My Eaton Park Project

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As mentioned in an earlier post, I am currently taking daily photographs of Eaton Park.

I ride through everyday and one time I just stopped to take a breath and realised what a lovely place it is. I know that sounds silly in a way, but I was quite stressed out at the time and decided that instead of head down rushing to work, I should actually open my eyes and take a look around, at how lucky I was to need to go through this beautiful park.

So much goes on here, the park run that half of my family do, the community events, the friendly spaces, the visually stunning pond that prompted me to start taking photos for me again, allowing me to pause for a moment at the start of a hectic day.

There and then I decided to undertake a year long commitment to taking a photo in exactly the same spot everyday, the idea of a year long timelapse project wasn’t daunting, but all sorts of problems popped up.

How can I make sure it’s the same place, the same angle, all of the different exposures, what about days I miss, what’s my focus, what will change, will it be visually interesting enough…

But I started taking a photo of the pond, it usually has a glorious reflection in it, the pretty little building at the end of the boating pond can be seen in the distance and the angles are pleasing, plus the trees lining it will give us seasonal interest.

EatonPark_01

November 10th 2016, the first official Eaton Park Project image.

I tried to use the columns as markers and keep the building in the distance central, 5 months later and my most recent image below

Eaton park project

I have also very recently added another view to my daily capture, I wanted to add in another aspect in the park, and I remembered how spectacularly the trees in the centre ring looked when they came into full blossom, so in readiness for that, Ive added this view.

Eaton blossom

A surprising thing to come out of this project is now I’m noticing more and more of the Council workers looking after the park day after day whatever the weather, I’d never realised how much they put into making it such a lovely place to visit.

I’m starting to think about extra shots I’ll need and what will bring the final film together, so am researching the Park, and looking at the community events that take place now.

http://friendsofeatonpark.co.uk/history/

The above image is from the friends of eaton park and I will hope to get in touch with them when I am a little further along in my project.

I will also need to contact – Picture Norfolk, Norfolk Heritage Centre, Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, The Forum – as they hold archive photographs.

A quick search on their site got me these results

I’m thinking very much in moving my images, but should I consider video too, or will that detract from the impact of the long-term timelapse…

Link to my Flickr set where I try and upload monthly. https://flic.kr/s/aHskVqLFQF

Watch this space as the project develops.

ps, occasionally I am unable to take a ‘clean’ image, but I will keep them in as they are part of the parks character…

Eaton park project

Kodak Ektra – first look, image comparison & review

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My Kodak Ektra arrived on Friday and I have been trying to get to know this camera first, phone second, device as much as possible.

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Kodak Ektra top buttons, including strap attachment

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra leather case and packing

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra – fresh out of the box

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra’s on-screen keyboard

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra’s proprietary charging lead…

Apart from the proprietary lead (why, why, why) it’s a fairly nice device, it’s lighter than it looks and much lighter than my Sony Z5.

It has a very thick and chunky form factor and whilst the divine luxury case also adds to the bulk it really focuses on the camera aspect, but is also part of the drawback, because as soon as you put the case on, it becomes unwieldy as a phone…

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Taking a phone call with this case becomes a farce – see above – I’m not sure what to do, talk through the leather, speak into the case, undo the other clip and let the case dangle… I really don’t know, my best fix – use bluetooth headphones!

In Use

In use, it’s really quick and snappy, opening apps is fairly quick, I currently have a Sony Z5 which is no slouch in the data stakes, but this seems slightly faster.

I miss not having finger print recognition and also the security of having a little waterproof protection is becoming standard these days, but not on the Kodak (?)

One big bug with the case though – it covers up the charging port, this is really, really annoying as the case is a snug fit – you really need to force the phone out and quite a few times I’ve wondered if my phone is just going to fly across the room as I exert so much pressure to extract it from the confines of it’s cosy case… and the more I have to pull it in and out of the case the less safe my phone will be in the case…

Using the Camera

The big deal on this phone is the camera… With a sharp double click on the beautifully styled ‘K’ button on the top side, the camera app pops open from any situation.

