Weekly Photo Challenge: Transitions

This is a wide open topic since almost everything that we experience that is noteworthy is related to transitions, whether it be those that are in nature or in the environment around us, or whether it be those that we experience in our own lives.  Transitions can be abrupt or they can be gradual.  Sometimes they are of a subtle nature and not obvious until it has happened.

But I also cannot help thinking that almost everything that most of us already tend to talk about in our blogs tends to be about changes and transitions!  So, I was not too successful in trying to find my own unique take on this subject. But I thought I would present something anyway.

The first picture is of a sunrise over the water.  You can barely make out the transition from land to water.  There are more transitions underway in this picture.

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This second picture is also of a sunrise, but is taken from inside an aircraft, over the wing of the aircraft.  Besides the transition from night into day, there is the transition between the aircraft and the sky and then the transitions between the land and the sky and the different layers of color in the sky.

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The third picture shows an abrupt transition of clouds in the sky.  This picture was taken near sunset.  There is no subtlety in the nature of this transition in the big picture.

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I made an argument in an early blog that while some changes (or transitions) seem to be abrupt (or digital), life is truly experienced in a gradual (or analog) manner.  I wonder if there are any folks who will agree with me.

See other submissions in this theme at this site.

Revolutionary Camera Technologies?

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(Source – pixabay.com, used under CCO license.)

I saw the following article on the online magazine Wired recently.

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/panasonic-cameras-get-a-shoot-now-and-focus-later-feature/

Panasonic has introduced a feature in some existing cameras via a software download that lets you take a single picture at multiple focal points almost simultaneously so that the person can pick a desired focal point for presentation to the viewer after the fact.  Some existing cameras have had this kind of a feature in the sense of taking a picture at a few (two or three) focal lengths one after another, but this Panasonic feature apparently takes this kind of capability to the next level.  Indeed, what is needed in existing cameras to implement this kind of a feature is plenty of speed and a lot of storage.

I somehow feel that this is a half-baked solution to a very interesting problem of capturing pictures in their truest form so that they are suitable for post-processing to any desired set of parameters for presentation.  In fact, this is the technology that will eventually revolutionize the field of photography and allow even devices like smartphones to take pictures that in presentation will far superior to those generated from traditional cameras.  They will allow a much greater level of creativity than with the existing optical technology.

Welcome to the field of plenoptic  or light-field technology!  There are experiments in this realm that are still not completely mature or suitable for use by consumers at this time, but I think that something along these lines will be coming some time in the future.

http://petapixel.com/2010/09/23/the-first-plenoptic-camera-on-the-market/

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/lytro-refocuses-to-create-a-groundbreaking-vr-camera/

And then there is Wavefront coding….

Perhaps I was very naive about what it was all about when I took up photography, but years of experience have taught me that this hobby is not just about capturing the image as seen by an observer.   It is about creating the visual and mental impact that you desire with the picture that you present. Towards this goal, today, you end up using all kinds of technology in the camera, and outside of it in post-processing, to create the impact that one wants.  Even the most basic picture that you see today has probably undergone some kind of “processing”, either optically, or electronically, or in software.  What we call artistry is trying to use the technology that is available to us, be it the simple paint-brushes, or the cameras, or the electronic devices, or the software, to create the impact we wish.    Of course, we will always argue about the amount of “reality” in the product that is being produced based on the amount of creativity that is used in the presentation, but I think it is becoming more and more an argument about the degree of processing, not about the presence or absence of processing.

When you look at the possibility of new technologies emerging for capturing images, and then this technology becoming a part of the mainstream, such events will actually open up the field of photography to new techniques for artistry in picture presentations.  We will have a new generation of artists using newly invented image capturing and processing devices and techniques who will call themselves photographers, who will have no concept of what photography meant to the pioneers in this field.  Photoshopping is just the beginning.  Even the term “camera” may become passe.  Analog cameras anybody?!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

I call this one Larry, Curly and Moe.

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This picture was taken soon after.  I am not sure if they are the same birds.  (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)

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Moving on to a different kind of theme, here are two pictures from an airport in the US. (Guess which one!)

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And finally there is this pair for sentimental reasons.  Love you guys!Trio

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Submitted for this week’s challenge.

 

 

 

When local government fails the common man

Here is what the local government in Washington DC did to one of its residents who was in trouble.  Instead of trying to help, they took advantage of the situation and made money off his woes.  Apparently stuff like this happens regularly.  They are preying on the powerless.

http://wpo.st/9x2q0

Playing with the Autumn Light

I was sitting in my car under the trees on a sunny autumn afternoon having my lunch and listening to the radio when a gust of wind blew down a bunch of colorful leaves on to the windshield of the car.  The light from the sun fell on to the leaves at an angle the left them practically glowing.  The impact was something I wanted to try to capture, but unfortunately I did not have my camera with me.  I grabbed a few of the leaves and took them home with me.

