Advertisements

Archive for category Photography & Images

Monthly Image: Google Pixel XL HDR at Wappingers Falls Bridge

We walked over the bridge in Wappingers Falls on our way to a play:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Google 3D Overhead - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Google 3D Overhead – 2017-09-22

As always, we paused near the center to admire the view (clicky for more dots):

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – 2017-09-22

That’s from the PixelXL, braced on the bridge wall, facing downstream toward the Hudson River.

A dot-for-dot crop of the penstock, showing off the RGB LED garland:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - Penstock crop - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – Penstock crop – 2017-09-22

Contrary to what you might think, the gorge underfoot appeared almost black to the eye, particularly against the glare from the floodlights, so the HDR works very well:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - Gorge crop - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – Gorge crop – 2017-09-22

The JPG compression on those images doesn’t materially affect the results; the original image has most of the artifacts.

The EXIF information:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - Photograph EXIF - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – Photograph EXIF – 2017-09-22

The “1/10 s shutter speed” probably has very little to do with any physical event. AFAICT, the Pixel camera records 30 images/s for the on-screen preview, then uses various images before-and-after the shutter click for motion compensation and HDR processing. If so, “1/10 s” corresponds to three images.

I had the Pixel location tracking in “battery saving” mode with the GPS turned off:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - GPS EXIF - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – GPS EXIF – 2017-09-22

In reality, the bridge is about 90 feet above sea level. The “GPS Time Stamp” and, presumably, the date, use UTC. We’re in UTC-4, with Daylight Saving Time in full effect, so we were comfortably early for the 8 PM show.

The camera doesn’t produce DSLR-with-big-glass quality images, but it fits in my pocket and it’s better than my old Canon SX-230HS for most purposes.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Pure Matte Black the Hard Way

The best way to get a pure, non-reflective black uses optics, not pigments:

Matte black blade edges

Matte black blade edges

The shiny steel blades reflect light just fine, but the reflections have no way back out of the gap between adjacent edges: the angle of reflection always points away from you and the incoming light.

I always admire the blackness when I open that box.

Yes, I’m a member of the Society of the Easily Amused.

6 Comments

Monthly Science: Raising a Monarch Butterfly

A Monarch butterfly laid eggs in late July. On the 29th of July they looked like this:

Monarch Egg - focus stacked

Monarch Egg – focus stacked

By August 2, a pair of caterpillars had hatched and grew to 3 mm:

Monarch caterpillar - 3 mm - 2017-08-02

Monarch caterpillar – 3 mm – 2017-08-02

A day later, they were 4 mm long:

Monarch caterpillars - 4 mm - 2017-08-03

Monarch caterpillars – 4 mm – 2017-08-03

They really were sort of blue-ish with green hints:

Monarch caterpillar 1 - 4 mm - 2017-08-03

Monarch caterpillar 1 – 4 mm – 2017-08-03

And:

Monarch caterpillar 2 - 4 mm - 2017-08-03

Monarch caterpillar 2 – 4 mm – 2017-08-03

By August 9, one had had more mature coloration:

Monarch caterpillar - 2017-08-09

Monarch caterpillar – 2017-08-09

The other caterpillar had vanished; we assume it got out of the aquarium and wandered off.

Apparently, the front end of the caterpillar (at the bottom of the picture) has a hard windshield reflecting the ring of LEDs around the camera lens. The caterpillar eats its skin after each molting, except for the windshield:

Monarch Windshield - 2017-08-09

Monarch Windshield – 2017-08-09

We kept fresh milkweed branches in a vase and the caterpillar ate almost continuously:

Monarch caterpillar - 2017-08-13

Monarch caterpillar – 2017-08-13

By August 15, the caterpillar was ready for the next stage in its life. At 10 in the morning it had attached itself to the screen covering the aquarium and assumed the position:

Monarch caterpillar - starting chrysalis - 2017-08-15

Monarch caterpillar – starting chrysalis – 2017-08-15

It transformed into a chrysalis by 5:30 PM:

Monarch Chrysalis - with skin

Monarch Chrysalis – with skin

The discarded skin remained loosely attached until I carefully removed it.

What look like small yellow spots are actually a striking metallic gold color.

Eleven days later, on August 26 at 9 AM, the chrysalis suddenly became transparent:

Monarch chrysalis - ready - left

Monarch chrysalis – ready – left

And:

Monarch chrysalis - ready - right

Monarch chrysalis – ready – right

The shape of the butterfly becomes visible in reflected light:

Monarch chrysalis - ready - ventral detail

Monarch chrysalis – ready – ventral detail

The gold dots and line remained visible.

The magic happened at 3 PM:

Monarch chrysalis - emerging - unfolding

Monarch chrysalis – emerging – unfolding

The compacted wings emerge intense orange on the top and lighter orange on the bottom:

Monarch unfolding - left

Monarch unfolding – left

The butterfly took most of the day to unfurl and stiffen its wings into flat plates:

Monarch unfolding - dorsal

Monarch unfolding – dorsal

And:

Monarch unfolding - right

Monarch unfolding – right

By 8 PM it began exploring the aquarium:

Monarch unfolded - right

Monarch unfolded – right

As adults, they sip nectar from flowers, but don’t feed for the first day, so we left it in the aquarium overnight.

At 10 AM on August 27, we transported it to the goldenrod in the garden, where it immediately began tanking operations:

Monarch on Milkweed - left

Monarch on Milkweed – left

A few minutes later, it began sun-warming operations:

Monarch on Milkweed - dorsal

Monarch on Milkweed – dorsal

Mary watched it while she was tending the garden and, an hour or so later, saw it take off and fly over the house in a generally southwest direction. It will cross half the continent under a geas prohibiting any other action, eventually overwinter in Mexico with far too few of its compadres, then die after producing the eggs for a generation beginning the northward journey next year.

