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June 2012
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Friday, 1 June 2012 Dereel Images for 1 June 2012
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Panoramas: can of worms
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Today was the first day of winter, but the weather was very nice, sunny and windstill, ideal weather for panoramas. And tomorrow the monthly extra photos were due, so I decided to take them today instead.

After getting SaladoPlayer working, it's clear that I need to refine my panorama schedule. I wanted a higher resolution version of the verandah panorama, and Callum Gibson wanted to see some other circular panoramas apart from that one. I chose the garden centre and dam panoramas. None of them were easy.

I had multiple problems with the garden centre. Since I had enough space, I decided to locate the bottom row so low that parts of the tripod mount were visible. Bad idea, especially since I managed to get a couple of fingers in the images. Hugin found them easy to identify, and I ended up with control points like this:


This should be control-points.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: control points          Dimensions:          869 x 627, 98 kB
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Clearly that can't work; nothing on the rotating part should be used for control points. And as this example shows, those two were the ones that Hugin decided had a “good” fit (0.10 and 0.12 pixels), while the sole real control point had an error estimated at 300 pixels.

In addition, the light conditions just Don't Work for pseudo-HDR. Some of the images came up like these two, which should stitch above each other:


This should be garden-centre-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden centre 4          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 2912 kB
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This should be garden-centre-13.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden centre 13          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1920 kB
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Note particularly the brown shadows in the second image. Not only does that not look good, it makes control point recognition very difficult, and I spent over an hour putting in manual control points. In the process I discovered that my choice of f/22 for the images (because of close branches above) was not a good one, and there was considerable diffraction fuzziness. Try as I might, I couldn't get the image to close over the verandah, and I ended up with this kind of discontinuity, after nearly 4 hours of work:


This should be garden-centre-try1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden centre try1          Dimensions:          11623 x 7538, 16176 kB
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Image title: garden centre try1 detail          Dimensions:          830 x 748, 150 kB
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The dam panorama was a problem for a different reason: how do you find control points in a clear sky? Ended up patching some in roughly where it belongs, but the result is a little patchy:


This should be dam-panorama.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: dam panorama          Dimensions:          13068 x 8865, 17712 kB
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And that one, too, took about 3 hours. For some reason stitching times were extreme today, up to 1½ hours per image, and for these ones I need to do two: an equirectangular projection for SaladoPlayer and a Miller cylindrical projection for the web page.

I wanted better resolution on the verandah. Previously I have taken the images at 9 mm focal length, which required two rows of 8 images each and a zenith image (currently I have a hole for the nadir). I had guessed that a better focal length would be 25 mm, but for the first attempt I chose 18 mm, taking three rows of 15 images, a row of 8 at the top, and a single zenith image, for a total of 54.

Here I really did need the f/22 because of the increased focal length. As usual I used fill-in flash here, but I only managed 26 images before the flash overheated. Clearly the aperture didn't help, and nor does the sheer number of images. So I tried again without flash. Including a couple of doubles, that's a total of 82 images! I didn't have time (nor the courage) to stitch this one today. Mañana.

Interestingly, the flash didn't necessarily help much in the dark corner. Here first with and then without flash, with mouseover alternation:


This should be verandah-centre-26.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah centre 26          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 2016 kB
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Image title: verandah centre 27          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1584 kB
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Still more things to think about.


New mattress: can of worms
Topic: general Link here

Just by chance, Yvonne noticed on Wednesday that ALDI still had mattresses available from their special offer over a month ago. I had looked at them at the time, but they were rolled up in a box, and I didn't much like that idea. In addition, they were only 1.88 m (6'2"?) long. But they were only $169, and after seeing other prices, it seemed worth a try—after all, it can always go back.

Today David Yeardley (who is back in town, but whom I haven't seen for nearly a year) picked one up and brought it by. Unpacked it and was amazed by the thinness of the thing, only about 8 cm. But on unrolling it, there was a hissing sound and the thing expanded to a full 23 cm (probably 22.86 cm or 9"), much thicker than the 15 cm or so I'm used to. It's a pity we didn't get it on video. Clearly once you've opened one of these things, you can't put it back where it came from.

And the comfort? Looks OK so far. That's a good thing too, because clearly returning it would be complicated.


Saturday, 2 June 2012 Dereel Images for 2 June 2012
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A day wasted with panoramas
Topic: photography, technology Link here

The sheer processing time for my high-res panoramas yesterday meant that I didn't get them finished. Started today with the verandah panorama, which despite my fears closed pretty well, and started to stitch it round 9:00. nona ran for about 20 minutes for the 56 images, so enblend started at 9:20. It used over an hour of CPU time and ran for 4 hours and 40 minutes!

Sat Jun  2 13:58:06 EST 2012
USER   PID %CPU %MEM   VSZ   RSS  TT  STAT STARTED      TIME COMMAND
grog 75510 61.4 33.0 1577968 1026852  ??  DN    9:20AM  61:45.92 [enblend]

It produced a 1 GB TIFF output file—with the wrong dimensions! All that work for nothing.

Decided to put off the repeat attempt until this evening, when I could leave the computer to do its thing, and attended to another panorama: in the meantime I had decided that yesterday's “garden centre” panorama wasn't worth keeping except as a bad example, and had taken another one. The weather today was similar, but this time I tried real HDR techniques and also included both automatically and manually exposed images (not to mention 6 with my hand in the way Yet Again), for a total of 31 images. Once again it wasn't easy. The control point detector couldn't find any similarities in some of the views into the sky, and of course I had a lot of masking to do. But finally I was able to start stitching. And then I ran into this horrible X bug where the mouse pointer oscillates between two screens, X loops, and I have to shoot it down! And I had no backup of the project file, so all that work was lost too. Started again, but soon lost heart, and just started the verandah panorama again and left it to do its thing. But from now on I'll make frequent backups of the project files.


Tidying up the place
Topic: general, gardening Link here

It's been over 9 months since I started putting up shade cloth as a wind break at the west end of the north verandah. Almost as soon as I put it up with these funny nail plates, some wind came up and tore them out again. So Yvonne got some wooden strips to nail over the cloth, and I have so far spent 8 months trying to drum up the energy to put them on. It has also been over 4 months since we picked up a new fridge in Ballarat. It has spent that time on the north verandah.

Neither of these improves the view. Today, in a rare case of motivation, I finally did something about it. Cleaned out the contents of the old fridge, took it to the garage, put the new one in, and finally nailed the cloth into place—most of it, anyway: there's still the bottom to do.


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Still, things are gradually looking better:


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Image title: North verandah          Dimensions:          7264 x 1740, 2896 kB
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Dinner with the Yeardleys
Topic: general Link here

David, Tuyết and Minh Chau are all back in Dereel now, and came for dinner. Minh Chau has been looking forward to seeing the animals again. Took a number of photos: