Monthly Archives: August 2009

Photographic "level of detail" -continued

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about level of detail in photos and how to best present it on the web.

In an interesting temporal coincidence, I ran across this post on Jay Kinghorn’s blog today, where he talks about Seadragon , which is Microsoft’s tool for creating deep-zoom images on-line.  This looks like it would be one way to present high res images that you can zoom into and experience the sensation I described.  Another link in his article leads to the Zoomify website .

Since I don’t think I can do everything I need to with Seadragon on my Mac, I took a look at Zoomify.

Zoomify Express seems to offer the capability I think we need to show photographic level of detail.  It is a free zoom and pan authoring, publishing and viewing application and has downloads for both Mac and Windows available.  It also makes it difficult to download the high res version of the photo.  I didn’t have time tonight to figure out how to embed the Zoomify window directly into my posts, but that is something I want to do.

Here’s the result, using the same photograph of a gator that I posted before.

What do you think?

Canaveral National Seashore

Intro / Description

Three of us from the Photographic Interest Group went over to the Canaveral National Seashore yesterday to explore. We entered at the north end near Turtle mound. We could only go about 2 or 3 miles into the park, the road was closed after that.

CNS is a national park located on the east coast of Florida, south of New Smyrna Beach.  It’s a very scenic place and there are many activities available.  The surf was very high yesterday (due to Hurricane Bill?) and there were quite a few people out taking advantage of it.

In the short time we were there, we also saw people fishing:

and canoeing:

There’s a lot of wildlife in the area, but the number of people here at certain times of the year (like yesterday), probably makes it difficult to see much of the animal population, unless you’re here when the people aren’t. We did see some wildlife – here’s a CNS Anole:

And a sandpiper:

We also stopped by the Eldora Statehouse, which is a historic example of earlier life along the Mosquito Lagoon.

Speaking of mosquitoes, make sure you bring some bug spray – they were pretty vicious at times.

Photo Hints

Bring what you have. I don’t like to take my expensive DSLRs into the hot sun near the ocean for long periods of time, but you might if you’re careful. Shorebirds can be small (and fast) – so to get prize winning bird photos here, you’ll need to be lucky or a very dedicated and good photographer willing to forgo other activities. It might be a good place to practice "birds in flight" photos in your spare time – Pelicans often cruise down the shoreline. If the surfs up, that can be fun to watch / photograph too.

One non-photo hint:  Be careful where you park.  The rangers are rather zealous about enforcing the parking regulations.  Parking on the grass is not allowed – even when it isn’t specifically posted.


The beach is a nice place to take some photographs and CNS is a very nice beach. We originally went there to explore a new place as a bird photography location.  We didn’t find many birds, but we only stayed for a short time. I wonder if other times of the year would be more productive?  The surfing would have been an excellent photo opportunity if I had been prepared for it (beach clothes, longer lens, etc).

If you’re here to visit the beach, bring a camera – over the course of of your visit, interesting photo opportunities will present themselves.

I have a few additional photos of this visit posted on Flickr .

Address: Visitor’s Center
7611 S Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
(386) 428-3384
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Come for the beach – take some pictures too.

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Photographic "Level of Detail"

I haven’t seen this discussed in the photographic blogosphere so I thought I’d comment on it.  One reason may be that it is difficult to illustrate given the photo posting resolution that we often limit ourselves to on the web.

You can experience a very good example of what I’m trying to write about here when you visit an Ansel Adams print exhibition in person.  For instance, viewing his "Winter Sunrise " from across the room, the print looks well composed and shows the overall scene of some mountains with areas of light and dark.  Depending on how far away you are, most details are obscured by distance.  As you slowly come closer, the details start to emerge.  The closer you come, the greater the detail, until when you are standing right next to the print, you can see all sorts of things you didn’t see from across the room – subtle clouds, interesting light on the horse and trees, etc.  The emergence of detail draws you into his photographs.

This experience – the discovery and exploration of a photograph is quite interesting and pleasant and is hardly ever possible on the web.  On the web, we get one look at a photo – the low res "across the room look".  The high res, up close version, where the subtle details emerge, is saved away on our hard drives, mostly due to worries about theft of our copyrighted, intellectual property (photographs).

The "level of detail" effect is something we all should strive for in our captures, prints and displays.  When we do this well, there are a myriad of things for the viewer to discover as they view our prints.  And while it is easiest to observe in a well made print, we should also try to make it an interesting thing on the web.  When we achieve a good "level of detail" capture, how do we show it off?  Here’s a couple of recommendations:

1.  Study examples by the masters and and use them as we strive for this effect.  Use it to draw in our viewers and keep them coming in for more.  Print our work and hang it up where people can see it.

2.  When we have a nice photo with some good detail and want to present it on the web, present the normal low res web version, along with a high res detail insert or two, like this:
Gator - whole print
Gator photo: "Across the room view"

Gator - partial crop
Gator photo: "Middle of the room view"

Gator - close in detail
Gator photo: Close in detail view.

3.  I haven’t tried this, but another solution might be a video of the photo using a "Ken Burns" type of special effect.  A "zoom in" motion video seems like an ideal way to showcase this type of photo and protect the intellectual property that everyone seems so worried about losing.  Does anyone know of a ready made solution already out there?

P.S. There is also a very interesting inverse effect to what I’m talking about here.  You will really enjoy visiting an exhibition of Ansel Adams prints at the same gallery with paintings by Monet .  Monet understood the human mind’s ability to "fill in the details".  If you approach many of his paintings from across the room they will look very real at first and they gradually dissolve into impressions in the middle distance and paint strokes when you are very close!  This is a wonderful contrast to Ansel Adams prints, don’t you think?

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Return to Black Point

The last time we were at Black Point Wildlife drive was back in May ( when water levels were down and there were very few birds anywhere around.

Yesterday, we made a return trip to see what the place is like after three months of almost daily rain in the Central Florida area.

We arrived right at sunrise, which was very pretty.
Sunrise reflections

Water levels are much improved: areas that were dry in May are once again filled.  However, we were disappointed by how few birds there were in the area.  My theory on this (which I didn’t come up with until the drive home) is that the severe drought in the area happened during nesting season and forced birds to build nests in other locations.  The nesting season lasts for several months and is just now ending, so it was premature for us to expect to see many birds back at Black Point until chicks have fledged.

I did manage to get nice photos of a green heron:
Green Heron in tree

And a Black-crowned night-heron:
Black-crowned Night-Heron

There were also some unusual flowers (1/14/2010 update – I think this is a “Spotted Bee Balm”):

And some very large (about 2 – 3 inches), horror show type spiders.  How would you like to walk through this web in the dark?
Wolf spider?

So, even without a large bird population it was still a nice trip with plenty to interest the Photography Interest Group.  And… there’s always Cracker Barrel on the way home!