August 26th, 2012 Steve
I think this is possibly the longest I’ve gone without writing a blog post, but hey, I’ve had other things on my mind recently! Photography-wise things have been a little quiet as I prepare for my wedding – no time really for heading out and about with my camera. I’ve also had a bit of a downsize with regards to my camera collection, and especially my 3D photography paraphernalia (glasses and the like) as there are bits and bobs that I haven’t used for ages and realistically might not be using again for a while.
The most common question I’m asked about my wedding is who will be doing the photos. No question – it has to be Tom Dauben – a great friend and good photo walk companion. However, I can’t cope with going to a wedding and not doing something photographic…so I’m setting up a time-lapse of the venue from the setting up through until when we leave.
Wedding planning is calling me…only a week to go!
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January 10th, 2012 Steve
Just over 2 years ago I decided to make a foray into the world of 3d photography…and what a journey it’s been over the last couple of years, including:
So it may come as a bit of a surprise to some of you that I’ve decided to take a break from 3d. It’s just not advancing at the speed that I thought it would, and actually I don’t think 3d is appropriate in all situations. Certainly at weddings I’ve just found it to be a bit of a distraction to have my 3d camera with me, and actually, I’m not convinced that 3d photos give much more than standard wedding photos. Couple this with the fact that you have to be close to your subject to get the best 3d effect, it’s all a bit intrusive for not much gain. 3d doesn’t work particularly well for landscape photos, and I don’t really do much in the way of portrait or still life work…so it’s kind of the end of the 3d journey for me.
I definitely think that 3d video is going to be big (well, it’s already getting that way), but I’m going to bow out of the 3d photography world for now. Keep an eye on eBay in the coming weeks for a Fujifilm W1, and do bid for it (if you haven’t been put off by the previous paragraph!)
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February 17th, 2011 Steve
The second upgrade to this website in 2011 is the addition of shopping basket functionality. You can now order 3d glasses from me, and order lenticular prints of some of my 3d images (which don’t require glasses in order to see the 3d effect). Unfortunately I can only offer prints of the later 3d images that I’ve taken, as this is when I started taking a new type of 3d images. However, this is the type of 3d that I’ll now be predominantly shooting in, so the number of images to choose from will start to increase.
Is there anything else that you might be interested in buying from the site? If people are interested, I’ll start selling prints of some of my other photos, and I have plans for a 2012 calendar.
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February 16th, 2011 Steve
At one of the first weddings that I tried taking some 3d photos, I was having a chat to some of the guests about 3d photography and why I was excited. It was only after I had been chatting for 10 minutes about how great 3d is, that one of the guests pointed out that he was blind in one eye, so 3d is lost on him. Since then, I’ve been thinking about photography (in particular 3d photography) for partially sighted/blind people. Last year I picked up on some news about a man who can ‘see’ with his tongue
At a recent visit to the V&A museum, I was interested to see some photos by blind and partially sighted visitors. The way they were presented was great – they were in binders (ok, nothing special there), but half of the binder was standard photos and text with the other half being braille and tactile images. When I got home, I searched online to find out more about blind photographers, and found an inspirational photographer called Pete Eckert. The phrase that stood out for me in his own words is:
I am a visual person. I just can’t see
This, combined with the tactile prints that I had felt in the V&A got me thinking. With 3d photography, because images are taken from two angles on the same scene, it is possible to calculate the distance of every object from the camera. Computer vision software could then build an internal map of the subject of the photograph. Still with me and my crazy ideas? Good. With the recent reduction in the cost of 3d printers (3d as in plastic model rather than 3d as in lenticular print), the photo could then be printed as a profile print. Obviously the depth of field would need to be reduced to avoid having a ‘print’ that’s several feet thick. Would it work? I can’t guarantee it, but it’s an idea that could make photography more accessible.
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January 15th, 2011 Steve
Today I went to the Tate Britain for the first time. I’m more of a Tate Modern kind of guy normally, but the Eadweard Muybridge exhibition that was on was too good an opportunity to miss. Now Muybridge is probably most famous for his animal locomotion work, in which he devised “high speed” photographic mechanisms for capturing stills of split-second action…thus proving that a horses hooves do all leave the ground when galloping. He also did some great stuff with regards to projecting these sequences of photographs into a moving image (inventing the zoopraxiscope…a word to remember when playing Scrabble next!)…and all over 100 years ago. To a lot of visitors, that was probably the most interesting part of the exhibition. To me? Well, I know that it’s all important stuff and laid the groundwork for a lot of what we take for granted these days in photography and cinematography, but there were other aspects that were more interesting.
