concept to publication

Category: photography

Little Planets

little planets: an experiment in photography

Quoting from the site:

A peculiar sort of remapping for spherical panoramas that makes everything look like an illustration out of The Little Prince.

Basically, to make these, you have to make an equirectangular first. Your best resources for learning how are panomundo and panoguide. It’s not easy and is rarely cheap.

From there, you remap the equirectangular in one of two ways. You can resize it to a square and convert from Cartesian to polar coordinates (you can even get away with non-360 panos) or you can do a Stereographic remapping using the open-source Hugin, the GIMP Mathmap plugin, or the Photoshop shareware plugin, Flexify, then crop.

The Photoshop Wizardry of Al Qaeda

al qaeda image manipulation

A new program reveals manipulation in still photos and videos. It shows Al Qaeda images have been heavily manipulated. Story via Wired.

Red Hat Ladies

red hat society ladies

These ladies were having a great time at the Getty Center. They thought it was a hoot that I wanted to take their picture.

More L.A. photos: At Buried Mirror I’ve posted a couple of pictures of the wonderfully kitsch facade of the Mayan Theater.

The Observatory at Chichen Itza

el caracol, the observatory at chichen itza

I’m having some trouble getting my Maya materials online because there are so many of them, and there’s just so little time. So, we’ll do this one building at a time. This is “El Caracol” (“the snail,” so called in Spanish for its winding internal staircase), which is called “The Observatory” in English.

It’s not hard to see how it gets that name, because it looks a lot like a modern observatory. It’s quite unusual for a Maya building, with its round dome placed on a square base. Slits in the dome allowed viewing the sky at the cardinal and subcardinal directions. Certainly the movements of celestial objects were important to the Maya, and their astronomical reckoning was quite advanced (witness their highly accurate calendar). But I’m not sure that we can say definitively how this building was used in its particulars. As with all Maya sites, a great deal of fancy has come to surround the ruins, making it difficult to separate fancy from fact.

The earliest parts of the Observatory were probably constructed in the ninth century. The building underwent several modifications over the succeeding centuries.

Click the small image in the post to see several more images of the Observatory.


Over at Frisco Vista I’ve posted a photo of a windmill in Golden Gate Park and, for comparison, one in Bruges, Belgium.

Well, I guess I’m on a windmill kick. (After all Cervantes and I share a birthday . . . the day, not the year, smart ass!) So here’s a picture of the inside of one of the Bruges windmills:

bruge windmill workings

Puerto Morelos

puerto morelosMuch of the Maya Riviera, stretching from Cancun south beyond Playa del Carmen, is a bit of a horror show, full of giant resorts and traffic jams, and crawling with loud, lobster-red gringos. Puerto Morelos (“la joya del Caribe” — the jewel of the Caribbean), however, though just 25 kilometers or so south of Cancun, still retains — for the moment — much of its flavor as a sleepy fishing village. I’ve posted a few lazy photos on my flickr site.

The Cult of the Talking Cross

the spring of the talking crossI’m starting to put up some images from my recent trip to the Yucatan. As part of the project I’m revamping the Maya World section of my site (making it a little more autonomous, on the theory that people who are interested in the Maya aren’t necessarily equally interested in typography or publishing or gardening in the Bay Area or others of my hobby horses). Anyway, the image at left is a picture of the little spring that sustained the rebel community of the Talking Cross, the Maya band that nearly drove the non-Maya from the peninsula during the Caste War in the second half of the 19th century. (The spring is located in present-day Felipe Carrillo Puerto.) The image is part of a page I’ve put up on the Cult of the Talking Cross (the Talking Cross revolt figures in the novel that I’m currently completing).

Cenote X’Keken near Valladolid

cenote x'keken I’m just back from a trip to el mundo Maya.

This photo (click the photo — or here — for a larger view, via Flickr) was taken in very dark conditions at Cenote X’Keken near Valladolid in the Yucatan. Travelers to the Yucatan know that cenotes are sinkholes formed by water erosion through acidification of the limestone of which the peninsula is composed. Historically, cenotes were the main water source for the Yucatan Maya. Some cenotes are open like ponds, others are covered caves, like this one. This cave is entered through a tunnel. Above the water is an opening through which a small amount of light enters.

On the left is the original photo, which approaches being completely black. On the right is a fix that at least gives some sense of the cave atmosphere and the turquoise color of the water (which is cool and is used as a swimming hole; in the fix I removed some ropes that were installed as aids to swimmers).

For an explanation of this photo technique, see this post on restoring dark images.

Testing Goodwidgets Photo Stack

I coughed up my two bucks for the pro version of GoodWidget (Stack), and it works great, except I think you need to pay per stack (you can change the contents of a stack but I don’t think you can have two running without paying twice). These photos are now from a walk in Sunol Wilderness, just to check the ability to change stack contents. Click on the images to shuffle through them. Source:

Miss Turnstile

miss turnstileYeah, the title is an On the Town allusion.

The photo shown is from a series of turnstile photos by Bill Sullivan. The photos were taken as people were leaving the NYC subway.

An interesting project.

via Swiss Miss

Night Canal, Bruges, Belgium, Dec. 20, 2006

night canal

For this image from my Bruges in December 2006 photoset (click image for larger view) I lightened and brought out detail in the dark areas using the following workflow:

1. duplicate background layer
2. desaturate new layer
3. invert desaturated layer
4. gausian blur new layer (a lot)
5. change blend mode to soft light
6. adjust levels, curves, hue/saturation

This is a wonderful trick for bringing out detail in the shadow areas of underexposed photos. (BTW, I set my camera to underexpose slightly because information can be pulled out of dark areas but areas that are burnt away are just gone.)

I also sharpened using my usual method:

1. duplicate background layer
2. set blend mode to overlay
3. adjust transparency to about 55%
4. apply high pass filter

This sharpens the image in a nondestructive way, and the image stays sharp when resized.

No flash or tripod was used. The image was taken after dark (at 9:33) with an f-stop of 3.5 and an exposure of 1/8.

By the way, my flickr site is very lonely. No one is making any comments. I guess it’s not getting any visitors. 🙁

Alameda Manzanita on Sobrante Ridge

alameda manzanitaSobrante Ridge Regional Botanic Preserve, on the site of a former cattle ranch, occupies a space more or less surrounded by the suburban East Bay community of El Sobrante. I wonder how many El Sobranteans are aware that this preserve houses a beautiful rare and endangered manzanita, only found in one other location.

Bay Area biomes

Land's End, San FranciscoI’ve completed a brief survey of Bay Area plant communities over at Frisco Vista.

The Bay Area topic suits me because I’ve accumulated a bunch of photos from around the bay over the years.

Zooming in on a snowflake

I don’t have much to say about this, except it’s, well, cool.

More Bruges photos

I’ve added a bunch more photos to my flickr set of pictures of Bruges in December.

I noticed that Photoshop’s “save for web” plug-in stupidly strips out the images’ exif (camera settings) data. I think that information should always be available, so I’ve done regular manual saves on this batch. Later on I’ll replace the earlier ones that had the exif data stripped out.*

*Okay, done — I did lose some of the comments and descriptions though, so if I obliterated your comment it was unintentional.

Bruges, December 2006

bruges canal
Morning Reflections

This photo is part of a set from my trip to Bruges. Since I’m here on business I’ve only had a couple of hours to walk around. I might have some time later this week to stroll around some more, and if so I will add to this set, which can be found here:

Photos of Bruges, December 2006

Inside the Lair

Cheney residence

Wonkette alertly snagged these photos from the Official Residence of VP Dick C before the Flickr gallery was switched to “private.”

Shark’s Cove

north shore, Oahu

shark's cover facing west

shark's cove facing east

Carol rides the waves

at Kailua Beach

Kailua Carol

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