I like the on screen dial and the amount of control you can have in manual, but, on this first look review, I have barely touched on the Manual control, and have been playing with all of the other Auto options.

I like what I see, but I have reservations about the lack of feedback when I press either the on screen virtual button, or the dedicated shutter button – did the picture take, can I move? – only when the preview popped up, did I feel secure that the photo actually saved. On my Z5 as soon as you click, a wheel appears, to show it’s saving then when that’s gone you know it’s saved.

Maybe this is something I will get used too..

Also why can I only take 21mp images in the 4:3 aspect ratio? If I want to take a 16:9 it drops to only 16Mp… (Obviously cutting into the image)

Comparison Images from flickr

All images are taken with Auto settings.

Ektra Lake view (below)

Kodak Ektra Tests

Z5 Lake View (below)

Comparison Z5 images

– Kodak Ektra – Tree (below)

Kodak Ektra test shots

z5 Comparison tree (below)

Z5 comparisons

Kodak Ektra Homepride man (below)

Kodak Ektra test shots

Z5 Homepride Man (below)

Z5 comparisons

Kodak Ektra – Wreath (below)

Kodak Ektra test shots

Z5 Wreath (below)

Z5 comparisons

Kodak Ektra Lake Landscape taken in 16:9 ratio (below)

Kodak Ektra Tests

Kodak Ektra Lake Landscape 4:3 (below)

Kodak Ektra test 4:3

Z5 Landscape (below)

Comparison Z5 images

In Conclusion

 

I do like the images that the Ektra is producing, and the pin sharpness just edges it in some of the demo images above, so it is better than my Z5 in that respect. But, it’s thicker, bulkier and the case spoils the phone aspect… hmmm…

I miss the fingerprint recognition, but is it forgivable for better images…

It functions as a mobile device nicely, speedy apps, quick to launch camera, nice keyboard, swype texting as standard.

I have had this phone for just 3 days, but will be moving more in-depth over the coming days and moving to Manual mode, whilst trying to get along with the awkward case and the charging problems that brings…

I will also pit it against my carry camera of choice, the fuji X30…

to be continued…

 

Kodak Ektra – a perfect match?

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Christmas is coming early!

I have been following the development of this new camera phone from Kodak, and today I got my pre-order notification.

I already have a fantastic camera on my phone (it’s a Sony Z5) but really wanted to check out this innovative and rather cool looking kodak offering.

Pre-ordering gives me the free case, and I chose the natty Tan version, it should arrive by mid-december and I will be giving it a thorough workout as I have started a project cataloguing the seasons in my local park that I just happen to pass through every morning.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/traceytutt/

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Currently I am employing my Sony Phone or my portable on the go Fuji x30, but I’m always on the lookout for what could be a perfect combination of snapper and phone.

Full specs don’t seem to be out for the kodak, like full physical specs, but the data numbers are in.

Spec Details
Camera 21MP main camera with Kodak non-reflective lens coating. Aperture f2.0.

Optical Image Stabilization and Auto Focus.

13MP front-facing camera.

Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) & HDR Imaging.

4K Video Capture.

Internal Leading Helio X-20 Decacore Processor

3000 mAh battery

3GB RAM

32GB Memory, expandable with MicroSD cards

4K Video Capture.

I will be interested to see how it feels in hand, being quite a bit thicker and I’ve also gleaned that the internal camera may well be the same as my current Sony… watch this space…

ueabroad_11

 

Creative Coding Week 1 & 2 #creativecoding

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Future eLearn have some fantastic free online courses, MOOC’s and I have been immersing myself in their creative coding one at every opportunity. Although I’m a couple of weeks behind the latest modules, because I can take it and learn at any time, I’ll catch up, or just finish at my own pace, therein lies the beauty and flexibility of the concept!

Use computer programming as a creative discipline to generate sounds, images, animations and more, with this free online course.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/creative-coding

Coding

In the first two weeks I have made my name in a lovely little interactive drawing canvas, see above, and we have been introduced to great interactive and digital artists using processing and creative code within their art.

