Breathing New Life Into Old Civil War Photos Using Animation

Breathing New Life Into Old Civil War Photos Using Animation

My name is Matt Loughrey, and I’m an artist based in Ireland. I occasionally work alongside libraries and museums with projects to develop their visitor experiences. Over time I have become familiar with a handful of photographers.

In 2015, I began to gather and organize glass negatives into groups on the strength after noticing that some libraries had failed to keep a number of glass negatives together. I told myself that some of them may have been dismissed as duplicates. I didn’t inquire as to why — instead, I began to research the anomalies myself and focused on the work of Mathew Brady and his associates.

It fast became a sub-project. I found out that Brady had been inadvertently animating his subjects. I am not referring solely to stereoview cards but instead to an accidental result when using his ‘multiplying’ cameras. Sometimes four or eight images were exposed to a single plate in order to provide a faster service which in turn, I assume, was cost-effective for Mathew Brady’s expanding enterprise.

The images would expose from slightly different angles, and this is where the story develops. I have spent a tremendous amount of my own time between 2015 and now solving the image puzzles in order to bring each subject to life, be they notable civilians of the 1860s, scenes or leaders of the time.

Ordinarily, each finished example takes 1.5 hours to align perfectly, reorder, and cycle in full resolution. All come directly from .tiff format scans and the process is undertaken entirely using my ever faithful Wacom MobileStudio Pro. I do not clean up the negatives themselves because I always felt that degradation at this level is comparable to the lines on our faces, it’s characterful.

The end result is this short 6-minute documentary, narrated by Dane Scott Udenberg, that examples some of what is possible and what details are revealed in these historical images, things that may ordinarily be missed:

In this case, technology bridges a gap between history and art while bringing a new sense of relatability and storytelling.

P.S. The projects mainstay is on Instagram at @my_colorful_past.

Editor’s note: You can find a large gallery of Civil War animations in this article by Patrick Feaster, another person who has worked on animating photos from this era.

About the author: Matt Loughrey is a 40-year-old artist based in Ireland. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Loughrey’s work has been featured in National Geographic magazine.

Source: PetaPixel

Breathing New Life Into Old Civil War Photos Using Animation

These Lens Filters Have Prisms Built In for Creative Effects

These Lens Filters Have Prisms Built In for Creative Effects

PrismLensFX has unveiled a set of Variable Prism Filters. These are lens filters with prisms built right into them for capturing creative effects in photos and videos.

Placing prisms in front of your camera lens is a popular way to add a beautiful and unpredictable look to photos. PrismLensFX’s new filter set helps make results a little easier to reproduce.

The three 77mm filters are “variable” in that you can rotate them on your lens to adjust the resulting look and effect. It’s recommended that you use them on more telephoto lenses (50mm and greater) at apertures f/1.4, f/2, or f/2.8.

The Prism filter is designed to create “stunning” flare and bokeh.

The Chromatic Flare filter creates “anamorphic”/”streak” flares.

The Split Glass filter creates light leak and fractal effects.

The Variable Prism Filters costs $75 each or $195 as a set (a discount of $30). They’ll begin shipping in mid- to late-April.

(via Prism Lens FX via No Film School)

Source: PetaPixel

These Lens Filters Have Prisms Built In for Creative Effects

This Guy Pushed a Piano to the Eiffel Tower for His Wedding Day Photos

This Guy Pushed a Piano to the Eiffel Tower for His Wedding Day Photos

How far would you go to set up the scene of your dreams for the perfect wedding day photo shoot? Photographer Priscila Valentina was recently hired by a guy named Samuel whose grand romantic gesture was to spend a morning pushing a piano through the streets of Paris and up to the Eiffel Tower.

Starting at sunrise, Samuel began pushing the antique piano toward the Eiffel Tower. His goal was to surprise his fiancée Maya by singing his vows as part of their wedding day.

“As Sam pushed the piano up to the Eiffel Tower, the Parisians stopped with questionable eyes, but full smiles, something was kindling, a familiar spirit of romance was in pursuit,” Valentina says.

