Category Archives: Photography

Photography: A ridiculously cool “layer lapse” of NYC

Julian Tryba scripts After Effects to produce carefully segmented, meticulously choreographed “layer lapses” that produce a “visual time dilation” that juxtaposes the same scene shot at different times of day. Here, just check it out:

You can read more about the project on PetaPixel:

Tryba visited NYC 22 times, drove 9988 miles, spent 352 hours shooting 232,000 photos with 6 cameras (5 Canon DSLRs and a Sony a7R II) and 11 different lenses, and paid $1,430 in parking fees.


Orbital science: Drone spins me right ’round

Get vertigo a go-go as this drone pilot goes spinning in infinity:

Orbital drone movements are the ones with power to convert two-dimensional images into dancing focal layers escaping out of the frame. We wanted to further explore the technique, with high altitude long orbits, along with ones very close to the ground, we call them “Orbital drone-lapses”. These shots are a mix of automatic and manual flights. 

“The shots were done using both automatic and manual flights over the Folegandros island in Greece,” notes PetaPixel.



Photography: The beautifully dramatic microstructures of “Chemical Garden II”

I see echoes of The Upside Down in these beautiful macro videos (and still images) showing chemical processes unfolding:

When a piece of metal salt is dropped in the solution of sodium silicate, a membrane of insoluble metal silicate is formed. Due to the osmotic pressure, water enters the membrane and breaks it, generating more insoluble membranes. This cycle repeats and the salt grows into all kinds of interesting forms. This film recorded the osmotic growth of 6 salts inside sodium silicate solution. The growth is so life-like, no wonder Stéphane Leduc thought it might have something to do with the mechanism life over 100 years ago.


[Vimeo 1 and 2]

Google researchers unveil better panorama stitching

Mike Krainin & Ce Liu go into detail about how optical flow techniques are helping Google Street View produce panoramas that are not only freer of artifacts, but easier for machines to read (producing a better understanding of business names, hours, etc.):

I wonder whether these techniques might be useful to pano-stitching in apps like Photoshop & Lightroom. I’ve passed the info their way.



Photography: Beautiful timelapse of Grand Canyon clouds

Happy Thursday.

On extremely rare days cold air is trapped in the canyon and topped by a layer of warm air, which in combination with moisture and condensation, form the phenomenon referred to as the full cloud inversion. In what resembles something between ocean waves and fast clouds, Grand Canyon is completely obscured by fog, making the visitors feel as if they are walking on clouds.


[Via Bryan Lamkin]

A trio of interesting 360º cameras

Remember Instagram hyperlapses—or if you’re nerdier, stabilization app Luma (acquired by Instagram)? Creator Alex Karpenko is back with Rylo, a $499 360º camera that promises great built-in stabilization & innovative software features. PetaPixel notes,

The second feature is called Follow, and that lets you track action with just a single tap on the app. The software will then adjust the orientation of the camera and keep the action in the frame.

Next up is Points, a feature which controls the camera’s perspective. Tapping on specific points of interest, Rylo will produce a smooth shot that “connects each of your points.”


Meanwhile Motorola has introduced the $299 moto 360 camera, a small pop-on addition to its phones that promises “360° photos and 4K video with 3D sound.” The size, immediacy of the phone connection, & ability to switch to the device’s regular cameras on the fly look pretty appealing.


Not to be left out, GoPro is introducing the Fusion, a $699 (relative) behemoth:

Its six onboard cameras can capture VR and non-VR in 5.2K resolution, with 360-degree audio. It also has an OverCapture feature that “punches out” a regular image from a spherical photo and onboard stabilization features allow for smooth capture. The Fusion works with the GoPro app and the camera is waterproof up to 16 feet.


Game on!

[YouTube 1 & 2]

DxO acquires the Nik Collection from Google

I am delighted to share this news:

DxO plans to continue development of the Nik Collection. The current version will remain available for free on DxO’s dedicated website, while a new “Nik Collection 2018 Edition” is planned for mid-next year.

“The Nik Collection gives photographers tools to create photos they absolutely love,” said Aravind Krishnaswamy, an Engineering Director with Google. “We’re thrilled to have DxO, a company dedicated to high-quality photography solutions, acquire and continue to develop it.”

DxO is already integrating Nik tech into their apps:

The new version of our flagship software DxO OpticsPro, which is available as of now under its new name DxO PhotoLab, is the first embodiment of this thrilling acquisition with built-in U Point technology (video).

Having known them as Photoshop developers, I was always a big fan of the Nik crew & their tech. (In fact, their acquisition by Google was instrumental in making me consider working here.) I wanted to acquire them at Adobe, and I was always afraid that Apple would do so & put U Point into Aperture! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The desktop plug-ins, however, were never a great fit for Google’s mobile/cloud photo strategy, and other than Analog Efex, none had been improved since 2011 (more than a year before Google acquired them). I know that Aravind Krishnaswamy (badass photog, Photoshop vet, eng manager for Google Photos) and other went many extra miles to find a good new home for the Nik Collection, and I’m really excited to see what DxO can do with it. On behalf of photographers everywhere, thanks guys!


Image science: Inside Portrait mode on the Pixel 2

If TensorFlow, PDAF pixels, and semantic segmentation sound like your kind of jam, check out this deep dive into mobile imaging from Google research lead Marc Levoy. He goes into some detail about how the team behind the new Pixel 2 trains neural network, detects depth, and synthesizes pleasing, realistic bokeh even with a single-lens device. [Update: There’s a higher-level, less technical version of the post if you’d prefer.]