Edith Widder is one of the three scientists that managed to capture the first high-resolution video footage of an actual giant squid. And about a month ago, her TED talk describing how she and her team did it (embedded above) was finally posted online.
Almost 2 stories tall, you would think that something that massive would have already been photographed or video taped. But it was Widder’s common-sense approach that would yield the groundbreaking footage. So, how did scientists manage to finally catch a giant squid on camera? One word: quietly. Read more…
An interesting photographic first has been announced by a scientist at the University of Genoa in Italy. Enzo di Fabrizio revealed the world’s very first true photograph that shows the double helix structure of DNA, shown above. Read more…
We all know Instagram as an app for retro-filtered photos, but have you ever considered using it to film a video, one photo at a time? That’s what director Arturo Perez Jr. did for the video above. It’s the official music video for the song “Invasión” by Mexico City-based band The Plastics Revolution. Read more…
Just in case this question ever comes up while you’re playing the world’s hardest game of photography trivia, what you see above is the first photograph ever snapped in Finland. Mats Söderlund of The Crop Factor writes,
This may look like something captured with Instagram on the newest smartphone, but it’s something a bit different indeed. It is the first photograph taken in Finland, ever. The photo dates back to the year 1842, and celebrated its 170th birthday last Saturday, November 3rd. The photograph is a daguerreotype [...] It was taken in Turku, which ironically also is Finland’s oldest city [...] The photographer was Henrik Cajander, a doctor by trade who lived on the very street the photo was taken [...]
As you can see the photo isn’t exactly perfect, technically or aesthetically speaking, but it is a big part of the history in Finnish photography. Some might call the crooked composition an amateur mistake, but the photographer was, in the realest sense, an amateur at what he was doing.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were a gallery of the first photographs shot in each country on Earth?
So when Berners-Lee and his team cooked up a new edition of their still-primitive World Wide Web system, one that could support photo files, he went a few steps from his workstation to ask de Gennaro for a Cernettes-related image. The Web had already used a few small vector image files to show off schematics, but Berners-Lee and his team needed a guinea pig for the leap into photos.
Lucky for him, de Gennaro had been toying around with a scanned .gif version of the July 18th photo, using version one of Photoshop on his color Macintosh. The .gif format was only five years old at the time, but its efficient compression had made it the best way to edit color images without slowing PCs to a crawl.
The image was added to a webpage about musical acts at CERN (where Berners-Lee worked), and was probably less viewed than the same image on physical posters around the lab. The Mac that housed the original .gif file died around 1998, and the photo faded into obscurity.
This image might look like some kind of screenshot from an old 16-bit video game, but it’s actually the first photo ever made of an atom’s shadow. Researchers at Griffith University in Australia suspended a ytterbium atom in midair, shot it with a laser beam, and then used a Fresnel lens on the other side to snap a photograph of the dark shadow left by the atom. Scientist Erik Streed has a writeup explaining how they accomplished it and the project’s implications for other research.
Seeing a double rainbow is a relatively rare treat, but how about three or four rainbows? Scientists have only reported seeing triple rainbows five times over the past 250 years, but German photographer Michael Theusner was recently able to capture this first ever photograph of a fourth-order rainbow. Ordinary rainbows (first and second order) appear in the area of the sky opposite the sun (and aren’t seen in his shot), but when higher order rainbows appear, they show up on the sunward side.
Last year, U.S. Naval Academy meteorologist Raymond Lee and a colleague, Philip Laven, laid out a prediction for the conditions that would produce third-order rainbows, and they challenged rainbow-chasers to go out and find one. Among the requirements: dark thunderclouds, and either a heavy downpour or a rainstorm with nearly uniform rain droplets. If the sun broke through the clouds under these conditions, it could project a dim tertiary rainbow against the dark clouds nearby, they said. [#]
Back in May, a photographer named Michael Grossman followed this advice and succeeded in capturing the first ever photo of a third-order rainbow. Lee’s challenge and Grossman’s success are what inspired Theusner to try his hand at photographing higher order rainbows. You can find more background info on Theusner’s blog and in his recently published scientific paper.
Wedding photographer Brian Adams and wedding videographer Rainer Flor claim to be the first to capture a wedding entirely using the iPhone 4. Flor volunteered his own wedding last November for the experiment, and a total of three iPhone 4s were used: two for the photos and one for the video.
“We proved that the iPhone technology is advanced enough to handle an event like a wedding, and simple enough that it doesn’t take a lot of experience or extra equipment to shoot high-quality video and pictures,” said Adams. “The user still has to have some creativity and a good eye, but this gives them a great tool.”
Would you rather have a great photographer shoot your wedding with an iPhone 4, or a mediocre photographer shoot using professional gear?
This is the first color photograph ever taken underwater. It’s a hogfish captured off the Florida Keys in 1926 by National Geographic photographer Charles Martin and Dr. William Longley. In addition to some special waterproof camera housing, the duo used pounds of highly explosive magnesium flash powder to illuminate the scene. Read more…
Did you know that the first digital camera invented in 1975 didn’t actually produce the first digital photograph? The first digital photo actually came almost two decades earlier in 1957 when Russell Kirsch made a 176×176 pixel digital image by scanning a photograph of his three-month-old son. The low resolution was due to the fact that the computer they used wasn’t capable of storing more information.