I am hoping that I can spot a link between these kind of basic interactions and my own interactive sculpture, or artworks, as I still want people to interact and not be passive within galleries or museums.

Daniel Rozin, particularly interests me and one of his latest works is fascinating to watch…

List from the course of artists and designers and researchers in interaction design.

Photography Comparison D90 D7000 X30 Part 1 – ISO

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For a long while I have wanted to compare my D7000 with a D90, and as I am in the process of producing a simple photography elearning package to explain Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to compare them side by side for quality and noise handling at extreme iso.

The D90, a classic and fantastic camera since 2008. Used with my 17-55mm f2.8 portrait lens.

The D90, a classic and fantastic DSLR camera since 2008. Used with my 17-55mm f2.8 portrait lens.

D7000

D7000 (2010) using a 50mm prime lens

The Fujifilm X30

The Fujifilm X30 (2014) a capable and portable camera which you can take full manual control of.

Recently I have brought an Fuji X30 to be my always carry camera, so thought I’d add that in too…

I could list all of the stats and specs, but if you want that in-depth number crunching check out the great reviews on dpreview..

D90 http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond90

D7000 http://www.dpreview.com/products/nikon/slrs/nikon_d7000

X30 http://www.dpreview.com/products/fujifilm/compacts/fujifilm_x30

Starting with ISO the photos I have taken are really quite revealing…

D90 ISO comparison

Comparing the ISO handling of the D90, a lot of digital grain comes in at 3200 (top left) compare to ISO 400 (bottom right)

The D90 really takes an excellent picture, but it’s ISO quality when you ramp it up to the top of it’s numbered range is pretty bad, the digital grain is very present and I would find this unacceptable, even at 1600 the grain is too obvious.

D7000 ISO comparison, using both the 50mm and 17-55mm lens

D7000 ISO comparison, using both the 50mm and 17-55mm lens

The D7000 has fantastic control of grain, even at 3200 the resulting image is acceptable to use, the only problem with this image is I have got the focus slightly wrong, but there’s not a dot of grain to bother the image… very impressive. I used both lenses just in case it made any difference as I used the 50mm on the D90.

The Fuji X30 ISO comparison

The Fuji X30 ISO comparison

The X30 did surprisingly well too (even with it’s smaller sensor), although it has handled the grain in a different way, it seems somehow smoother, perhaps more blurry at the 3200 end, which isn’t too bad a thing.

On this occasion the D7000 has it on ISO and this from a camera that’s 5 years old, I remember when I bought it I tested it’s ISO against my other work camera, the Canon 5D and it excelled at low light performance in those tests too…

I would be very interested to check out the new D7200 alongside these cameras, but my budget only goes so far!

All of these images are straight jpegs from the camera with no alteration, and no in camera enhancement, put into photoshop so I can compare them directly side by side.

I will be using these sets of images to explain ISO in an elearning package I’m putting together for my students currently, it takes a bit of time to setup, but will be well worth it..

Next comes the Aperture control… but that’s for another post!

Beautiful processing #processing

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At last a free online course I’ve really wanted to take has become open https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/creative-coding .

You will need to download the processing environment to take part, which I have already started to look at myself (processing.org) alongside a couple of great books – Processing, a handbook for designers and Getting started with processing –  I have taken myself through a first few stages but going through the processing showcase pages they have a whole vimeo group devoted to it and I just had to share this beautiful example of what I want to do with processing.

It uses a kinect camera and depthkit to record data that processing then interprets… great stuff…

processing_buildcities

https://vimeo.com/groups/processing/videos/121096680

please use the link to see it, as wordpress can strip out the embed code…

https://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=121096680&force_embed=vimeo.com&fullscreen=1

Build the Cities from Raven Kwok on Vimeo.