“The legality was equivalent to that of a street performer down in Paris,” the photographer tells PetaPixel. “We had lots of interaction with the police and they smiled.”

“I felt like my heart was going to pound straight through my chest, and when she saw the piano laying in front of the Eiffel Tower she was totally shocked!” Samuel says.

As Valentina was packing up her gear to head to the next location, snow began lightly falling on them. She quickly called for the couple to return and take advantage of the conditions.

“The idea hit me of putting the couple on top of the piano to capture a ‘lost in Paris’ moment on film,” Valentina says. “As the snow fell, I looked up in the sky and knew there was something special happening, it was a supernatural feeling, like as if God opened up the opportunity with perfect timing to remind the world, that we can do better, that love is what this life is all about and I believe that’s the message behind the photos.”

You can find more of Valentina’s work on her website and blog.

Source: PetaPixel

This Guy Pushed a Piano to the Eiffel Tower for His Wedding Day Photos

Kim Jong-un’s Photographer Fired for Briefly Blocking Neck with Flash

Kim Jong-un’s Photographer Fired for Briefly Blocking Neck with Flash

Kim Jong-un’s personal photographer has reportedly been fired for breaking the dictator’s photography rules. The photographer’s offense? Standing directly between Kim and a crowd for just three seconds and blocking the view of Kim’s neck with a camera flash.

The South Korean news outlet DailyNK reports that the 47-year-old photographer with the surname Ri was part of the Korean Art Film Studio and had previously traveled with Kim to Hanoi for the second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

But on March 10th, while photographing Kim at a public appearance, Ri stepped directly in front of Kim for about three seconds in search of a good angle. The photographer’s position momentarily blocked people from seeing Kim, and his camera’s flash covered Kim’s neck in official footage aired by the North Korean media outlet DRPK Today.

Ri was subsequently accused of “adjusting the angle so that the camera’s flash covered the Dear and Respected Supreme Leader Comrade’s neck.” He also broke a rule stating that photographers must stay at least 2 meters (~6.6 feet) away from Kim and never step directly in front of him.

Two days later, the Korean Art Film Studio ruled that Ri was guilty of “anti-Party act of damaging the Supreme Dignity of our Party.” Ri was kicked out of the Workers’ Party of Korea, “effectively rendering him a second-class citizen,” the Daily Mail reports.

Source: PetaPixel

Kim Jong-un’s Photographer Fired for Briefly Blocking Neck with Flash

Quad Pixel AF May Be the Followup to Canon’s Dual Pixel AF

Quad Pixel AF May Be the Followup to Canon’s Dual Pixel AF

Canon may be developing a Quad Pixel Autofocus sensor as the followup to its highly-regarding Dual Pixel AF. A newly-surfaced patent shows a sensor in which each pixel is split into not two, but four areas.

First launched in the 70D APS-C DSLR back in 2013, Dual Pixel AF spits each pixel on a sensor into two light-sensitive photodiodes. Since each half independently detects light through separate microlenses, the signals can be analyzed to glean focus information. The result of this is a phase-detection AF system that provides fast and accurate autofocus for both still photos and video.

Canon News discovered a Canon patent in Japan (2019041178) that describes the design of a quad pixel autofocus sensor.

“Right now Canon is using dual pixel autofocus sensors,” Canon News writes, “but if you ever tried to use an EOS R or an EOS M in landscape orientation to focus on a horizontal line you’ll quickly realize that the phase detect sensors just go in one direction, and have little sensitivity in the other 90 degrees offset direction.”

The new design would address this issue. The patent appears to describe a 20.7-megapixel sensor that contains a whopping 83 million focus detection points.

“The pixel size seems to be 4 micrometers, which would make that approximately 22mm on the width (5575×3725) or in other words an APS-C sized sensor,” Canon News says.

Canon may be looking into decreasing pixel density on sensors in favor of providing an even better autofocus system.

