Why did the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland create so much ash? Although the large ash plume was not unparalleled in its abundance, its location was particularly noticeable because it drifted across such well populated areas. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland began erupting on March 20, with a second eruption starting under the center of a small glacier on April 14. Neither eruption was unusually powerful. The second eruption, however, melted a large amount of glacial ice which then cooled and fragmented lava into gritty glass particles that were carried up with the rising volcanic plume. Pictured above two days ago, lightning bolts illuminate ash pouring out of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.
A group efford by Kolor, Arnaud Frich Photography, and Extraordinair-Urban robs former champion 360Cities of their “World’s Largest Panorama” title with a new massive 26-Gigapixel interactive panoram of Paris. No normal camera could capture the detail they needed, so they constructed a custom rig:
Paris 26 Gigapixels was shot with very unique hardware: 2 Canon 5D Mark II (21.1 MP) each with a 300 mm f4.0 with a tele converter in order to get a 600mm /f8.0 needed to beat the record, mounted on a custom-made panoramic head.
The images were then stitched with the program Autopano Giga.
Browse around with the mouse and keyboard and marvel at the detail they’ve captured. My favorite find so far is that you can actually see the individual people on the upper level of the Notre Dame Cathedral.
A bachelor thesis from Pasha Kuliyev of the Department of Imaging Sciences and Media Technology University of Applied Sciences Cologne focuses of the various methods of acquiring HDRI images and gets into incredible mathematical and physical detail on the various benefits and problems with each method. From the abstract:
In many industrial and advertising applications today three dimensional graphics play a major role in enabling cost effective production workflows. One of the major research areas in the field of computer generated imagery for the last two decades has been photorealistic synthetic lighting of virtual objects. As affordable processing power became available more complex synthetic lighting models could be developed. one of the ese models derives lighting information of a real-world environment from specially processed photographs. In this thesis, two photographic techniques are presented and compared to the third, commercial one in terms of image quality, acquisition time, image processing time and costs.
He compares Mirrored ball acquisition, Fisheye lens acquisition, and the Spherocam HDR product. All of the math behind HDRi imagery is included in detail, and toward the end of his these (page 79) he includes this great flow-chart (shown right) detailing the process required for each technique.
A coworker of mine sends us a link to this spectacular time-lapse extended-exposure video of the skies of Hawaii, where you can plainly see the bands of the Milky Way galaxy pass by overhead. Difficult to see with the naked eye, the long-exposure (15s) is the key to bringing it to life.
- Location: Mauna Kea, Hawai'i
- Camera: 5D MK2
- Lenses: Tokina ATX-116
- Sigma 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye
- EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
- EF 24-105mm f/4L
- EF 17-40mm f/4L
- Music: “That Is Why I Am On This Porch” from the movie
- “The Village” composed by James Newton Howard
All night scenes were shot with ISO6400, 30 sec exposure, 15 sec interval and on f2.8 lenses (except from 0:34 to 0:43, which was shot with a f4 lens)
Wired’s Geekdad has a collection of 20 fun and geeky images captured by satellite and visible in everyone’s favorite map viewer Google Maps. Ranging from air force bases and the GooglePlex itself to crop designs and herds of animals, it’s a great collection.
Space is full of images that make a geek’s heart flutter. But how about when we point those cameras back down at us on Earth?
Google Earth has created a treasure trove of geeky images. Here are some of my favorites
Hit his site for pictures and links directly to the map locations.
Apple brought their online store down this morning, and the first new thing to appear on the site is the release of Aperture 3, “Pro performance with iPhoto simplicity”.
- Full-screen Pr0ject & Browser
- Snap to Edge
- Expanded EXIF data
- Improved support for RAW+JPEG
- Face support, similar to iPhoto`09
- Places support, similar to iPhoto`09
- Facebook & Flickr integration
- Video Support
- much much more..