Musical Code

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More and more intelligent and dynamic interactions can happen within today’s browsers and networks, when I visited the Digital Revolution at the Barbican in London last year, there was an audio piece by Zach Lieberman called Play The World, where you could play international radio-stations on a piano. Each key makes the system listen to radio around the world to find one playing that particular not, then feeds that radio station onto the speakers.

This mock up is from Zach Liberemans DevArt page with all of the information on from the project

Connections between live tweets and graphic interfaces have been around a long time, (visible tweets, tweetbeam, and more) but I discovered that those clever audio tinklers have also got tweets to play music!

Although The Listening Machine is no longer live it has archived a few excerpts from different times of the day and it makes for interesting listening as they do have their own tempo and feel…

listeningmachine

So with some clever coding you can interact with live comments, this leads me with the question; could you do this with a physical interaction, with something like a kinect or a leap motion, so instead of a physical key, a gesture can control the trigger?

found via @MetaMusical @ConversationEDU @olliebown – https://theconversation.com/explainer-interactive-composition-33594

The Power of Processing #processing #nordevcon #rumyra

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Last friday I went to the NorDevCon http://www.nordevcon.com/ and the most inspirational talk was the one using code to control web API’s from Ruth John. Ruth works for the Lab at O2, UXing, designing and front end coding.

She embarked on a journey back into her vj’ing past when using tape and video (heavy on the thundercats) and wondered if she could recreate the entire experience using code loading directly into a web browser.

She started with a ‘simple’ css animation and showed us the development of the stages she took, adding another functionality until she eventually had video dynamically loading in time to the beat of a music track (also dynamically loaded) she also had her working browser reacting to noise input from us!

These web apis are out there, people are animating, drawing and interacting with their browsers, they are being developed and improved and new functionality added day by day.

Ruth John’s slides from NordevCon

http://rumyras-talks.herokuapp.com/web-vs-native-nordevcon/#/

You need to have a play with this… the animating beats are amazing and got me excited about more code interactivity.

Direct link to the fun demos – http://dancing.rumyra.com/

Ruth recommended this – The Web Audio API O’Reilly book by Boris Smus is free to read online!

I spoke to Ruth afterwards, asking if she had tried interacting between a leap motion and the browser and she thought that it would be possible, so not only can images and video load dynamically, but it could be controlled by gesture.

Explaining my interest and where I was in my research – at the beginning – she recommended that I use javascript as my language to get going on this.

But alongside the .js for mobile/web interactivity, I wanted to look into processing, again this is able to draw, animate and interact within your browser, I don’t know if they are compatible, but will endeavour to find out, but lots of things to play with and look at!

processing examples

https://processing.org/examples/

Books

Getting-Started-Processing-Hands-Introduction

Form-Code-Design-Architecture-Briefs form+and+code

Interactive Code & Art #creativecoding

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In all of the projects that I have undertaken, my coding knowledge has helped me through, my past knowledge of creative and fluid CSS design, javascript and flash variables and being able to dissect html and plugins. My biggest struggle was with Max MSP  https://cycling74.com/ as it was a totally new language and as usual I was trying to do something with it that had never been done before, (link to my research on Max pages) but my determination drove me to hack, tweak and cheat it so I got my desired result.

With my leap motion testing it also needs a specific language to start to develop your own content, and in the past I have used what comes in with whatever software has been recommended, so wanted to look at programming from a different perspective, can it in it’s purest form create art, create interaction and how easy is that?

I found the video below and it covers a wide variety of coding for visualisation, cinder, processing, the rgbd toolkit (which uses a kinect to make amazing video effects) and shows the very powerful way artists could harness code, but I don’t want to just ‘code’ and have virtual art and or sculptures, I want to make it more interactive and perhaps physical, could it be plugged into live reactive projects? How easy is it to translate this into a physical object, through 3D printing, manipulation and processing.

Can you use a leap motion, an AR experience, an oculus rift to help generate the code, and it be wireless?

