As humans, it’s only natural to take a look at the sky and perceive to see an object, a face, an animal. Computers, too, are capable of this perception. However, they may be capable of finding things that the human eye can’t, or just might not notice.
In a project called “Cloud Face“, Seoul, South Korea-based Shin Seung Back and Kim Yong Hun of aptly-named ‘Shinseungback Kimyonghun‘ have pointed cameras up at the sky and let complex algorithms detect faces in the passing clouds.
If you think about it, any digital photograph is simply a finite collection of pixels, with each one showing a specific color. There are also only a finite number of colors each pixel on a display can be. Thus, there are only a finite number of photographs that could possibly exist. An unfathomably large number, but finite nonetheless.
That’s the basic idea behind artist Jeffrey Thompson‘s Every Possible Photograph project. Thompson has created an installation that, given enough time, will generate every possible photograph by stepping through every possible combination of pixels.
We’ve shared some interesting digital to analog conversions here in the past (e.g. printing iPhone photos using an enlarger), and here’s another one: create a digital wet plate by shooting a photo displayed on your computer monitor.
Wet plate collodion photographer Tony Richards recently saw this idea being mentioned online and decided to give it a shot. He pointed his camera at an image on his Apple iMac screen, and eventually got the wet plate seen above.
Ireland-based photographer David Hunt recently came up with the brilliant idea of turning an old broken battery grip into a small computer that can be connected to his Canon 5D Mark II. After buying a Raspberry Pi computer for €35, he modified the battery grip and stuffed the computer inside.
Had an interesting conversation the other evening with the delightful Raina Kirn, the “Raina” half of the famed Raina + Wilson photo team (Wilson – worry not, you’re delightful too). The occasion was a west-end Toronto photographer’s pub night, and we were bemoaning the loathsomeness of sorting and organizing images digitally, the endless toil and drudgery of file management, the indentured servitude photographers must now endure as pawns in the palm of the evil god that is Computer. We glumly agreed that there’s really no way to avoid it. You just have to grit your teeth and slog away, like wading through mud — completely unpleasant, but necessary if you want to escape.
Apple officially announced the new iPad today (called “the new iPad” rather than the “iPad 3″). It’s a tablet computer, but its new features make the device much more camera-like than the iPad 2. There’s a new 5-megapixel iSight camera on the back that features a backside illuminated sensor and a five-element f/2.4 lens. It’s also able to record HD video in full 1080p. On the frontside is a 9.7-inch 2048×1536 retina display that packs 4 times more pixels than the iPad 2 and 1 million more pixels than an HDTV. Get ready for a world in which more and more people take Instagram photos using large “cameratablets”.
The New iPad [Apple]
Guess what camera was used to shoot the photograph above? A tablet computer. It was shot using the new ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet, which features a camera with a 8-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, an f/2.4 autofocus lens, an LED flash, and 1080p HD video recording. Looks like we’ll soon be seeing a lot more people whip out tablets for everyday snapshots.
Here’s the current state of imagery: still cameras can shoot HD video, video cameras can capture high quality stills, and data storage costs continue to fall. In the future, it might become commonplace for people to make photos by shooting uber-high quality video and then selecting the best still. However, as any photographer knows, selecting the best photograph from a series of photos captured in burst mode is already a challenge, so selecting a still from 30fps footage would be quite a daunting challenge.
To make the future easier for us humans, researchers at Adobe and the University of Washington are working on training computers to do the grunt work for us. One research project currently being done involves training a computer to automatically select candid portraits when given video of a person. The video above is a demo of the artificial intelligence in action.
Candid Portrait Selection From Video (via John Nack)
If you’re both a photography lover and a Mac user (there’s a lot of you out there, right?), computer expert Lloyd Chambers has an uber-helpful section on his Mac Performance Guide website for photographers who want to learn how to optimize a Mac for Photoshop and other photo editing programs.
iPhone photography continues to grow in popularity, but transferring photographs to your computer can be a hassle. If you’re sick of having to plug in your device via USB every time you want to sync your photos, you might want to take a look at Cinq, a free app that allows you to wireless transfer full-resolution photographs to your computer as you take them. You simply download the app to both your computer and your phone, and photos taken through the app will automatically be sent to a folder on your computer. The free version is ad-supported, while there’s an ad-free $2 version.