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Late Night Awesome – SMEAR THE SKY

We’re about to see something awesome together – these are the paintings of Matt Malloy, and what Matt does that makes his work so absolutely freaking captivating is that he takes a couple hundred time lapsed photos and stacks them in order to create some stunning visuals.

If that was a run-on sentence, it was totally worth it.  Check this out:

mattmollloyblazingsunsetmet

From Matt’s My Modern Shop portfolio, more directly the Blazing Sunset page:

Matt Molloy is a 28-year-old photographer with a diploma in graphic design. The three things he loves the most are art, music and travel. “When I got my first camera, photography was a simple way to document the highlights of my life, but that quickly evolved into an everyday hobby. Discovering new methods and techniques along the way kept it exciting, but the one that really stuck is timelapse photography. It’s amazing to have the ability to see a different perspective of time, how things change and evolve. Just recently, I discovered a technique that allows me to express timelapse and movement in a still frame, merging multiple photos into one image. Part of the fun is that you never know what your going to get until it’s processed.”

mattmolloybouquetofcloudsmet

mattmolloycrochetingthecloudsmet

mattmolloylandofthegiantlollipopsmet

mattmolloyraininggoldmet

mattmolloyredswooshmet

mattmolloyskyfeathersmet

mattmolloystipplingtheskywithstarsmet

mattmolloysunsettrafficmet

If you’d rather view the images as a full-scale gallery, click on any image below to start!

HUGE thanks to Matt AND My Modern Met for this, these photos have completely changed my day.  I hope they change yours!

ISS Star Trails TRON-IZED

This is astronaut Don Pettit.  Don’s got a whole bunch of cameras on board the International Space Station, or at least he did on missions Expeditions 30 and Expedition 31 to the ISS.

Don took a whole bunch of awesome photos that were turned into one cool time lapse video, but given a crazy Tron-like twist.  Watch this, it’s well worth a few minutes:

ISS Startrails – TRONized from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.

Now this guy, this is Christoph Malin, he is responsible for the video above.  He’s also awesome.

From the video:

Do you remember 1982’s “TRON” movie? The plot: A computer programmer (epic: Jeff Bridges) is digitized inside the software world of a mainframe computer, where he interacts with various programs in his attempt to get back out. I loved the light cycle races and strange solar wind ships…

Back in the real word the ISS is in a way one of these solar ships, constantly rotating around us. A tiny white spot, as it can be seen racing over the sky from time to time, when illuminated by the sunset (and sunrise ;).

This Video was achived by “stacking” image sequences provided by NASA from the Crew at International Space Station (see alsofragileoasis.org/blog/2012/3/on-the-trails-of-stars/). These “stacks” create the Star Trails, but furthermore make interesting patterns visible. For example lightning corridors within clouds, but they also show occasional satellite tracks (or Iridium Flashes) as well as meteors – patterns that interrupt the main Star Trails, and thus are immediately visible.

The many oversaturated hot pixels in some of the scenes are the inevitable result of ultrahigh ISO settings the Nikon D3s in ISS-use are pushed to for keeping exposure times short by all means (owed to the dramatic speed the ISS travels). As there are no dark frames or RAW data currently available, hot pixels are not easy to remove.

After the initial stacking, all images have been sequenced with Apple Motion and the Video cut and edited with Final Cut Pro X. Stacking done with StarStaX, get it here: markus-enzweiler.de/software/software.html

This Video would also not have been possible without that great minimal soundtrack “Eileen” by Lee Rosevere (members.shaw.ca/happypuppyrecords/index.html) that totally nailed the mood, as well as a short clip of “Window #3″ by Two Bicycles (freemusicarchive.org/music/Two_Bicycles/Beko_Crash_Symbols_1/07_Window_3). VIMEO MUSIC STORE ROCKS!

All sequences and images courtesy “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth”, Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center, eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/
Closing sequence © Christoph Malin / ESO.org / filmed at Cerro Paranal.

Thanks a lot to my favourite bad Astronomer, Phil Plait at BadAstronomy for first posting the film (blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/10/16/my-god-its-full-of-star-trails/) and many many thanks to Vimeo for the Staff Pick!

A truckload of thanks go out to NASA astronaut Don Pettit (petapixel.com/2012/06/25/astronaut-don-pettit-floating-with-his-huge-camera-collection-on-the-iss/) and his colleagues for taking these images, and making films like this one reality!

Finally, please also be aware of the growing issue of light pollution (plightwithlight.org/index.php?id=49&L=1) one can see in many of these scenes! Support IDA (darksky.org) on their challenge to preserve the night sky for us and our children, on reducing energy waste! And don’t forget, it is your tax money that lights up the sky!

