On January 15, 1885, a Vermont farmer named Wilson A. Bentley combined a bellows camera and a microscope and became the first to photograph the beauty of snowflakes with what become known as photomicrography.
Regarding the project he famously said,
Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design, and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost.
His method was to catch the snowflakes on black velvet and quickly photograph them before they disappeared. In 1931 he published a photography book, “Snow Crystals”, which featured photographs of 2,500 different snowflakes.
If you’re interested in owning a piece of photographic history, 10 pioneering snowflake images by “The Snowflake Man” are currently for sale at the American Antiques Show in New York City, priced at $4,800 each. If you don’t have that kind of money to spend, how about becoming the modern day equivalent of “The Snowflake Man” by figuring out how to photograph something no one has photographed before?
In early 2008 Sony unveiled a new technology called TransferJet that allows wireless data transfer. Now, Sony has begun incorporating the technology into its Memory Stick memory card format, enabling owners of Sony digital cameras to transfer data without needing any cables.
TransferJet is a technology that allows wireless data transfer at speeds that rival Wi-Fi, but only across a very short distance (3cm/1.25in). This means two TransferJet devices need to be essentially touching for transfer to work, but it also provides an element of security, since a thief would likely have to be able to steal your device physically before they could steal your data.
Some of you might be wondering what the difference is between TransferJet and Bluetooth. The main differences are transfer rate and range. Bluetooth transfers at up to 3 Mbit/s while TransferJet boasts 375 Mbit/s. The extremely limited range of TransferJet also solves many of the security issues that have plagued Bluetooth.
Sony loves to make their gadgets play well with one another, and you will begin seeing Vaio notebooks with TransferJet technology soon. Other computers may require special receivers to place your cameras on.
Here’s a novel idea: using an audiovisual slideshow as a medium for poetry. Journalists at the Knight Digital Media Center created a project for the Oakland School for the Arts, featuring a student’s poem, The Eternal Sea. Check it out here.
The project is strikingly simple: ambient music, neatly stylized text, and an abstract Creative Commons photo in the background, all compiled and presented using the simple program, Soundslides.
It is so clean that I am surprised I don’t see it more often. YouTube and Vimeo is so friendly to short-form art, but naturally, most people post video clips or simple audio of recited poetry.
Youtube does have some interesting examples of animated poetry, which combines recited poetry with some amusing and slightly eerie edited visuals, such as Forgetfulness by Billy Collins:
And there are also videos that use some text, visuals and narration, such as Don’t Be Flip by Todd Boss:
However, the animated poems on YouTube lack the static allure and literary simplicity of The Eternal Sea.
In any case, blending written word, photography, and music with multimedia technology looks like a brilliant new approach to poetry — and a neat project to try out.
3D technology was featured somewhat prominently this year at CES, with companies unveiling televisions and cameras built for capturing and displaying 3D media. If you can’t wait to get started with 3D media, you can do so right now with just two photographs.
Launched about a month ago, Start 3D is an online service that allows you to create and share 3D images without requiring special glasses to view them. You simply take two photographs 3 inches apart, and the service will do the rest, creating the following 3D effect:
As you can see, the resulting image is simply one image transitioning to the other. However, the frames in between are automatically generated by a patent-pending technology, called “Piku-Piku”.
While embedding the images is possible, there currently isn’t a one-click way of doing so. They should probably make this a simple feature on the image pages if they would like to see YouTube or Flickr-style growth.
The service is currently free while in public beta, but the home page indicates that more than 20 uploads per month will require a membership fee.
About a month ago we reported that José Luis Rodriguez had come under fire after winning the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. The winning photograph depicted a rare, Iberian wolf hopping a fence to reach food placed outside by the photographer, but rival photographers soon began to question whether the wolf was indeed a wild wolf.
After a month of investigation, Rodriguez has been stripped of the prestigious award and banned for life, in what some are now calling “the biggest scandal to ever hit the world of wildlife photography”. The winning image was selected from among 43,135 submitted from 94 countries.
A statement on the competition’s website states,
The judging panel looked at a range of evidence and took specialist advice from panel judges who have extensive experience of photographing wildlife including wolves. They also considered the responses to specific questions put to the photographer José Luis Rodriguez.
However, Rodriguez continues to deny that the wolf was a captive wolf.
German film director and photographer Wim Wenders created this short film for Leica that captures his passion for photography in a beautiful and powerful way. It’s sure to inspire you, and may rekindle your love for the art if it’s grown cold.
Samsung recently announced five new digital cameras due for release sometime in February. Two of these cameras, the ST60 and ST70, have a pretty interesting and unique digital effect mode called DeFog Clear/Fog Lifting that the company claims “cuts through the haze to take clear photos”.
While there’s no sample images or additional information on how this fog-elimination is done, our guess is that rather than utilizing some super-sophisticated technological mojo, the camera will simply increase blacks, contrast, and clarity, much like we’ve done in this example:
This is pretty relevant to the poll, “Should Digital Cameras Go the Way of Cell Phones?”, we just posted today. If digital cameras were like the iPhone or Android OS, a developer could make this “fog-killing” feature really easily without it being announced as a special feature by a camera maker.
Hasselblad has had a cryptic countdown displayed on their promotions page for a couple weeks now, and we’re about two weeks away from the date being counted down to. The text on the page doesn’t provide any hints:
You might have noticed a strange countdown clock on the Hasselblad website lately. You might have wondered what this rapidly running time gadget is counting towards. A countdown away from Christmas? A countdown towards the next sunny day in Scandinavia? Some unknown Hasselblad holiday? Well, “what?” indeed. All we can say is watch the space and try to be patient. Good things come to those who wait.
Any guesses as to what Hasselblad has up their sleeve? Is this simply a clever marketing stunt that hasn’t attracted all that much attention, or is there actually something big planned that we’ll find out very soon? Either way, we’ve marked the date on our calendar, and will report to you if there’s any interesting announcement.
Abandoned is an iPhone application by design group FORM that allows you to find modern day ruins to explore and photograph. There are many people who enjoy photographing abandoned and run-down locations, and can easily find and share such locations using this app.
In addition to providing a list of locations near you, you can also read and write comments on locations and maintain a personal, private log of locations you’ve found.
The application costs $2.99 and is available from the App Store. I think this would make a really good free web application if someone has the time to build it.
Remember the days when a 5 megapixel digital camera was considered top-of-the-line? I do. Remember the days when 570 megapixel digital cameras were the size of cars? That’s a question people might ask years from now, when the most basic pocket cameras boast hundreds of megapixels, and when we have petabyte external hard drives.
The “camera” shown above is one of the largest digital cameras in existence, created by Fermilab, a US national laboratory specializing in physics. It uses 74 CCD sensors to create 570 megapixel images of galaxies and supernovas. Scientists plan on using the $35 million dollar camera to map some 300 million galaxies.
Any guesses as to how long it will be before we’re paying $350 for a 570 megapixel compact digital camera? Will that day ever arrive?