Godspeed, little butterfly, godspeed …

In the spirit of “video or it didn’t happen”, there’s a 15 fps movie of the emergence taken at 5 s/image.

4 Comments

Mystery Eggs on Glass

An array of tiny eggs appeared on the outside of our bedroom window:

Insect eggs on glass - 2017-09-17

Insect eggs on glass – 2017-09-17

The patch measures 12 mm across and 14 mm tall. From across the room, it looks like a smudge, but it consists of hundreds of eggs, each on a tiny stalk glued to the glass:

IMG_20170919 vs 0917- Insect eggs on glass

IMG_20170919 vs 0917- Insect eggs on glass

The bottom image is two days later than the top one, both are scaled to about the same size and contrast. The critters look about the same, although I think the lines have more prominent ripples or bumps.

We have no idea what they’ll turn into, but they certainly look like they have two eyes and wings …

 

Leave a comment

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55: Passing on the Right, Redux

As usual, we’re at the Rt 55 end of Burnett Blvd, returning home from a grocery trip; I’m hauling two full bags of chow in the trailer. The white car pulling up immediately to our left will make a left turn from the left lane:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 01

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 01

The more distant white car, turning left out of Overocker, is eases past us in the right lane to make a right turn:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 02

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 02

We’re on the left side of the right lane, rather than the right, to avoid right hook collisions with drivers who flat-out do not stop before turning. Been there, had that happen, we know better.

The car approaching in the right lane will attempt to pass us on the right:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 03

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 03

That’s happened before, too, so I’m watching this happen in  my mirror. My line will pass to the right of the inconveniently placed manhole cover in the intersection:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 04

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 04

Mary’s nearing the right side of the lane, I’m in the middle, and the driver jams to a stop rather than run up over the sidewalk:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 05

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 05

The passenger window is rolling down, which is always a Bad Sign:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 06

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 06

It’s all the way down and I know what’s about to happen:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 07

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 07

So I preempt the discussion by pointing out she was passing in an intersection and the license plate on the silver Chevy say FEX-4194:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 08

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 08

She passes Mary and stops directly ahead of us in the middle of the right-hand lane. We jam to a stop behind her. The black car approaching us swerves into the middle lane:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 09

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 09

She pulls around the corner onto Manchester and stops in the intersection. I stop well behind her to remain visible from Rt 55, which turns out to be a Good Idea:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 10

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 10

Mary eases beside the drivers window, which rolls down. The driver says she’s going to call the police, “because we pulled directly in front of her”. Mary points out we have video of the entire encounter. The window rolls up and the driver pulls away.

Overocker, Burnett, and a short sprint on Rt 55 to Manchester is the only route from the grocery store to Rt 376 and home, so it’s not like we’re looking for trouble.

No helmet camera video, alas, because I tried those piece-of-crap Wasabi batteries in the Sony HDR-AS30V and the second one was flat-out dead. The first one, in the camera when I left home, showed empty after the half-hour ride to the grocery store, so they really are junk; “Premium Japanese cells” my foot.

17 Comments

Monthly Image: Orb-Weaving Spider

Once again, the season of orb-weaving spiders has arrived, with this one building her web across a living room window:

Orb Weaving Spider - with insect

Orb Weaving Spider – with insect

I set the Sony HDR-AS30V atop a tripod, told it to take photos at 5 second intervals, then stitched the images into a Youtube video. It won’t go viral, but watching the spider construct her web over the course of two hours was fascinating.

She finishes the spiral at about 1 m video = 1.25 h real time, settles down for what might be a nap (it’s hard to tell with spiders), and has an insect join her for supper at 1:28, half an hour later. Spiders go from “inert” to “death incoming” almost instantly, even in real time running.

Another orb weaver set up shop in the adjacent window, but moved out the next day. Perhaps there’s a minimum spacing requirement?

Two more orb weavers guard windows in the kitchen and laundry room. We sometimes leave the lights on for them.

YouTube has other web-building videos with far more detail, of course.

The magic incantation to create the video from a directory of images in the form DSC01234.JPG:

sn=1 ; for f in *JPG ; do printf -v dn 'dsc%04d.jpg' "$(( sn++ ))" ; mv $f $dn ; done
ffmpeg -r 15 -i /mnt/video/2017-09-03/100MSDCF/dsc%04d.jpg -q 1 Orb-Weaving-2017-09-03.mp4

2 Comments

Google Pixel XL Camera Oddity: LED Flicker Stripes

The Pixel’s camera shows a black stripe across both the live preview and the final image:

Pixel XL Camera - shutter stripe

Pixel XL Camera – shutter stripe

That’s under the high-intensity LED lamp on my desk, which must have a high-frequency flicker. I’m amazed the camera remains in absolutely stable sync with the flicker for as long as I’m willing to aim it.

The stripe covers only the moth and greenery, not the LCD monitor in the background, so it’s caused by the overhead lamp, not something internal to the Pixel or its camera.

A closer look shows shading on either side of the deepest black (clicky for more dots):

Pixel XL Camera - shutter stripe - detail

Pixel XL Camera – shutter stripe – detail

The stripe location and width differ based on the image zoom level, although in no predictable way:

Pixel XL Camera - shutter stripe - 2

Pixel XL Camera – shutter stripe – 2

The Pixel camera definitely doesn’t have optical zoom, so it’s surely related to the scaling applied to convert the physical sensor array into the final image. Even though all images have 4048×3036 pixels (or the other way around, at least for these portrait-layout pix), zoomed images get made-up (pronounced “interpolated”) data in their pixels.

Not a problem under any other illumination I’ve encountered so far, so it’s likely something to do with this specific and relatively old LED lamp.

4 Comments