Get the full details on Apple’s site, but there is a good review on MacWorld. Are you an Aperture user? Do you plan to upgrade?
Here’s todays Pixels:
- Quick Tips: How to get better control without “Particular” Emitters in After Effects
- How to create a Serene Panorama from Multiple Photographs in PhotoShop
- Color Correcting Canon 7D Footage
- Abduzeedo Tuesday Total Textures
- 50 Landscapes & Scenery Photo Manipulations
- Picasso’s Guernica in 3D
- 50 Outstanding Adobe Illustrator Tutorials
- 392 Cool Photoshop Gradients
Petavoxel broke out his Olympus FE-26 12-megapixel camera and took a picture of the beautiful snow, and found the resulting image.. Well, it’s crap, just plain crap. He took it upon himself to deal what might be the best blow against the ‘megapixel wars’ underway amongst low-end point-and-shoot camera providers, complete with some detailed math and optical physics.
So, is Olympus just the crappiest manufacturer ever? Well, I will concede that the lens on this camera seems to be particularly poor. Look at that crazy color fringing!
But when it comes to the smudgy lack of detail, the problem is the same as with every other compact camera today—too many pixels.
The FE-26 is a “12 megapixel” model (actually it’s more like 11.8 Mp) using a 1/2.33″ sensor. This means each pixel is about 1.5 microns wide. When pixels are that small, the random difference in photon counts between adjacent pixels can add quite a bit of noise to the image. To solve this, the camera’s processor chip applies a noise-suppressing algorithm, which unfortunately smears out all the fine detail and texture in the scene.
Admittedly, different camera companies can be more or less clever about their noise-reduction processing. This one looks especially bad, but it nicely illustrates the kinds of artifacts that can result.
But what’s clear is that the surplus megapixels of this camera are certainly not delivering additional image detail. And as you increase the ISO or stop down the lens, quality will only get worse.
As I discussed last time, 1.5 micron pixels are always going to struggle with diffraction blur. The theoretical minimum size for a light spot focused by an f/3.7 lens is 5 microns. Stopping down the lens makes the diffraction blur larger.
Read the full story, and more examples, at his blog.
Back in the 18th century, Charles Messier was hunting comets. He was frustrated by objects that resembled the comets he was hunting, but were obviously something else. He then catalogued these objects so that they would not be confused with comets. M81 is the 81st object in his list, and was originally discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774. M81 is a beautiful spiral galaxy that is about 12 million light years distant from Earth. It is located in the constellation Ursa Major. Today, the Hubble Space Telescope released the best image of this galaxy ever taken. The image is so sharp, that you can even see the individual stars in the galaxy.
The sharpest image ever taken of the large “grand design” spiral galaxy M81 is being released today at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A spiral-shaped system of stars, dust, and gas clouds, the galaxy’s arms wind all the way down into the nucleus. Though the galaxy is located 11.6 million light-years away, the Hubble Space Telescope’s view is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas. The Hubble data was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in 2004 through 2006. This colour composite was assembled from images taken in blue, visible, and infrared light.
Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA). Acknowledgment: A. Zezas and J. Huchra (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
The massive image has a resolution of 22,620 x 15,200. That is over 343 million pixels. Just for the sake of comparison, the Texas Advanced Computing Center has a tiled display that is 307 million pixels. You can download the Tiff file, which comes in at approximately 690 MB, or the large Jpeg file at a mere 345 MB. I downloaded the Jpeg file, which took about 15 minutes.
360Cities has published what they think might be the World’s Largest Spherical Panoramic image, an 18 Gigapixel Photo from the top of the TV Tower in Prague.
This image was shot on October 3, 2009. It is made from hundreds of individual photographs and stitched together into a single seamless panoramic image.
We have put the entire image, in full resolution, online for everyone to see. It’s possible to zoom in to an incredible level of detail.
In addition they’re having a contest. Follow their clues to find the hidden treasure in the image, and win $100.