… so here’s a California bluebell, Phacelia campanularia.
One way to display a panorama without using 360Cities:
Clicking on the picture (if you’re using an older version of Safari) or the title in the lower left will take you to its Flickr page, where you should see it at a much larger size.
Update: This panorama is now an “Editor’s Pick” at 360Cities. Here it is using their embed code:
You can see another, rather different one of my panoramas at the bottom of their homepage.
This past week has been a bit too eventful for my taste, but I did get a chance to stop for lunch at one of the better fast-food places in town.
We had a brown Christmas here this past winter. We’re going to make up for that with a white Easter tomorrow, or so the weatherman says, with one to three inches of anthropogenic global warming falling after midnight.
Today was the first time in nearly three weeks that the wind wasn’t furiously howling all day long. I was finally able to get out to the botanical garden to take some pictures.
Here’s a handy schedule of expected cherry blossom bloom times, in case you should be heading to Japan during the next few months. If you can’t go to Japan, you can visit the botanical garden in Wichita, where the Okame cherry, above, has just started flowering.
The Japanese apricot is in full bloom now. Thanks to new construction and landscaping, it is no longer possible to get close to tree, but you don’t need to get close to appreciate its powerful fragrance.
I did some preliminary spring cleaning in the tiny garden out front, and kept one of the plumes from the clump of ornamental grass (Miscanthus sinensis?) to give Helicon Focus a workout. The picture above was composed from 48 slices and has a depth of field of about three inches.
… but there was some color at the botanical garden yesterday.
A funeral at the cathedral.
While going through my archives, I came across an egregious example of cultural appropriation, recorded several years ago at a performance by a local ballet troupe. Be sure you’re sitting down before you view the horror, lest the shock stagger you.
Unsurprisingly, a search online for “peter pan cultural appropriation” turns up many exposés and testimonies, from The Smithsonian on down.
It’s not just Native Americans who are victimized in Peter Pan. Pirate culture is treated without utterly without respect. An otherkin is labeled a “fairy” and reduced to an object of moe. This toxic tale in its various forms has warped the sensibilities of innumerable impressionable children for generations.
More fun with Helicon Focus. The picture of Hatsune Miku below the fold was composed from a stack of 76 f/5.6 slices. The figurine is eight inches tall, including the base.
I recently discovered that LED light bulbs are available in “daylight” varieties, with a color temperature of 5000 K. I used them in taking these pictures, and I didn’t need to do any color correction. Previously, when I did series of pictures indoors, I had the choice of using flash and waiting increasingly long periods as the flash recycled between shots, or using incandescent lights and fixing the colors in Photoshop.
It’s going to be a few months before I return to the botanical garden, so here’s a toy soldier instead. Helicon Focus‘ RAW-to-DNG feature let me get decent exposures despite the miserable lighting.
More fun with Helicon Focus. The image above was assembled from 50 frames, the one below from 55, all at f5.6. The final depth of field in both cases is about an inch and a half. Click to see at full resolution.
Update: Uploaded a better version of the Humvee.
Saturday was the fall orchid show at the botanical garden. Although it was Halloween, Dracula vampira 1 was missing. However, there were plenty of others to photograph, some spectacular, some bizarre.
The show gave me an opportunity to test Helicon Focus, another focus-stacking application. The picture above was compiled from four slices using the default settings, the one below from five.
I also ran a stack of images that Photoshop had trouble with through Helicon. It did much better, though the result could be just a tad sharper. The lack of resolution might be due to the particular settings, and once I figure everything out I might be able to get better results. (The same set processed by Zerene Stacker can be seen here.)
I’ve been experimenting with the trial version of Zerene Stacker. The picture above of Dr. Huey, the most common rose in cultivation, ((Dr. Huey is frequently used as a rootstock for garden roses. Often suckers from the vigorous rootstock overwhelm the grafted variety and take over, producing a tremendous display of red in late spring. Dr. Huey rarely reblooms, though. This is the only year I’ve seen it in flower during later months.)) was assembled from 63 slices, each at f/5.6. Z Stacker works pretty well, but the final image tends to be grainy, and there are often some thread-like artifacts. I cleaned most of them up, but you can find a couple near the right edge of the picture in the full-sized version. (Click to embiggen.)