Muybridge was a master of self-promotion, and would stop at nothing to ensure his early photographs stood out. In the 1860s, he wanted his photos of Yosemite Valley in California to be different from those that had been taken previously, so he shot them as stereographic images. 140 years on, I’m doing a similar thing. Am I potentially flogging a dead horse…? Hmm…in any case, it was interesting to see some of his results. There were lots of stereoscopic images to look at and it was certainly an advantage to be able to see them in 3d without glasses, as not all of them had stereoscopic glasses to accompany them! One of the other areas of interest in the 3d space was that of taking images from multiple angles at exactly the same time. Muybridge did this so that his work may be of use for future artists. Well…it’s taken a while, but some of the holographic 3d technology that’s just coming through relies on exactly that technique. This guy was truly thinking ahead!
Skipping over the part where he was acquitted of killing his wife’s lover because the jury thought that was a justifiable murder, it’s interesting seeing how far photography has come since his time:
- Long exposures were the norm, which led to the sky often being over-exposed. Therefore it was common to replace the sky in one image with the sky from another image. This practice is still relatively common these days – think HDR and digital editing
- When trees got in the way of some of Muybridge’s photos, or weren’t quite right for the composition, he chopped them down. Nowadays people don’t quite go to that length, but the clone tool in Photoshop, GIMP or other digital image editing tools does exactly the same job.
- Muybridge took several panorama shots of San Francisco, taking up to 6 hours to photograph. Every frame had to be manually lined up exactly and correctly exposed, then the next plate put in place. The same can be done with Android or iPhone apps these days in seconds
All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It certainly makes me realise how fortunate I am as a photographer in the 21st century as all of the groundwork was done so many years ago.
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January 9th, 2011 Steve
Yesterday a good friend of mine wrote a blog post on a subject that I am rather familiar with, but claimed that 3d will never catch on. Here are my counter-arguments, as even though I’ve become a little disillusioned with 3d, I still think it has a lot of potential.
The first paragraph of Tim’s post is all about how cool the 3d glasses are in the cinema – the fact that they are black shades. Well, he obviously hasn’t read the last post that I did about 3d back in December where I stated (and I still stand by my opinion) that 3d glasses will never be cool. The ones that they give you in the cinema when seeing a RealD 3d film are in a particularly revolting style – they have to be because they are circularly polarised glasses, so the lens has to be flat. I will give one concession to 3d glasses, and that is that the active shutter glasses that go with a lot of 3d tvs to have some cool technology in them…however in the last week at CES 2011 (Consumer Electronics Show), LG have announced that they’re going to focus more on the passive 3d glasses (i.e. have the technology within the tv). But enough about the glasses…!
Tim gives a fleeting acknowledgement to smartphones in 3d, saying that it’s slightly ridiculous. I’m inclined to partially agree for now…but that’s only because 3d content is lacking at the moment.
The main crux of Tim’s post is that despite Gulliver’s Travels being a terrible film, its redeeming feature was that it was in 3d. I find this really surprising. I’ve seen several films in 3d now, and the only two where 3d was used well were Avatar and Toy Story 3. Other films seem to be trying to jump on the bandwagon of 3d without working out why (aside from the fact they can charge more at the cinema…or is that me being cynical). I think that 3d in the cinema has been a great tool for improving the public’s perception and understanding of 3d. Basically it’s mission has been to say:
3d is back…but this time we have the technology to support it.
It’s achieved that I think. However I don’t think that it’s in films where 3d is at its best. I don’t think it’s in new 3d laptops that are being developed (although I’ll be willing to eat my words should an operating system utilise 3d properly…I’m still waiting to see how it will work alongside the current craze for touchscreens…). Where I think it is at its best is in photography. Not just any old photography though – I think that 3d is at its best in people photography or event photography. Nothing immerses you back into a memory in the way that a 3d photograph does (apart from maybe music, but that’s a different discussion…).
So, I think that 3d will catch on…maybe not very quickly…but I don’t see 3d glasses as the reason!
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December 8th, 2010 Steve
Warning – this post contains a rant.
Back in September, Oakley revealed that they were producing some 3d glasses. Despite geek chic being the thing these days, existing options for 3d glasses were very reminiscent of the 1970s geek look, so there’s probably a market for vaguely non-ugly 3d glasses. Then last month, Gucci revealed that they were getting in on the act with 3d glasses. Within a week, Calvin Klein had revealed their 3d glasses. I guess they’re all a slight improvement on the glasses of the 70s, but seriously though, 3d glasses are not cool. They never have been and they never will be.