The sun was shining brightly through the windows in the front of the house the next morning.  The angle seemed just right to try to try to capture the effect I had seen the previous day.  Here is what I saw.  Hope it is effective!

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Battery Technoglogies

A while back I wrote about technologies being worked on for regenerating and saving energy that would otherwise be wasted.  This is the way hybrid vehicles work, and this is the way that the London Underground is experimenting with powering an underground station, using the energy regenerated when trains brake to come to a stop in a station.

At that time I pointed out that one of the major issues with using regenerated energy was the need to store the energy for later use.  Batteries that are used to store electric energy today simply do not do a good enough job when it comes to saving significant amounts of energy efficiently for long periods of time.  This is one of the reasons that solar systems that are used to power homes in the US today do not in general use battery storage.  Instead of capturing the excess energy that is generated during the day in batteries and then powering the home from the stored batteries during the night, these systems send the excess power back into the electric grid during the day, and draw power from the grid during the night.

It turns out that that there is actually quite a bit of work going on regarding new battery technologies.  A lot of this work is in the R&D stage.  I came upon an article recently about one such company.  As could be expected with some R&D work, this technology seems to have been given birth to in a university setting.  The more I read about the technology at that company’s website, the more fascinated I became.  There is quite a bit of innovation going on, and it is only a matter of time and investment before new technologies with far greater potential (no pun intended!) than today’s batteries will become real.  From the perspective of this particular company, such improvement in performance can be powered by a fundamental change in the way in which the layout of the battery takes place. It involves thinking about the layout of the anode and the cathode for the battery in a true 3D sense rather than the traditional 2D manner.  This kind of a layout is facilitated by newer technologies that were not available in the past, but that are more common today (think nanotechnologies!).

All of this made me interested in further investigating the playing field of battery technologies, and I came upon a few articles, some of them not that recent.

https://gigaom.com/2013/01/14/13-battery-startups-to-watch-in-2013/

There is much other work going on in battery technology, some of it along more conventional lines.  A lot of this work is motivated by real needs of today’s existing infrastructure, and also by other newer areas of development, including the ongoing emergence of the electric powered automobile as a real consumer product.

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/15/27-battery-storage-companies-watch/

What we will have to remember when some of these technologies mature is that unless they are used in the right context, they are likely to create additional problems that will need to be addressed and solved.  If quick recharging of high capacity batteries from the electric grid becomes a common need, the grid itself will have to change.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Autumn Treats

Something crazy happens to me every autumn season.  It usually happens when the colors of the leaves on the trees are changing, when the leaves begin to fall to the ground.  I am so taken in by the change that is going on that I start taking plenty of of pictures.  It does not matter that I have gone through a similar experience of autumn many times over many years. It does not matter that I have taken pictures of the changing scene almost every year.  It does not matter that I am actually seeing all of this change in the area around my home, so that it is more than likely not a new experience.  It does not matter that I tell myself that I have seen and done this stuff before, and that there is probably nothing new for me to record.

The craziness manifests itself in ways that are unique to the season.  I end up placing my camera in the car where ever I happen to be going during the daytime, regardless of the purpose of my trip.  I end up taking trips into the countryside and driving the lightly traveled country roads around me for hours looking for the fall colors.  I end up stopping the car in potentially dangerous spots beside the roads and stepping out to take pictures, perhaps even stepping into the center of the road if the probabilities seems to be in my favor.  I end up making U-turns in my car to return to the spot on the roadway where I saw something that caught my attention.  I end up walking around trying to find just the right angle so that the sun lights up the trees in a manner that accentuates the colors of the leaves that are dying.  I end up waiting patiently for the clouds that are drifting past the sun to get out of the way so that the trees are lit up just right.  And all of this happened to me once again this year!

And it turns out that I still continue to enjoy looking at the new pictures I am taking. But even among these pictures there are some that present a special treat to me.  There is something about the way these pictures effect my state of mind.  Take a look at some examples.

I was driving out of my neighborhood when I came upon a scene that caused me to stop the car right there on the road.  I had to step out of the car and wait for just the right moment for the swiftly moving clouds behind me to get out of the way before I was able to take this picture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI usually run my loops from home beside Seneca lake with the minimum load I can carry.  But knowing that the time was right, I had carried my camera in my backpack while running on this particular day even though the added weight increased the level of effort needed.  I was rewarded by this sight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen this was what I saw while I was driving to different points on the C&O canal to experience the fall colors.  I wonder if she was using water colors!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, this one was closer to home on the road leading out of the neighborhood.  The splash of color caught my immediate attention.

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