“Canon uses 180nm tech for its APS-C sensors that can incorporate copper wiring,” Canon Rumors writes. “This is probably fine for a 20mp image sensor. There would be a loss of efficiency splitting the pixels further and may lead to Canon dropping the pixel count on APS-C sensors.

“This would only matter if we actually do see QPAF sensors in the future.”

Source: PetaPixel

Quad Pixel AF May Be the Followup to Canon’s Dual Pixel AF

How to Fake a Realistic Shallow Depth of Field in Photoshop

How to Fake a Realistic Shallow Depth of Field in Photoshop

By carefully applying blur to a portrait, you can make it look like it was shot with a shallow depth-of-field using a fast (and expensive) lens. Here’s a 12-minute tutorial by PiXimperfect that teaches the key to creating this faux blur in a realistic way.

“We’ll learn some advanced controls for Iris Blur and Field Blur from Blur Gallery, and combine multiple filters to easily create a creamy soft focus effect,” writes Photoshop guru Unmesh Dinda.

He starts by explaining the concept of focal plane — when you focus on a subject’s eyes, everything in that same focal plane will be in focus, while things outside will be blurred to varying degrees. So the first step is to properly figure out the focal plane in your portrait.

Once you’ve figured out this plane, the method in this tutorial involves creating a Smart Object from your base photo and then applying an Iris Blur to it.

The Iris Blur tool has white marker dots you can use to control where the blur begins to be applied.

But the problem is that moving one of these four markers also moves the other three. They key to Dinda’s technique is to hold Alt/Option while moving them, which allows each dot to be moved independently of the others. By doing this, the blur can be much more accurately applied to just the areas that should be sharp on the focal plane.


Watch the full tutorial above for a step-by-step walkthrough showing this technique on two different example portraits. You can also find more of PiXimperfect’s popular Photoshop tutorials on the YouTube channel.

Source: PetaPixel

How to Fake a Realistic Shallow Depth of Field in Photoshop

The Problem of Viewing Photos on Digital Displays

The Problem of Viewing Photos on Digital Displays

In the good old days of analog photography, print aspect ratio was ultimately determined by the paper size. In other words, if you printed an 8×10-inch, you had to crop your negative to a 4:5 aspect ratio. For slide film, the image aspect ratio was determined by the film format, for instance, 3:2 for 35mm film.

Life was pretty simple back then — photo aspect ratios were determined by either the paper or the film. Sure, we had to rotate each individual print to view them, which is now done for us automatically. Then we had to carefully position and mount them into an album, which is now also done automatically for us. If that weren’t enough, we had to store these relatively huge photo albums that can now be held in one hand or stored in a backpack.

For all of the convenience offered by digital displays, there is still one persistent problem that exists with electronic monitors when used to display photos and that is the size disparity between differently oriented images.

With minor exceptions, monitors are offered in two primary aspect ratios, 4:3 and 16:9. The 4:3, full-screen aspect ratio was chosen originally because it matched the standard television broadcasts of the time. When digital photography arrived on the scene, televisions were still CRT-based and far too bulky to even think about rotating, so it became common practice to simply downsize vertical photographs to fit on-screen (I’m certain the logic being, it was better to view properly oriented photographs even if they had to be downsized by nearly half the size of their horizontal counterparts).

Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with the tools available.

The current trend, again prompted by a change in the video broadcast standard, seems to be moving almost entirely toward the 16:9 widescreen format. This makes perfect sense because the older video format fits easily within the new wider displays and, for multi-purpose devices, it provides additional room for computer applications.

The problem with displaying digital photographs, however, remains unchanged. Maximum image size is still determined by the shortest screen dimension and there is still a nearly 50% disparity in size between horizontal and vertical photographs. As I stated earlier and want to reiterate, 16:9 displays are the only practical choice for video-only and multi-purpose devices!

