Tuesday, December 23, 2008


So I've been experimenting with stereo photography the last couple of days. I think I've got it down.

In the old days they used a single camera with two lenses that could take two slightly different views of the same scene, simultaneously. When combined on a card and placed in a special viewer the images would merge and create a three dimensional effect. The brain would do what it does naturally and interpret the angular differences between the two pictures as depth.

I just have the one camera, though, so I have to choose subjects that are perfectly still; no wind blown objects, falling snow, fast moving clouds, etc. I take one picture, then immediately move slightly to the right and take the same picture again being careful to frame the second photo with the same landmarks as the first. In Photoshop I combine the two images into a single picture with the left and right images next to each other.

Now admittedly it is far easier to get a three dimensional effect with a viewer, but few people have them lying around anymore. However I've found that it's possible to see a 3D image without a viewer if you don't mind going cross eyed. This takes a little practice, and it tends to give you a headache if you stare too long, but here goes...

Look at the image and let your eyes relax a little. You'll notice when you do that the two images will tend to drift together. Use this natural drift to your advantage and force the images to keep drifting until they seem to overlap and combine to form a third image in the middle of two fainter peripheral images (it may be helpful to back away from your screen so your eyes don't have to cross quite as much).

Once you've aligned the two images into the third you should begin to see depth of field. It's a bit difficult at first to hold the image, and again it may help if you back away a bit. Once the image is captured, slowly move closer to your screen while holding the image together to experience more detail.

The following is a demonstration of what you will see as you combine the two pictures together. This is a flat interpretation. The actual images tend to shimmer around the edges when you do it for real. This is due to your brain not getting quite enough information in the periphery to make sense of what it's seeing.

And here are some images for you to try. Migraine suffers beware.

(click to embiggen)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice was yesterday. I caught this picture of light on Gothic Mountain just as the sun rose, but before it ascended into the cloud layer.

Friday, December 12, 2008

p.e. no.08 - Frost/Moon

This morning a weird frost settled on all the vegetation. It had large flat crystals that covered the plants in irregular patterns and grew out to maybe a quarter inch. In sunlight it produced a halo effect.

Dennis, Cody and I finally finished closing the last two cabins today. There wasn't much to do except unhook the propane tanks and shut off the power. Then we all went skiing down the road toward town. All of us needed the practice.

Later, around sunset, I kept an eye out for the moonrise. It would be full tonight. I knew it would also rise later than the previous night, and probably farther north. I caught a few pictures of the red stained mountains while waiting for the moon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Photo Essay No.07 - Moonshine

Monday evening (12/01) the sky cleared. I captured one good picture of the Moon, Venus, Jupiter alignment.

Astronomy is automatic up here. At least for me. Clear moonless nights are both frightening (I'm sure I'll be eaten by a squirrel or a moose or something when I go out after sunset) and exhilarating. Orion is the most prominent feature of the sky outside my south facing windows. I can tell time by it. With all this snow on the ground, when the moon comes back the valley is almost bright enough to read a newspaper.

p. s. - This guitar wielding hypnotist puts me in a moon-watching trance whenever I listen. So despite the bigfoot threat I wandered outside the last few nights to soak up some lesser light...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Photo Essay No.06 - The Road has Closed

Last Monday (12/1) the county locked the gate at the trail head and officially closed our road for the season. We three caretakers and billy shuttled the Subaru down there the day before because it had been snowing heavily all weekend. We got it out just in time.

Since then I've been hitting the skis nearly every day. The last time I cross countried was twenty years ago. I went up and around the valley trying to work up my endurance for what will be a three and a half mile trip to town that is my commute to civilization for the next six months.