2,400 come out to Cowboys Stadium for RIT’s Big Shot of the year

Big Shot: a project by the RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences to teach students about flash photography that has been going since 1987. The idea: take a landmark, shoot a long-exposure of it in as close to total darkness as you can. But here’s the twist: use a bunch of volunteers to hold flashes and create their own brief illuminations of their own small parts of the landmark, to see what kind of result you get. This year, 40 students traveled to Dallas, Tx to shoot the Cowboys Stadium, the first time that stadium has been in complete darkness since it began operations.

Photography requires light to enter a lens and focus on the photo-making medium. In traditional photography, the light has to hit photosensitive film. In modern digital photography, it hits an electronic photosensor. Regardless of the medium, however, there is a minimum amount of light necessary to get the shot, which is determined by the size of the lens, the size of the recording medium and other factors.

You can get the required light by two means: by adding light in the form of some sort of photographic flash, or by holding the aperture of the camera open a very long time to allow more of the natural light in.

The old Brownie. Photo courtesy

Photo flashes – whether they’re the old school single-use flash bulbs or modern strobe lights, help fill in the required light and allow the photo to develop. But with such a large area as Cowboys Stadium, no one single flash would adequately light the whole scene. Big Shot’s objective is to fill in the scene with not one, but a huge number of individual strobes to create a lot more light. Add to that a long exposure time and you get amazing results.

Big Shot has done a lot of landmarks in the past, including the Alamo and the U.S.S. Intrepid. Last November, the project photos our own Seabreeze Amusement Park, a considerably more humble but very beautiful project.

Rochester Technology

RIT doctorate plans to automate satellite photo peeping

You think there’s a lot of satellite information about where you are now? Just wait. RIT doctoral student Abdul Haleen Syed says 238 new satellites will be launched in this decade alone, and this is an increase from the 135 launched in the previous decade.

But analyzing that satellite image data currently takes human operators to trawl through image after image, spotting roads, bridges, houses, military installations and the like. The logical next step is to provide some sort of automated process, handled by computers, to get that work done. Lots of people are working on this kind of algorithm, and Syed’s cutting-edge research has already won him accolades in a Rio de Janeiro.

Other research and even practical applications exist. For example, the US DoD is building web applications aimed at helping many countries better analyze satellite and other data to defend their coasts from everything from pirates to poachers.

But the goal of Syed’s research is completely automated satellite photo analysis.

Science Technology

Algorithm spots altered photos, Julia Roberts’ career shrivels

They’re actually considering passing a law in the UK, France and other European countries to require publishers to reveal the extent to which a photograph has been altered. Does this mean the death of supermodel careers past thirty?

News today from the scientific journal Nature that a team of researchers from Dartmouth College have developed an algorithm to allow photos to be analyzed for the way images have been altered. Rather than simply averaging the differences – which would include entirely normal cropping, white balancing and the like – the new algorithm uses a number of factors such as the number of pixels by which a face is altered to determine a rating system for those alterations.

While the article doesn’t really get into it, the fact is that altered faces of models are hardly the only practical application of this potential new technology. Altered passports, doctored images in the media and other applications we haven’t even thought of, yet. There will also, necessarily, be algorithms developed to fool this algorithm. Such is life in a digital world.

More details in the Nature article linked below:

Computer model spots image fraud : Nature News & Comment.


DFE Photo Makes it to The Consumerist

Friend of the website MP sent me a link to where they used my photo to illustrate an article about Time Warner’s new habit of cutting off users they deem as using too much of their Internet connection they paid for. Actually, they used my photo of someone else’s sign protesting Time Warner’s Internet cap proposal.

It’s fun and gratifying to give out my photographic work as Creative Commons Share Alike works. Having had my stuff catch the eye of a big national blog like this is especially gratifying.


Tony Tribute: Pictures Forthcoming

Between my wife and I, over a hundred pictures got taken over the course of the Buddhahood Tony Cavagnaro tribute show.  I have had just enough time to transfer the pictures to my computer and quickly spot-check them, not enough to actually post-produce and release them to Flickr.  However, my quick once-over reveals that, incredibly, there are a few pictures worth saving.  Some came out quite nicely, actually.

Low-light situations such as club gigs are never easy to photograph, but I guess some of these shots, especially of the Mysterious Blues Band, came out fairly decent.  That’s what taking lots of pictures gets you!

The show was, by the way, incredible.  Hats off to Rick Whitney and Jenny K for putting this all together and getting everything under way. I think Rick was ready to collapse, both from the stress and from the emotion, by the end of the Buddhahood show.  It was exceptionally strange to hear the band play the old Rub the Buddha tunes, many of which never got played to my knowledge with the entirety of the current lineup.  It was crazy to look over to my right and see Evan jamming away with that stare he gets when he plays.  Looks like he’s looking straight through you for reasons you can’t quite imagine.  But it was amazing.

I got my shot on stage at the end, though I don’t suppose anyone heard me.  There was precious little room on stage and I was gingerly balancing myself between two risers, so getting the proper sound was kind of secondary.  It was worth it just to be a part of the show.

OK, hopefully, pictures by the holiday weekend’s end!

South Wedge: By Black and By White

Yesterday was an entertaining afternoon spent photographing the South Wedge with a new red filter for the camera, which tends to add a bit of drama to black and white pictures. In fact, I never took so much as a single color image the entire time I was out there.

South_Wedge-011 But of course, the architecture is really brilliant down on South Avenue, even if it’s been largely ignored and under-appreciated until just recently. The facades make for great photography subjects, especially in black-and-white photos. So, I took a leisurely stroll down a few blocks, snapping pictures as I went, ran into a few people and chatted about how things are going down there.

For those of you whom I spoke with, sorry that this took so long to post! I’d just decided that the images could use a bit of post-production touching up before I sent them out for the world. I hope I caught your good sides!

More pictures after the fold —->