Category Archives: Photography

A mathy intro to photography from Google/Stanford’s Marc Levoy

Marc Levoy has been one of the key leaders behind Google’s recent advances in computational photography, including portrait mode & HDR+. He’s also a professor emeritus at Stanford, and in this lecture series, he offers a very thorough, technical education in digital photography—for free.

The only knowledge I assume is enough facility and comfort with mathematics that you’re not afraid to see the depth-of-field formula in all its glory, and an integral sign here or there won’t send you running for the hills. Some topics will require concepts from elementary probability and statistics (like mean and variance), but I define these concepts in lecture. I also make use of matrix algebra, but only at the level of matrix multiplication. Finally, an exposure to digital signal processing or Fourier analysis will give you a better intuition for some topics, but it is not required.

NewImage

[YouTube] [Via]

Photography: Microscopic landscapes in 4K

Drew Geraci takes us on a beautiful, 1000x-closer tour of the not-so-ordinary world:

 Drew writes,

Since I was capturing motion now everything needed to be 100% completely still. This was the hard part at 1000x magnification. I must have filmed the same sequence 10 or 20 times before I got a completely still and usable shot. The slightest vibration could easily ruin the scene.

The next challenge was lightning. Capturing video via a microscope requires a ton of light and the microscope’s light is only so powerful. Each bulb only lasted for up to 3 hours at max power before they would die. I must have gone through 8 or 9 bulbs during the course of filming (and they’re not cheap bulbs!). Because of this, I needed to rig up external lightning that could help illuminate the scene. I ended up using a small Manfrotto Lykos light which did the trick.

NewImage

NewImage

[Vimeo] [Via]

Holographic memories?

“Have you children play in well-lit places.” It’s pretty good, if wildly impractical, advice for capturing good shots of one’s kids. I think of it now seeing this tech demo and wondering if/when/how we’ll go from capturing still images to gathering holographic captures for viewing in AR and VR.

This may be less far-fetched than it seems: A pair of ordinary cellphones might be enough to capture animated 3D representations of people.

NewImage

NewImage

[YouTube]

Hypnotic photography: A murmuration of starlings

An immense, whooshing kinetic sculpture darts over the Netherlands, brought to you by thousands of beating hearts & flapping wings:

The art of flying is a short film about “murmurations”: the mysterious flights of the Common Starling. It is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. Every night the starlings gather at dusk to perform their stunning air show.

Because of the relatively warm winter of 2014/2015, the starlings stayed in the Netherlands instead of migrating southwards. This gave filmmaker Jan van IJken the opportunity to film one of the most spectacular and amazing natural phenomena on earth.

NewImage

[Vimeo] [Via]

Try three new experimental photo apps from Google

I’m excited for my teammates & their new launches. The team writes,

  • Storyboard (Android) transforms your videos into single-page comic layouts, entirely on device. Simply shoot a video and load it in Storyboard. The app automatically selects interesting video frames, lays them out, and applies one of six visual styles.
  • Selfissimo! (iOS, Android) is an automated selfie photographer that snaps a stylish black and white photo each time you pose. Tap the screen to start a photoshoot. The app encourages you to pose and captures a photo whenever you stop moving.
  • Scrubbies (iOS) lets you easily manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to produce delightful video loops… Shoot a video in the app and then remix it by scratching it like a DJ. Scrubbing with one finger plays the video. Scrubbing with two fingers captures the playback so you can save or share it.

Please take ‘em for a spin, then tell us what you think using the in-app feedback links. 

NewImage

A trippy animation made from a cathedral facade

 Animator Ismael Sanz-Pena used a single image to create this mesmerizing animation. He tells Colossal,

The idea behind the film was to find the innate movement inherit in still forms. Every sculpture has movement in it, and it is the task of the animator to discover it. It was through the process of editing my imagery that I discovered that a single image would suffice to create the animation. The film was made by zooming into the image and panning row by row while making sure that different architectural motives aligned in every increment. This also gave a structure to the film.

NewImage

[Vimeo] [Via]