My problem lies with devices, like digital photo frames and battery-powered digital albums or light boxes. Of all the display devices on the market, these photo-specific viewers should provide a superior photo viewing experience. They have no other purpose than to store, view, share and manipulate photographs. The very first problem makers should have addressed is the lingering conflict between display and image orientations that results in image downsizing.

To make matters worse, I see that the more expensive models of digital frames/albums are now offered almost exclusively in the widescreen format. Not only does this not address the image size problem, but the additional width is also too wide for horizontal photographs and way too short for verticals, so the result is more wasted screen space than on older 4:3 displays.

The $159 10-inch Skylight Frame (left) and the $150 13.3-inch NIX Lux Digital Photo Frame (right).

Apparently, photo-specific device makers feel compelled to include widescreen video in their repertoire, as if there are not enough video-capable devices on the market already. Oddly enough, in their transition from 4:3 to 16:9 they had to increase the surface area of the display by 25%, which accounts in part for the higher cost.

If instead of going wider they had added the same 25% in area to the height of the 4:3 displays, making them 1:1 square, full-sized images could be displayed in either orientation. A square display is not only more practical for photographs, but it is also a considerably more efficient screen shape for photographs than either 4:3 or 16:9 displays.

Additionally, a square display can be divided into a series of grids to display multiple same-sized, properly-oriented images. Since all photo aspect ratios are contained within a square, they can all be fit-to-screen or fit-to-grid utilizing as much display as they need, their size being determined by their aspect ratio, not the screen orientation.

Finally, since a square display essentially has no orientation, it can be held or mounted in any direction — no more rotating a device to view a larger image.

Other than being left with a bunch of less desirable stock, I cannot see a downside in switching photo-specific devices to a design that better serves their stated purpose. Unfortunately, unless manufactures see a demand, it is easier and less expensive for them to just do nothing.

About the author: Sal Ragusa is a lifelong photography enthusiast and a retired Air Force Master Sergeant. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Ragusa was the owner and artist of a digital photo restoration business in the greater New Orleans area from 1998 through 2009. You can contact him here.

Source: PetaPixel

The Problem of Viewing Photos on Digital Displays

Ep. 317: AI Is Coming To Getcha! Or Help. – and more

Ep. 317: AI Is Coming To Getcha! Or Help. – and more

Episode 317 of the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.
Download MP3 –  Subscribe via iTunesGoogle Playemail or RSS!

Featured: Street and portrait photographer, Jaleel King

In This Episode

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Show Opener:
Street and portrait photographer, Jaleel King, opens the show.  Thanks Jaleel!

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This AI may improve your photography. (#)

LEE makes improvements on filter systems. (#)

Here’s how to get your FTZ…for FREE. (#)

Samyang drops an 85mm f/1.4 on us. (#)

A judge’s ruling could spell trouble for photographers . (#)

A photographer wins a massive prize and raises questions. (#)

Meike’s 85 may (or may not) be worth consideration. (#)


Connect With Us

Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we build this community.

We’d love to answer your question on the show. Leave us an audio question through our voicemail widget, comment below or via social media. But audio questions are awesome!

You can also cut a show opener for us to play on the show! As an example: “Hi, this is Matt Smith with Double Heart Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and you’re listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast with Sharky James!”

Source: PetaPixel

Ep. 317: AI Is Coming To Getcha! Or Help. – and more

Portraits of People in the Remote Himalayan Villages of Bhutan

Portraits of People in the Remote Himalayan Villages of Bhutan

Bhutan is a small landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas of South Asia located between Tibet and India. Photographer Andrew Studer of Portland, Oregon, traveled to the country in 2017 and 2018 and spent weeks shooting photos of the places and people he encountered. His project is titled, “Faces of Bhutan.”

Studer says he originally expected to focus on the mountains and temples of the country, but upon arriving and meeting Bhutanese locals, he was drawn by their warmth and kindness. His interest then very quickly shifted toward street photography and portraiture.