Oh, and visit my friends at the UNESCO Project TWAN (twanight.org) for some of the coolest nightsky images and videos on our planet! One people, one sky!

Always believe in your dreams and make it possible!

All the best,
Christoph Malin
christophmalin.com

PS: At about 1:42 you see Comet “Lovejoy” rising…

PS2: Be sure to check out my other Movies:

“Astronomer’s Paradise”, vimeo.com/36972668 – featured on National Geographic
“The Island – Teaser”, vimeo.com/27539860 – featured on NG
“Urban Mountain Sky”, vimeo.com/40969904 – featured on Discovery Channel
“Black Hole Sun”, vimeo.com/24149087, featured on NG

facebook.com/christoph.malin
twitter.com/#!/christophmalin
twanight.org/cmalin

Indeed. I love the world, humans are awesome.

Thanks to PetaPixel for the Don Pettit photo!

Rrrrrrrroll, with Eight “R’s”

Call me crazy, but I adore art like this below.  Tumblr users Rrrrrrrroll have created a series of GIFs that feature a woman spinning around in a series of environments.  There’s really not much to say about this work, you have to just see it.  Even the creators were quoted as saying “We don’t really have any specific reasons for starting “rrrrrrrroll,” but we were all thinking how cool it would be if we could produce something while just hanging out.”

Fair enough.  Good enough for me.  Check these out below, these are just some of my favorites.  Lots more to see on the Rrrrrrrroll Tumblr page, so check them out!

Real-Time Light Painting!

Earlier this year, the light painters JanLeonardo Wöllert and Anton Julmy used a Real Time Light Painting program. It works for both live performance and video production!

On a basic level, this video is well worth a watch because it shows how many of the more intricate light painting photographs are created. However, when you get in to what the program is doing and its applications — the video is BEYOND FASCINATING!

As Google Translate tells me, the program takes the light source, and traces its movements, colors, and intensity. It then processes the material, and adds the images collected together. The final result can either be recorded, or immediately outputted in real-time for live events. There was something about how the program can map the light paintings to objects, buildings, or stages, but Google Translate wasn’t exactly clear–if you speak German, I would love to know what you can find out about the program! Feel free to comment, or shoot me an email at daphne (at) jimonlight.com

 

Image created by JanLeonardo Wöllert.

Moonlight Mini-Lesson

The above photo by Andrew Tallon was taken at 10:30 pm! What I love about this image is it perfectly exemplifies that our moon is just a reflector for sunlight.

So why don’t we see our night landscape this way, if a camera can capture it?

A number of fascinating factors!

Our moon’s albedo (the measurement of amount of light reflected by astronomical objects) is 0.12, which means about 12% of light which hits the moon is reflected. This amount is subject to fluctuation by numerous factors, including the phase of the moon. The amount which hits the earth’s surface can be–and frequently is–significantly less.

To capture the above image, the shutter was open for 30 seconds. Our eyes have our own tricks for seeing in low-light scenarios, which involve our fantastic friends the rods and cones. The outer segment of rods contain the photosensitive chemical rhodopsin (you might know this as visual purple). Cones contain color pigments in their outer segment. Our rods predominantly help us in low light level environments, which means that we have significantly decreased color perception in moonlight.

Cones are located in the center of the eye and are high-density. Rods meanwhile are located around the cones, so in extreme darkness, a 1° blind spot is developed in the central region of the eye where there are only cones. Rods reach their maximum concentration around 17° each direction from the center line, so sneaking some sideways glances actually improves your nighttime perception.

Our rods are not equally sensitive to all wavelengths of light. They are far more sensitive to blue light, and at around 640 nm, are pretty much useless! Click this graph from the University of New Mexico to check it out:

This means that the color of light the moon is actually reflecting appears significantly different to us because of its low intensity.

A neat example I found on the American Optometric Association’s Website which caught my interest was:

For example, in a darkened room, if one looks at two dim lights of equal illumination (one red and one green) that are positioned closely together, the red light will look brighter than the green light when the eyes are fixating centrally. If one looks to the side of the dim lights about 15-20 degrees, the green light will appear brighter than the red.

If you’re planning on shooting your own moonlight landscapes, be a light geek! It is hard to find focus at night, so place a luminous object near your focus, whether it’s a lantern, or a friend with their cell phone! If you want to be super geeky, tape a laser pointer to the top of your camera, then manually focus on the dot.

 

So, with all of this science in mind, how would you replicate moonlight now, vs how you did previously?

Ignacio Torres’ STELLAR – An Exercise in 3D Beauty

Ignacio Torres, an artist and pretty recent graduate of the University of North Texas, has another beautiful work getting some serious attention.  Meet Stellar, an exhibit that Ignacio created in a 3D sense.  From Ignacio:

This project began from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a stars death. I created imagery that showcased this cosmic birth through the use of dust and reflective confetti to create galaxies. The models organic bodily expressions as they are frozen in time between the particles suggest their celestial creation. In addition, space and time is heightened by the use of three-dimensional animated gifs. Their movement serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time.

You must see these GIFs.  They are actually quite stellar, and I’m not even meaning to pun.  From Ignacio Torres’ studio site:

So beautiful!  This isn’t all of them by any means – make sure to check out Ignacio’s project page on Stellar for more images of the set.  I just posted my favorites.

Let The Sun Blow Your Mind

Check out the sun.  Pretty effing hot, huh? (it’s even better HUGE.)

You can thank Alan Friedman for some of these pictures – Alan’s a great photographer and amateur astronomer.  I hope he sees himself as more than an amateur astronomer at some point, because, well, holy crap.  Alan did something awesome while taking pictures of the sun – he stuck a filter in front of his camera that filtered light in the H-alpha spectrum (which is around 6562.8 Angstrom, or 656 nanometers).

Yeah.  that is pretty ca-raaaaazy red.

In this image below, of four Balmer spectrum lines given off by Hydrogen being ionized, H-alpha is on the far right:

From the Discovery Blog, on how this whole process works:

The Sun’s surface puts out light at all wavelengths, but the surface isn’t solid. It’s a gas, and it tapers off with height. Normally, a thin gas in space emits light at very specific colors as electrons jump from one energy level to another in the individual atoms. But compressed gas in the thicker, denser part of the Sun mashes together all those energies, spreading them out, so it emits white light (that layer of the Sun is called the photosphere). Above that layer, where the gas is thinner (in a layer called the chromosphere), the hydrogen does emit light at specific colors. One of these, H-α, is in the red part of the spectrum, and in fact hot, thin hydrogen emits very strongly in H-α.

By plopping a filter in front of a telescope, you can block a lot of the light from the photosphere but let light from the chromosphere through. That’s what Alan Friedman did — he used a filter that let through a very narrow range of colors centered on H-α — to get this stunning picture. Well that, plus quite a bit of image processing! But everything you’re seeing there is real, and is happening on the Sun.

There are actually six Balmer hydrogen spectrum lines that exist, but two of them are in the ultraviolet spectrum, under 400 nm.  All hydrogen atoms exhibit these spectra – so what astronomers do is they use the h-alpha waves to see which heavenly bodies that exhibit these waves.  The resulting images look like these below.

(even better HUGE.)

(even better HUGE.)

Alan did all of this observing with his telescope – check this little thing out!  Like the Little Engine that Could!

I couldn’t leave these images out – Here are some images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO.  SDO is one bad-mopho of a telescope that measures all kinds of goodies from the Sun.  Check out the Solar Dynamic Observatory website as well, with images, video, and other amazing information.  The one directly below here is of the surface of the sun – the white bar in the lower left corner represents five thousand kilometers.

Thanks Discovery Blog, Wikipedia, and HuffPo!

Lightning in Oklahoma City – from the JimOnLight.com World HQ

For the first time in my life, I live in an apartment tower.  I’ve lived in apartments before, of course, but never anywhere that had floors above the second or third floor.  I’m on the thirteenth floor, with an amazing view of downtown Oklahoma City.

I have found a new kind of peace with this kind of view – when I make it home early enough that the sun is still up, it is amazing to watch the city get ready for the night time by turning on architectural illumination.  The city has a soul, and you see it at night when it is shining.

Another amazing sight at this vantage is storms.  Oh holy crap do I love storms and lightning – and Oklahoma City is right in that tornado-y, ass-kicking thunderstorms and hail alley of the country.  A few weeks ago we had a string of days that had afternoon thunderstorms – and I had my camera on the tripod!

Check these out – I hope it is a good start to your morning!

and I kid you not, when this wave was over, the freaking sun popped out, and BOOM – DOUBLE RAINBOW.

Light Paint Inspiration on a Wednesday Morning

I read this blog called Light Paint – it’s an outstanding collection of posted light art, and people submitting their excellent light paintings.  I needed some design inspiration this morning, so I was looking through the site and discovered four unbelievably beautiful pieces of light art.  Check these out, I had to share them with all of you.

from Philsometimes all it takes is bioluminescent algae…

from thegreatgildersleevefun with pendulums…

from photoholiclate night cully

from RonnieBruce – untitled, as far as I could tell