Photography & Computing Feed

Where in the world...?

I'm going through some photos from various trips over the years and deleting, storing or working with them.  As I do, I find some that might be of general interest and actually, might spark conversation or curiosity about where the heck that was taken.  So, from an occasional series, "Where in the world...?' is the opening image:  Where do YOU think it was taken, what is it of:


Colorado Trip 111
Where in the world was this taken?

State Capitol Gift Shop items

 The trivets [alone, framed and on boxes] of the Iowa State Capitol [various interiors and exterior shots] are now for sale in the State Capitol Gift Shop in the Ground Floor of the Rotunda.  The State wants to focus on and promote Iowa artists and this is one of its efforts.  Support local artists and show your pride in the State of Iowa.  I hope to upload a gallery of the Capitol images to peruse in the near future.

Here's a new use for those icky [old] iPhone earbuds

So, you thought you couldn't abide the earbuds which came with the [old] iPhone?  Well here's a use for them which I discovered recently.  As you know, there are two ways to take pictures using your iPhone, with the usual front button and also pressing the "+" [volume up] button on the side.  But if you really want to minimize shake or movement, you can plug in the earbuds [I tested an old set on my new iPhone5 and it worked wonderfully] and press the "+" area on the cable and it'll take a picture.  



International Contemporary Masters vol. IV

I was selected to submit art for inclusion in "International Contemporary Masters Volume IV", a juried annual art book. The book was just published [images below], is available at Amazon, and an art exhibit starts April 16th in Las Vegas, NV, at the Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art.  My image, Yellow Boat on the Bosphorus will be part of the exhibition [and for sale]. 


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iPhoto Buddy - a great help for your iPhoto Libraries

I am mainly using Aperture but I do have and use iPhoto for various purposes and I want to put in a plug now for a great program that makes using iPhoto even easier than it is:  iPhoto Buddy.

What iPhoto Buddy does is help you manage iPhoto Libraries and see the contents of them without evening opening them up.  It has a number of features [details at the website].  It is a donationware application, which means it's free but a donation would be much appreciated [PayPal is fine] and I've provided $5 a few times over the years to recognize the creator's efforts and industry.

iPhoto09 Face Recognition

This is a wonderful new feature of iPhoto.  I am going through some older photographs in an older iPhoto library, family photos over two or three generations.  You pick a photograph of a person and click on the 'Name' icon in the lower left corner of the window of images.  You identify that person and then go to the Faces area, select the person, a new screen opens with the photos you have identified as containing that person and below is a group of photos with [perhaps] that person.  Click on 'confirm name' and you can quickly click on each image that is, in fact that person and skip others other that are not. 

Then, as the program learns the features, you can again hit the 'confirm name' button and new possible matches are suggested, perhaps not as easily matched but some are accurately selected.

What is really revealing is that when I clicked on my own image and looked at the group of photos which 'might be' me, in iPhoto's selection so many were either me, my sister or my children, Kate and Ryan.  It's pretty amazing that the iPhoto process could find the family resemblance.

More on Face Recognition

I found an article at the Aperture Users Network which discusses and explains the Faces 'tool' in iPhoto09 and thought I'd share it here.  As its author, David Schloss, says, the concept builds on the way the human brain allows us [or, at least some of us, since I'm not often right] to identify people over time.  I thought this was particularly fascinating:

The human brain is specifically designed to find faces, it's an evolutionary trait that's required to help us differentiate between our parents and a hungry lion. It also happens to be a bit of a tricky task for a computer to manage thanks to the changing nature of the human face.

Generally speaking facial recognition works by figuring out the geometric patterns between key elements in the face and assigning values to those patterns. Anything that has the same pattern is probably the same person.

But think about the huge variability of people over time. Children age, changing their faces both lengthwise and in width. As we age our features sag or get thinner or thicker–the geometric patterns between our nose and our chins might not change, but anyone who has seen a show like "The Biggest Looser" knows how radically a face can change over time. And most photo albums have photographs of people over a vast speriod (my wife, for example, is in photographs going back until January 2000, when I put my first image in iPhoto.

But not only are faces able to morph over time, they're often distorted by the lens, covered by objects like glasses headwear, scarves and many other objects that our brain just works around. Multiply that by the various directions the face is viewable from (a profile looks different than a straight-on head shot) and you see the enormous challenges inherent in finding a face in a crowd.

A great post for a speedier Aperture

Steve Weller runs the excellent blog called Bagelturf. He recently posted some great tips for speeding up your use of Aperture and, generally, your Mac. Recommended reading.

His ebook, by the way, Get Your Hands Around Aperture, is also excellent [link is on his site].

Here's an image for you, just a little fun picture of a Swiss Guard at the Vatican from last fall. I like the way he looks pensive and worried, biting his lip.