I’m going to systematically look through the beginnings of this type of code and see if I can apply it to my kind of art…

The text below comes directly from PBS Off Book

Programming plays a huge role in the world that surrounds us, and though its uses are often purely functional, there is a growing community of artists who use the language of code as their medium. Their work includes everything from computer generated art to elaborate interactive installations, all with the goal of expanding our sense of what is possible with digital tools. To simplify the coding process, several platforms and libraries have been assembled to allow coders to cut through the nitty-gritty of programming and focus on the creative aspects of the project. These platforms all share a strong open source philosophy that encourages growth and experimentation, creating a rich community of artists that share their strategies and work with unprecedented openness.

Google Cardboard – VR out of a box!

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So at last I had enough time to finally put together the VR Google Cardboard DIY headset. I had previously purchased one off of ebay, but it was so poorly cutout and made, I couldn’t even fit an old ipod touch into it, however, what it did get me was the lenses and the NFC chip that are actually quite tricky to get hold of.

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First step was to cut out the paper printouts and make sure they all would fit into my lovely bit of cardboard, I found that the regular corrugated stuff was not very usable.

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This the lovely thin but firm cardboard I rescued from a magimix box, just the right type of stuff.

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Unlike this rubbish that I bought from eBay…

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Tools needed included plenty of blades and my trusty scalpels…

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plus some good old spray mount, don’t you just love how it covers everything in a fine mist of stickiness 🙂

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Safety ruler at the ready and I start with the complicated section to hold in the lenses.

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Straight sections are a breeze but the circular areas look impossible to get smooth.

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Looking pretty good,  but it does take me 45 minutes to cut all the fiddly bits out, but I am very pleased that I haven’t lost my knife skills.

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Another hour sees all of the areas cut and ready for assembly, unfortunately I don’t have instructions as to how it all fits together and which way the lenses go in so a bit of youtube surfing ensues…

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Lenses and NFC chip ready to go in, but where?

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This is where the NFC chip for Google Cardboard goes!

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Add a bit of double sided to keep the lenses in position and squeeze it together.

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Put into the cut out slots and it’s all fitting together nicely. add a rubber band and some double sided velcro and it’s finished, although there seems to be a fatal flaw that my phone can just slip out either side, hmm, will have to look at an updated design for that bit…

 

Space in the side for my phone to slide out!

Space in the side for my phone to slide out!

Unfortunately, because my box is not plain cardboard it looks like I now have a magimix VR food viewer, but hey let’s give it a go!

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The first experience I want to try with GC is the Paul McCartney and Jaunt 360 app that I have already downloaded onto my phone.

http://mashable.com/2014/11/20/paulvmccartney-vr-app/

When I tried this without the GC it was amazingly clever, as the sound moves around as you turn, and with good headphones on is mightily impressive.

Then I have a look at what’s available within the Google Cardboard app itself on the Play store, it has a few things, one of the nicest was ‘windy day’ a cute little animated 360 film about a mouse with a big hat on a windy day. The funniest thing about this was I was obviously facing the wrong way and didn’t realise there was a character ‘stood’ behind me, I was just looking at the falling leaves!

The next demo was of sculptures that you could look all the way round, very nice, but not very immersive…

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.samples.apps.cardboarddemo&hl=en

I then started to search for a roller coaster 360 demo and I plumped for FiBrums offering, whicvh after I realised I needed to stare at the go lever it was very cool, in fact I was almost glad when it finished, very, very clever.

http://fibrum.ru/index_en.html

I also had a look at another offering from Jaunt – Kaiju Fury  which wasn’t very inspiring, but there are lots of things out there to play with.

I will start looking at things from a slightly different angle with my newly built Google Cardboard goggles and need to put them together with my leap motion for some truly immersive visual feasts!

So yes, it was definitely worth waiting for, and you cannot appreciate the experience without having a go, so I highly recommend making a pair for yourself, but if you don’t have 3 hours to put one together I would buy the official version from one of the 4 big companies that sell them such as dodo case or unofficial cardboard, this link takes you to the google page that explains a little more and gives you a link to the makers sites.

https://www.google.com/get/cardboard/get-cardboard.html

Give it a go!

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