Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Rajiv Halim Quintet Playing at Isthmus Jazz Festival

Jazz on a spring night -- Isthmus Jazz Festival Friday, Memorial Union Terrace.

View Large to scroll through image.

Blanding's Turtle at Pheasant Branch

Blanding's Turtle at Pheasant Branch Conservancy
At least I think it's the endangered Blanding's Turtle. Spotted late afternoon near the base of Frederick's Hill, Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton. If anyone knows for sure, please leave a note in the comments. Thanks.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Summertime Is Library Time

Summertime Is Library Time
Time for reading and dreaming, surrounded by books. Sequoya Branch, Madison Public Library.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Black Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail
Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison.

Ways of seeing with Autostitch

Ways of Seeing with Autostitch
Both of these pictures of Wingra Boats were shot and processed with the Autostitch app on an iPhone 4. Each is stitched together from the same 12 exposures. Autostitch saves a full resolution version of each picture and you can choose later how to process them. Unlike some other panorama apps, you don't have to shoot in one direction, or line the shots up in a line. However you compose your panorama or mosaic, as long as there is some overlap between the shots, the software will stitch them together. It's an amazing creative tool, especially for a humble cell phone.

The top image was rendered at the highest resolution setting and with blending set to "best." Among other things, it's a great way to get a really high-res photo on an iPhone. And even if you crop in to a square or rectangle (which you can do in the app), you can still get an image close to that of a super wide angle lens on a DSLR.

Ways of Seeing with AutostitchIn contrast, this image was rendered at a lower resolution, suitable for emailing or uploading over a cell phone connection (it's also much faster). It was also rendered with no blending (which can be done at any resolution), to give it more of the feeling of a collage.

 In short, Autostitch is a flexible tool that can be used in many different ways. Some people just use it to made very long, thin, wide panoramas. I'm not as fond of them, because it's hard to display them well in print form unless you go to very large prints, expensive to make and frame. For myself, I prefer to think of it as a cubist tool to fill a standard frame size in a more graphic and interesting way than the single point of view of what one lens sees in one exposure.

 At least until I get tired of it and a single frame starts to seem like a novelty again.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Far above Witches' Gulch the dappled sunlight filters through distant trees

Witches' Gulch
Wisconsin Dells is crowded in the summer and heavily built up with water parks, rides and other tourist attractions. It's mobbed with vacationers. But much of the land along the Wisconsin River itself is owned by the state and is part of the Dells of the Wisconsin River state natural area, and you don't have to go far to leave the tourists far behind. Witches' Gulch is an example, almost other-wordly in the beauty of its steep rock faces and sunlight filtering in from the trees above.

Battered alien craft comes to rest after long journey near its destination, Dr. Evermor's Forevertron

Battered Alien Craft Comes to Rest Near Its Destination, Dr. Evermor's Forevertron

Still from Unmade Movie: Scorched from its flaming entry through the atmosphere, this spherical alien spacecraft came to rest in a field near its destination, the Forevertron of Dr. Evermor. Inside, the weary crew looked out the windows at their target and went through a final checklist of their battle plan. If they could seize the Forevertron, world domination would be theirs -- forever. Only one person stood in their way, Dr. Evermor himself...

Unfortunately, this stirring epic about the fate of the earth was never made. Work on the film stopped suddenly after producers completed this single set on location just off Hwy 12 between Sauk City and Baraboo. Funding mysteriously collapsed at the last minute. Rumor has it that Gov. Scott Walker turned down critical funds necessary for the financing. "There's no money, we're broke," sources reveal he said before leaving the state to raise more money for his recall campaign.

What if the two roads are just an illusion?

What If the Two Roads Are an Illusion? What If There's Really Just One Road?

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
              -- Robert Frost

What if there's really just one road? I was making a panorama with the iPhone at Olbrich Botanical Gardens when I accidentally shot one frame twice. The Pano app dutifully repeated it when stitching the panorama, accidentally creating a metaphor for something or other.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day 2012

The Clarence Kailin Chapter of Veterans for Peace Memorial Mile, Olbrich Park, Madison.

Click on Original Size to scroll through the image.

Reading by the lake

Reading by the Lake
Lake Wingra, Madison, back of Edgewood College.

Human cloning as a means of maximizing bratwurst consumption

Human Cloning As a Means of Maximizing Bratwurst Consumption
Seems to be what the gentleman in the middle did, since there are three of him -- World's Largest Brat Fest, Willow Island, Madison.

Symphony of Summer Color

Symphony of Summer Color

Wingra Boats, Madison, which started its regular all-week-long summer hours this Memorial Day weekend.

Photographed with an iPhone 4 using the Autostitch app, which combines multiple exposures into a panorama. It has some advantages over many other pano apps. Unlike Pano and DMD, for example, you don't have to shoot from left to right, and you don't have to hold your phone in a certain way. And best of all, it can export high res images up to 18 Mb. This is a 5598x1786-pixel file, which seems astonishing, given that it's all coming from a cell phone. I could have made it bigger, but processing and rendering time go up in proprtion to the number of shots and desired file size.

To check out how much detail is contained in the file, click this link to the original size and scroll around. (Note the paddle boards and kayaks out on the lake.)

PS: I like jagged borders like this on panoramas, but if you prefer your photos rectilinear, you can line up your Autostitch images that way and crop to your preference.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Carnival rides, music, more bratwurst than you'll see in one place anywhere in the world and even a Wienermobile

Long Day at the Meat Carnival
It's hard to convey what that giant party at Willow Island is like in a single photo, so I put together these panoramas into a mosaic. The crowds at the World's Largest Brat Fest had thinned quite a bit by the time I stopped by, but they were still going strong, aiming for another world record.