“As I made my way to the more remote villages of Bhutan, I became more and more inspired to capture portraiture of the people,” Studer says. Here are some of his favorite photos from the trip:

After visiting the country the first time in 2017, Studer returned again in December 2018 in partnership with the travel portal MyBhutan. One of the places he focused on during his second trip was the Brokpa tribe in Merak.

You can find more of Studer’s work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Image credits: All images copyright © MyBhutan

Source: PetaPixel

Portraits of People in the Remote Himalayan Villages of Bhutan

Huawei P30 Pro is an ISO 409600 Low-Light Monster

Huawei P30 Pro is an ISO 409600 Low-Light Monster

Huawei has just announced its new P30 and P30 Pro flagship smartphones, and one of the biggest things Huawei focused on was smartphone quality. Both phones are low-light monsters, and the P30 Pro has a sensitivity that goes up to a staggering ISO 409600.

The back of the P30 Pro features a quad-camera setup with a 20MP 16mm f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, a 40MP 27mm f/1.6 OIS main camera, an 8MP 125mm f/3.4 OIS telephoto camera, and a time-of-flight (TOF) camera for depth sensing. The camera system uses a periscope design to provide 10x of near-lossless zoom. On the front of the phone is a 32MP selfie camera.

At its highly-anticipated unveiling event in Paris today, Huawei spent a considerable amount of time boasting that the P30 Pro has the highest light sensitivity found on the market today.

Huawei notes that while the P20 Pro unveiled in 2018 has a max ISO of 102400 that matches the Canon 5D Mark IV in sensitivity, the P30 Pro blows both of those devices out of the water with ISO 409600.

“It’s unbelievable,” says Huawei business group CEO Richard Yu, who says that the phone is able to capture photos in near darkness with just 1 lux of illumination — by comparison, DxOMark’s low light test only takes cameras down to 5 lux. Huawei says its 1/1.7-inch SuperSensing RYYB sensor that uses yellow instead of green can collect 40% more light than traditional RGB sensors.

At 1 lux, while the iPhone XS MAX and Samsung Galaxy S10+ both capture black frames and when the human eye can’t see anything, the P30 Pro can capture bright, vivid colors.

Yu says the P30 Pro can shoot photos of the starry night sky with a single non-long-exposure shot, showing an example of a f/1.6, 0.85s, ISO 102400 photo:

And the low-light capabilities are useful for parents who wish to capture precious moments of their kids at night — during bedtime, for example:

Turn on Handheld Night Mode, and you can shoot photos of auroras without a tripod:

And in Long Exposure mode, even more creative possibilities are opened up:

Huawei has earned a bad reputation of using misleading photos in its marketing again and again, but DxOMark tested the smartphone and gave it a best-ever overall score of 112.

“The zoom on its own will make the new Huawei an extremely tempting option for many mobile photographers, but the camera performs very well in almost all other areas as well,” DxOMark writes in its review. “The bokeh mode is the best we have seen; image detail and noise levels are excellent across all light levels; and the camera records high-quality footage in video mode.

“There is still some room for improvement in terms of color and artifacts, but these are relatively minor shortcomings that most users will be able to easily live with. [T]he P30 Pro is easily the most versatile mobile imaging tool to date, allowing you to cover a wider range of photographic situations than any other smartphone.”

Other photography features include a 50x digital zoom (that combines OIS and AI), an LED flash, and HDR.

On the video front, the P30 Pro can shoot 2160p at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 960fps.

Other non-imaging features and specs of the P30 Pro include a 6.47-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,340×1,080, Android 9.0 Pie, 128GB/256GB/512GB storage, a Kirin 980 processor, 8GB RAM, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, an in-display fingerprint sensor, IP68 water resistance, and a 4,200mAh battery.

The Huawei P30 Pro is available today over in Europe (in blue, white, amber, aurora, and black) and costs €999 (~$1,127) for 128GB of storage, €1,099 (~$1,240) for 256GB, and €1,249 (~$1,409) for 512GB.

Source: PetaPixel

Huawei P30 Pro is an ISO 409600 Low-Light Monster