Post Processing

Focus Stacking in Oxford.

Focus stacking in photography is a technique used to get the greatest amount of depth of field in a single image by processing multiple images taken at different focus distances. Most of the time we are talking a handful of images. Probably less than 10 for most people. Now all of that changes when you start doing micro photography and use microscope lenses to get your final images.

The video below is about the groundbreaking photographic technique used by Levon Biss for the Oxford University of Natural Sciences. Biss focus stacks as many as 8000 images, moving his camera 10 microns at a time to get his end result. A human hair is about 75 microns, so Biss is moving his camera about an eighth of the width of a human hair to get enough shots to build a final image. The reason for this is because the depth of field on the lenses he is using is so shallow, it is the only way he can produce the results he wants. And those results are pretty damn amazing.

I don’t really get into insects, but I could look at this stuff all day long. Be sure and jump over to his site to see more of this amazing work.

Remixing the World With Photoshop.

PBS has released a new Off Book video on YouTube, talking about how Photoshop has changed imaging, culture, and the way we interact with images. I use Photoshop 7 days a week. Anyone in a visually creative occupation probably does. The video is just over five minutes long, and at times feels like a great big ad for Adobe’s flagship product. None the less it’s worth watching, for the amazing examples of work, the commentary from artist, designers and photographers, and the ideas that it evokes. I say the ideas that it evokes, because in many ways this short film is spot on about how Photoshop has changed imaging for forever, and how it has had a global impact on how we perceive our world. Frankly, I’d like to see a feature length documentary on Photoshop, but then again, I am a design geek.

Photoshop has completely revolutionized our visual culture. Artists now use Photoshop to create complex imagery that would have been impossible 20 years ago. It has also profoundly changed the art of photo retouching, turning a labor intensive process into an artful and often controversial digital workflow. But possibly the most current and expressive influence can be seen in meme culture online. With the ability to alter any image in the media landscape, everyday people now have the means to critically comment on culture and spread their ideas
virally, leveling the playing field between traditional media creators and consumers. Photoshop has changed the way we communicate, the way we express ourselves, and the way we view the world and each other.

Featuring:
Jeff Huang, Art Director & Illustrator
Laurent Le Moing, Picturehouse NYC
Don Caldwell, Know Your Meme

Photographers Featured:
Matt Jones
Chris Buck
Robert Maxwell
Txema Yeste
Matthias Vriens

Photographer Cade Martin’s “Wonderland”

Since I’m on a photography kick this morning, I thought I’d post some images by Washington DC based photographer Cade Martin. Martin has a new series of work that he recently added to his portfolio titled “Wonderland”. The images feature members of the Washington Ballet in fantastical settings in and around the DC area.

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One of the things that I have always like d about Martin, is the fact that even though the shots are heavily staged, much of the magic is in camera, not post processed. I’m not saying that Martin doesn’t use Photoshop, I’m saying that Martin manages to capture  the light and atmosphere in a way that you can’t fake. These shots are truly masterful in their own right. If you have the time browse the portfolio on Martin’s website.

Lytro. Makes Digital Imaging Magic.

This has been getting quite a bit of buzz around the internet lately, but I finally had time to sit down and go through the Lytro site and check out what all of the fuss is about.

I tried to ambed the live image but WordPress didn't understand the code. To see the live images and iteractively refocus them, click on any of the live links in this post.

Like any new technology, this is pricey and not for the average consumer. Like all new technology, eventually it will be. It’s only a a matter of time before this ten thousand dollar camera drops in price, and the technology itself is licensed to other camera manufacturers.

Lytro has launched with some new, seriously amazing camera technology. The camera works by capturing all the information it possibly can about the field of light so that you can adjust the photo in any way during post production. This means you can re-focus, re-light, tilt-shift, correct for lens distortion, etc. all after the image has been shot.

This new technology that Lytro is introducing will be changing photography all together. It will allow you to make major corrections to shots that in the past would be unsalvageable. And when you see the online demo of images in their photo gallery, it shows major potential for interactivity, with things like “focus pulls” on a static shot. When I first saw this, I kept thinking of “Blade Runner” and the infinite zoom and enhance within digital images that they showed.

So, how much will it actually cost? One of the funding companies, NG, says anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. I bet it starts closer to the $10,000 range, and over time drops to less than $1,ooo. This is the kind of thing that consumers are going to want. Lytro knows it, the people funding them know it, and the manufactures of point and shoot cameras really know it.

If you really want to jump into the science of this, check out the Lytro Blog. There is a ton of information and demos on it.