enter the Mass Cancelled Square Dance, which you can read here, and which has a nice cover. The new part called Spark Gap, which can be seen here, doesn't have a cover yet. And so I have been wondering how to overcome this as one of the tools I used to create the first cover isn't available to me at the present (pun intended as you'll see), but I went looking for it and surprise, the tool is not only available, but it is available for only $19.95, whereas years ago it was much more expensive.

The tool?

Bryce. Check it out. Enter the Mass Cancelled Square Dance cover was made using it and Photoshop.

Why is it that I am so happy to find this tool, because I got pretty good at using it years ago, it has a light memory headroom, meaning it is not a memory hog and so it doesn't bog down your box like other 3D creation tools like anything by Autodesk (lightwave, maya, etc...), and I happen to have gotten fairly decent at using it's interface, simply by playing around with it. I like to play. Play brings joy.

Bryce brings me back to a time I was exploring and playing with all the great software creation tools (Dreamweaver, Flash, Premier, Photoshop, Ulead tools like GIF animator, Cool 3D, Bryce, Windows Paint, Windows Character Map and some other "tinker toys") and having a lot of fun doing so.

So, my point is that going back over what you have used and done before can be an enlightening experience.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Shooting somewhat of a Rock-u-mentary.

A favorite band that I grew up with has been getting together over the last few years and giving freen music events in my hometown of Corning, NY. Typically it is some weekend in July each year, and has been going on since 2011.

In 2012 I got wind of it and decided to video tape it. Here is a link to the four bands that played that year:

This year I once again received wind of it, but decided to do things differently and have found myself once again in a little bit of a learning curve.

I decided to rent an extra camera, and an extra camera person, along with his camera.

We are using still cameras, with video capabilities to acquire the video footage, along with my tape based HDEF Sony, to shoot this. Shooting video with still cameras; this is an emerging trend, at the time of this writing, in the world of video production. Digital SLR still cameras have very high quality imaging, and are now being used in a wide variety of ways to capture video. I used my first DSLR yesterday and have shot video with it, and on first glance, the results are impressive. Good quality resolution, great color, and even the audio is decent.

However, I worked in a tight space yesterday and didn't get the right lens to do the job. I rented a 50 millimeter lens, when what I really needed was about a 25 millimeter lens, with zoom capabilities. The 50 managed okay, but I was so close to my subjects that focus became an issue and found myself rolling in and out to stay in focus. It was a bit of a challenge.

So I thank goodness that I am shooting more than one rehearsal, and will also be shooting the live event, weather permitting, later today.

This will allow me to have a huge amount of video and still shots to pick from. The rule of thumb when shooting video is more is better. The idea being that if at some point you have something bad happen, like someone walks in front of one camera, you have something else to cut to, in order to cover that ruined shot.

I will post some finished product to this blog later.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A fun interlude photographically.

I decided a couple weeks ago, after seeing a sign (remember my talk about signs?) for the Wellsville, NY balloon rally, that I was going to go and shoot lots of pictures.

I did. And have posted many to my Facebook page, as well as importing them as a series of images edited together to create a time-lapse story of the event.

Here's the Ytube video clip:


Saturday, June 29, 2013

I am posting a picture I took today from a little GE 1200 point and shoot camera. About $89.00 from your local Walgreen's. With an accompanying memory card, add another 15 to 20 dollars.

I have had two of these now. The first I put into my pocket one day and, by sliding it into my pocket, I accidentally slid open the lens cover and scratched the surface of the lens. I noticed sometime after when I kept getting an odd blur in exactly the same place in pics I took.

I like these things (these GE cameras) because they have this cool panorama picture taking feature. There are smart phones now that do this as well, and in an easier fashion. With these GE cameras you have to shoot 3 pictures carefully, and then the camera internal software "stitches" the images together. I have learned a couple things from using these. Please find below one lesson learned.

Here is a panorama shot where the "stitching" ended up making the image have a kind of "cubist" look to it:

If you click on it, you will see how the image has arched segments that were attempted to be married together.

Here is nearly the same thing but without as much of the segmented archway affectation:

I figured out why this is so. It has to do with the horizontal line you shoot along when taking the original 3 images the resulting stitched composite is made from. In the image above I panned (moving from right to left or left to right horizontally as if taking a frying pan by the handle and moving it on top of a stove by keeping the center of the pan in the same place yet rotating the pan by the handle from left to right or vice versa) the camera on a tripod, and kept the center of focus along the horizontal line the top of the benches create. It isn't perfect, but by keeping closer to that horizontal line, one gets a better "stitched" image end product.

Thanks to Day and Night Coffee Shop in Mansfield, Pa for allowing me to shoot there, and to whomever did the works in frame.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It has been a while since I graduated from Empire State College and made an entry into this blog. This blog was started as a requirement of the Digital Art and Design course I took there.

I am writing today to make 2 observations about some interesting art ideas. The first is the new photographic method called light painting. Here are some examples of what can be done using a camera that you can adjust exposure time with. Example 1 Ball of Light. And example 2 is one of my own time lapse still shots at night commemorating Neil Armstrong and a Blue Moon. And this link will take you to a Google page of photography links you can follow to find out more of what can be done.

The next point of interest today is how still cameras are being used as motion video cameras. You might think this is odd because a still camera is a still camera. Not any more. The line between a motion video camera and a still camera that can take motion video has become grey. In this example a still camera is being set to take a series of long exposure stills that are then either imported into a video editing timeline or compiled inside the camera as a "motion" video.

The other option is to simply use the still camera video function and have it work as a video camera. This article on PCMAG states the method and reasoning better than I ever could.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Links to my other blogs:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Old Art revealed by digital technology

This is an amazing TED talk about Da Vinci works that were analyzed using new digital technology. What is revealed is that the "new" layers of varnish painted since the original creation have changed the artworks. Enjoy: