Steering Wheels

On July 1, 2009 · Comments Off on Steering Wheels

To quote one of the most important philosophical tag teams of the twentieth century. “And now something completely different”

From Cars
From Cars
From Cars
From Cars
From Cars
From Cars
Under photo | Taged

Reconciling Science and Religion

On July 1, 2009 · Comments Off on Reconciling Science and Religion

Okay, I’m going to wade out into the waist deep water for a bit here. I have never understood the problem with reconciling science and religion. Maybe I should clarify that by religion I mean Christianity as it’s the only religion that I’m even halfway familiar with. On one side you’ve got an all powerful, all knowing, all encompassing God. On the other physical evidence. To get specific let’s look at creation. On the one hand you have the world created in seven days. On the other a universe that took billions of years to create. On the surface there appears to be a discrepancy, but let’s take a look at the God part again. We are dealing here with an entity that is omniscient. God can literally do anything. If God can create the earth and the universe in seven days couldn’t he have created it in such a way that the physical evidence would lead you to believe that it was created in some other way. To be brutally simplistic could not an all powerful being have created an earth that was littered with fossils that would lead you to believe, just looking at the evidence that can be seen and touched and experimented with, that dinosaurs and other creatures predated the date that strict creationists see as the beginning of the planet. That man and all the other life on the planet were built in such a way that again would lead someone to believe, based just on what their senses and power of reason could tell them, that all life evolved from some original source. If you grant that God is all powerful then the answer, by definition, is yes. I really don’t understand why you need to go any further than that. You could ask why, but again we are dealing with an all powerful, all knowing being. When faced with the problem of evil, say why does God let the innocent suffer and the wicked be rewarded the common answer from the devout is that God is so far beyond us that it is impossible for us to see his plan. Which makes perfect sense as long as you grant the existence of some kind of omnipresent being. Why then is it necessary to twist and distort the facts to come up with pseudoscience like Intelligent Design. It’s almost like the proponents of babble like Intelligent Design aren’t quite able to believe that God could be so creative. They want to replace a beautiful subtlety with hamfistedness. Grasping this idea would seem to make the path of discovery an unbelievable joyful activity for the devout. I could imagine the thought process of some believing scientist to be something like this. “Yes God I know in my heart of hearts that you created everything about six thousand years ago exactly like it is laid out in Genesis and other parts of the Bible, and by the way any discrepancies I find therein are a failure of my understanding and not of the actual text, but I am fascinated by how you brought this bit of light I’m seeing into being so that it appears to have originated a million years ago on the other side of the galaxy.” Every new piece of knowledge would be a tiny step closer to knowing the mind of God. Every new bit of data collected would be literally a message from God and a confirmation of his love for us. Imagine the entire universe is one big puzzle lovingly created for us to unravel, to discover what our ultimate purpose is. Of course being a non believer I may be missing something very basic. I am the person who had to raise his hand in an Old Testament class to clarify that we should take it as a given that God is good after all. Maybe it’s my lack of faith and certainty that obscure some reasoning that throws a monkey wrench into what I’m trying to get at. Anyway it’s late, so here are some pretty pictures in case you actually got this far.

From Nighttime

And one more.

From Nighttime

Fake Tilt Shift Photos

On June 27, 2009 · Comments Off on Fake Tilt Shift Photos

It’s always bugged me how confident people can be about what they see and hear, or touch smell and taste for that matter. Maybe it’s just me. Have you ever had the taste of cheap tequila just appear in your mouth? Or have some smell drift into your nostrils that nobody else can smell? I have, often enough to know it’s some part of my brain playing tricks on me. Hearing is just as bad, but vision is perhaps the least reliable sense. Of course most of the time this is a feature of the system instead of a bug. The brain can take a signal that is mostly noise and extract the meaningful data without us even realizing what it’s doing. A very useful skill if your hunkered down in the bush and from all of the data your taking in from your eyes, ears, nose and even the vibrations of the ground that you feel through your bare feet the short hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up and you know something is out there and it’s watching you.

Optical illusions illustrate just how much processing the brain does on the raw inputs that our eyes take in and even provide a window into the types of data crunching that the brain does. It goes beyond simple optical illusions though. Our brains can internalize and adjust for things that we don’t even understand and have never even spent any time thinking about. For an example lets look at miniature photography. If some one shows you a photo of diorama of small models, no matter how detailed the models there are subtle cues that your mind picks up on that tell you your looking at miniatures. This is so reliable that you can create photographs and even video that fool you into thinking that you are looking at a miniature. Some great examples of this were posted on Jalopnik.com this week here and here. The trick is playing with the depth of field of the photo. Basically this is means that the photographer is adjusting the area of the photo that is in focus. The lenses that are used and the conditions that miniatures are photographed under mean that most photographs of miniatures have a very narrow depth of field meaning that only a small portion of the photo is usually in focus. A clever photographer can manipulate this depth of field to make big things look small. The method used in the above links was done by using tilt shift lenses, meaning that the photographer can not only adjust the depth of field but the plane of focus. But there is an even easier way to do it, it’s not quite as effective but it’s much cheaper and is an even better illustration of how easy it is to fool the parts of the brain that process vision. All you have to do is take a photo and blur most of the photo. Here’s an example I cooked up in a few minutes in GIMP.

From Fake Tilt Shift

That one came out pretty good. better than this one.

From Fake Tilt Shift

I kind of like these too even if the effect is more subtle.

From Fake Tilt Shift
From Fake Tilt Shift

Even more reasons I find it hard to trust what I see.

More Metropolis

On June 22, 2009 · Comments Off on More Metropolis
From Con Trek at Metropolis
From Con Trek at Metropolis
From Con Trek at Metropolis
Under photo, travel | Taged

Microphone

On June 22, 2009 · Comments Off on Microphone
From All The Other Stuff
Under photo | Taged

Metropolis

On June 21, 2009 · Comments Off on Metropolis
From Con Trek at Metropolis

Just about caught up. Last weekend we went to Metropolis to shoot the Superman Celebration for Con Trek. My favorite shots.

From Con Trek at Metropolis
From Con Trek at Metropolis

I showed you this one to you before but I like it so much I’m including it again.

From Con Trek at Metropolis
From Con Trek at Metropolis
From Con Trek at Metropolis

I’ve got some more nice ones I’ll post during the week.

LA

On June 21, 2009 · Comments Off on LA
From Los Angeles

I took a few trips to LA in May. Instead of doing all of the touristy stuff I headed out to the mountains. Southern California is gorgeous. I could never live there but I love to visit.

From Los Angeles

An hour out of the city and your in God’s country.

From Los Angeles
From Los Angeles

Digital Photography tip #23: if the photo doesn’t pop like you think it should try black and white. A lot of the photos I took off the Angeles Crest Highway did have the drama that I remembered. Maybe it was the haze. A lot of them could be salvaged though by converting them to black and white and fiddling with the filter color.

From Los Angeles
From Los Angeles

Granville

On June 21, 2009 · Comments Off on Granville
From Granville 2009

It’s become a yearly tradition for Dad and me to go the car show in Granville each May.

From Granville 2009
From Granville 2009
From Granville 2009
From Granville 2009
Under automotive, photo

Wonderfest

On June 21, 2009 · Comments Off on Wonderfest
From Con Trek at Wonderfest

We went to Louisville to shoot Wonderfest for Con Trek. Of course I took pictures.

From Con Trek at Wonderfest

MTAC

On June 21, 2009 · Comments Off on MTAC
From MTAC – ConTrek

A while back I tagged along with Stephen, Suzie, Alan and Brittney to MTAC to help promote Con Trek

From MTAC – ConTrek

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Under photo | Taged ,
Our Moto
Not doing what needs to be done for over forty years.
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