I then saw news today that made me want to burn all 3d glasses. Teeny bopper Justin Bieber has his own branded 3d glasses. And they’re purple. WHY?!?!
In my mind, this is verging on insanity – why would people choose to buy 3d glasses at extortionate prices, when just around the corner there is the promise of glasses-less 3d photos and TVs – in fact they’re here already! The only reason that I sell my stereoscopic and red/cyan glasses is as a stop-gap while the glasses-less technology comes down in price.
I’m going to sit in the corner of the room now, rocking backwards and forwards and mumbling incoherently.
Posted in 3d, Photography | 2 Comments »
October 29th, 2010 Steve
I’m the proud owner of a Fujifilm W1 3d camera, that produces .mpo format 3d images. It comes with its own software bundle for Windows and Mac…I use Ubuntu. So, I’ve written a little bash script to help extract the .mpo format into something more useful for my standard image-processing workflow. It relies on ImageMagick and ExifTool, then I use AnaBuilder to further play with the anaglyph images it creates.
sudo apt-get install imagemagick
sudo apt-get install libimage-exiftool-perl
Thanks to the 3d photography blog for getting me started with the exiftool commands. I’ll put in my standard caveat: the code below is probably sub-optimal, but it works for me.
for img in *.mpo
echo " splitting " $img;
# create temporary left and right images
exiftool -trailer:all= $img -o $imgName"_L.jpg"
exiftool $img -mpimage2 -b > $imgName"_R.jpg"
echo " combining left and right for " $imgName;
# create stereo image
convert $imgName"_L.jpg" $imgName"_R.jpg" +append $imgName"-stereo.jpg"
# create red-blue image and resize it for anaBuilder (x dimension of 2000 pixels)
composite -stereo 0 $imgName"_L.jpg" $imgName"_R.jpg" $imgName"-redbluetmp.jpg"
# extract the dimensions of the image
pixelX=$(identify $imgName"-redbluetmp.jpg" | sed 's/^.*JPEG \(.*\)x.*$/\1/' | cut -d' ' -f2);
pixelY=$(identify $imgName"-redbluetmp.jpg" | sed 's/^.*x\(.*\)+.*$/\1/' | cut -d'+' -f1);
if [ $pixelX -gt $pixelY ] ; then
tempsize=`echo "scale=4; 2000/$pixelX" | bc`;
tempsize=`echo "scale=4; 2000/$pixelY" | bc`;
size=`echo "scale=4; $tempsize*100" | bc`;
convert $imgName"-redbluetmp.jpg" -resize $size% $imgName"-redblue.jpg"
# remove the temporary images
echo " removing temporary images"
Posted in 3d, Cameras, Photography, Software | No Comments »
October 29th, 2010 Steve
Finally, after months of talking about the Fujifilm W1, I am the proud owner of one! I finally have the means to take a 3d photo in landscape format and I can zoom too! I haven’t had time to properly test it out, but I’ve had a little bit of a play with it.
To be totally honest, I was a bit disappointed with it – for a start it’s quite clunky, and one of the least ergonomic cameras I’ve ever used. The menu is also not particularly intuitive, and yes, I know we like 3d and it’s a 3d camera, but does the menu really have to have a 3d effect? I like the ability to alter the parallax…but was disappointed to realise that it’s actually just software that’s altering how the two images are overlaid, not the lenses moving. All of that sounds a bit negative – I have to admit it has given me much more capability than my Loreo lenses, but it’s not quite the ground-breaking leap that I had been foolish enough to expect.
I’ve uploaded a gallery of the photos that I took (they’re not my best work!)
Posted in 3d, Cameras, Photography, Software | 1 Comment »
September 23rd, 2010 Steve
What is this? Am I abandoning 3d? Nope, but I am getting rid of one of my trusty Loreo lenses; the one that’s a Canon FD fit.
But why would I depart with it? Well, it was the first 3d lens that I bought, and it was this lens that got me into 3d photography in the first place. It was a trusty piece of kit for a few 3d weddings that I shot; so good in fact that I bought an identical lens, but for my Nikon DSLR. I’ve tried to justify to myself why I have both, but I can’t find any good reason – the funds raised by selling this will go towards me buying one of the Fujifilm 3d cameras.
So, if anyone is interested in purchasing this lens, it’s currently on eBay with a starting price of £20, and no reserve. Considering I originally bought it for £90, I think this is a bargain!
Buy my 3d loreo lens to fit Canon FD mount
Posted in 3d, Hardware, Photography | 2 Comments »