I Can’t Stop Thinking About The Eclipse.

2017 Eclipse

I can’t stop thinking about the eclipse.

I thought I pretty much knew what to expect from the 2017 solar eclipse. I understood the science. I had already witnessed a few partial/annular eclipses. I’ve been anticipating the event for a few years now and had read about the sensory changes I could expect to witness. I had a few good viewing locations scoped out with choices depending on the cloud coverage or crowds we might run into that day. My 3 1/2-year-old twins had plenty of food, water, sunscreen, eclipse glasses, and excitement. We were prepared for the event. But I soon learned that nothing could prepare me for the experience.

We had a perfect location on a ridge near Muddy Mountain Wyoming that provided 360 degree views. We were away from the crowds. And most importantly it was cloudless with 2 minutes and 18 seconds of anticipated totality.

We spent an hour watching the partial eclipse and eating a picnic lunch in the shade provided by some old, scraggly, Limber Pines. Eventually, the temperature began to drop slowly. Soon our surroundings dimmed and crickets began to chirp. I found myself caught off guard by the strangeness of my environment. The landscape appeared rosy and dimmed – as if I was wearing sunglasses. My stomach flipped with anticipation and anxiety caused by the surreality of my surroundings.

Quickly, much faster than I anticipated, darkness descended on us. The disorienting passage of time was head-spinning. I took my eclipse glasses off to see if I could see the umbra race toward us from across the valley below. But it happened too quickly. It was with a ridiculous suddenness that the moon’s shadow had shrouded us. I quickly turned around and looked up and saw the eclipsed sun glowing in the sky and my brain turned inside out.

My fingers fumbled around for my camera phone and I somehow managed to capture the image above. I tried to take a video of the “sunset” that surrounded us in every direction, but I only managed to catch these three seconds. I was overwhelmed.

The corona was much more bright and lustrous than I envisioned. It shone bright white and with a jaw dropping brilliance. We were all bewildered with its beauty and absolute strangeness. To look up into the sky and see a sparkling shine, unlike anything I have ever seen in my years of looking at the heavens. To share this with my wife and children.

And then it was gone. And now I can’t stop thinking about the eclipse.

When People Are Told They’re Beautiful

You so are beautiful – lovely words for anyone to hear. Travel Photographer Mehmet Genç’s “Very Beautiful” project is a simple idea: He tells people he meets on his travels that they’re beautiful and then photographs their reactions. His images truly demonstrate transformative power of kind words. Images from the project are below. The results are sure to bring a smile to your face. You can learn a little more about each of Mehmet’s subjects on the project’s website (translated). You can also follow his travels on his Instagram.

Enhance Old Station

Zoom In. Now… Enhance! (For Real, Kinda)

The Zoom And Enhance trope has long been the ultimate criminal identification solution and a staple for crime drama television. Its use on screen is often lauded as an example of how Hollywood doesn’t understand technology. The Enhance Button trope simply ignores that the blurry focus and big blocky pixels you get when you zoom in close on an image are the only information that the picture actually contains, and attempting to extract more detail from the image alone is essentially impossible.

Enhance Old Station

Enhance Bank Lobby

However, as a proof of concept, Alex J. Champandard’s Neural Enhance coding project uses deep learning to enhance the details of images. As seen from the gifs above, if the neural networks are well trained, the enhancements are quite effective.

Thanks to deep learning and #NeuralEnhance, it’s now possible to train a neural network to zoom into your images at 2x or even 4x. You’ll get even better results by increasing the number of neurons or training with a dataset similar to your low-resolution image. The catch? The neural network is hallucinating details based on its training from example images. It’s not reconstructing your photo exactly as it would have been if it was HD. That’s only possible in Holywood — but using deep learning as “Creative AI” works and it’s just as cool!

Now let’s vector in and enlarge the z-axis.

via prosthetic knowledge

Focal Length

The Camera Really Can Add Ten Pounds

Focal Length

It is commonly thought that the cameras can make you look heavier than you actually are. Dan Vojtech posted this gif on his blog that effectively shows how drastically the focal length of a lens can affect a subject’s shape, and thus its perceived weight.

To frame the face the same in each shot, the camera is close with the wide angle lens and farther away with the telephoto lens, so the GIF above shows what’s known as the “Hitchcock zoom” (or dolly zoom).

Benoit Paillé’s LSD Photos

I have been a fan of Benoit Paillé’s ever since seeing his series on the Rainbow Gatherings a few years back (Photography at Rainbow Family gatherings is typically frowned upon). But I had somehow missed this great set. Benoit Paillé explains it as such:

After taking LSD. I lighting up a candle in the middle of the wood and during the exposure, i make a meditation about the holism of nature surrounding me. Feeling the crystal vibration irradiating from the center of the Gaia mother earth. So in this picture i try to show you the magic,sacred metaphysical quality of the nature and new age bullshiting you .

As always, click for Hi-Res.
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Little Planet

24 Hour 360 Degree Little Planet

Visualizing an entire day on a single photo, photographer Chris Kotsiopoloulos captured this amazing stereographic projection in Sounio, Greece. The photo consists of hundreds of photos, taken during a mammoth 30-hour photo shoot, digitally stitched together to represent an entire rotation of the Earth. Images taken at night compose the bottom half of the picture, with star trails lasting as long as 11 hours. Contrasting, images taken during the day compose the top of the image, with the Sun being captured once every 15 minutes.

Little Planet

Chris Kotsiopoloulos has also provided a detailed tutorial on how this picture was made.
Via Colossal