Your eyeballs' resolution, historic photos, & more

  • As traditional photo printing heads into obscurity, photo conservationist Dusan Stulik & his crew at the Getty Conservation Institute want to capture what’s being lost. They’re "working on what might be described as the genome project of predigital photography: a precise chemical fingerprint of all the 150 or so ways pictures have been developed" over the last 170 years.  19-century leather printing sounds cool, but as for the uranium prints, he can keep ’em.
  • Taking a different angle on photo preservation, Shorpy is "The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog." (It’s named after this little dude, apparently.) [Via]
  • I haven’t gotten to poke at it much, but Focus, The Photographic Search Engine, sounds interesting. [Via]
  • Your point-and-shoot has a little way to go before reaching the 576-megapixel resolution of the human eye [Via]
  • And lastly, speaking of resolution, who knew that Google satellite aerial photography could go so insanely close?  If I start balding, they’ll probably know before I do… [Via]

0 thoughts on “Your eyeballs' resolution, historic photos, & more

  1. Wow, thanks John for more neato stuff and it’s not even Friday. Yea one of my fav field trips is to the Gettys Photo dept. where you can gander at photos – front & back sides (without someone telling you to step back). Yea the Google map stuff is amazing, camel portraits included. Makes me wonder what you can REALLY see if you’re a google employee.
    [Shh-Sergey’s listening. 😉 –J.]

  2. John, those images from Google Earth you have linked to are not satellite imagery. They were images taken from an airplane as it crossed over parts of Africa as part of a project for National Geographic.
    [Ah! Good to know, thanks. –J.]
    Satellite imagery has a theoretical limit (likely working theoretical limits close to possible in the KH-12. KH-13 series of satellites) of approximately 10cm given optimal conditions. But any imagery from those platforms would be classified and not open to Google’s public Google Earth systems (Systems being developed for TLAs notwithstanding).
    [I would think not.
    Then there’s the whole world of unmanned aerial vehicles. I spent a summer working for Jane’s, the famous publisher of military resource materials. Even 10+ years ago the imagery that could come from those aircraft was amazing, as demonstrated at a tradeshow I attended. Seeing a thermal image of myself was trippy (white eye sockets, black Coke can). –J.]

  3. Oh, there is fabulous imagery with unmatched resolution that is available from unmanned platforms including IR, Visible spectrum and even multispectral imagery in almost real time. It’s an exciting world for those in the visual intelligence fields. Other longer wavelength methods of imagery are also being actively explored and the advantage of unmanned platforms is that higher energies can be used without the worry of shielding a pilot when active.

  4. Based on the above data for the resolution of the human eye, let’s try a “small” example first. Consider a view in front of you that is 90 degrees by 90 degrees, like looking through an open window at a scene. The number of pixels would be
    90 degrees * 60 arc-minutes/degree * 1/0.3 * 90 * 60 * 1/0.3 = 324,000,000 pixels (324 megapixels).
    At any one moment, you actually do not perceive that many pixels, but your eye moves around the scene to see all the detail you want. But the human eye really sees a larger field of view, close to 180 degrees. Let’s be conservative and use 120 degrees for the field of view. Then we would see
    120 * 120 * 60 * 60 / (0.3 * 0.3) = 576 megapixels.
    The full angle of human vision would require even more megapixels. This kind of image detail requires A large format camera to record.

    Interestingly this brings to mind AutoAlign and Zoomify functionality of CS3. Even so, it would require integrating a lot of shots from a point-and-shoot to get to 576 megapixels.

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