Saturday, January 16, 2016

3D Extravaganza!

I often have a blog post in mind, but gets misplaced in the shuffle of life. Such is was in a trip back from Illinois way last June. I even mentioned in that post that 3D shots were on the way, but then, here we are in 2016 and I'm just remembering to post them! So grab your red/blue anaglyph 3D glasses and come along for the ride!

Just as a review, while you are moving along on a jet plane at 600 miles an hour, if you take a couple images a couple seconds apart, your baseline is defined by how much you have moved. Entered into Photoshop, the images are aligned, and verified that the scale is the same - the procedure to convert to a red/blue image to view with anaglyph glasses in about a 4 step process. I'll describe it in detail if anyone is interested, but so far, no one has asked. I had a great, high, quality window on that trip, so was a joy to sit with camera and nose pressed against it. When converting to anaglyph, sometimes color tints come into play, so most on that return trip were taken with B&W images from my IR-modified camera. It cuts through the haze for better contrast, turns the sky and bodies of water dark, and vegetation comes out very light or white. Then, when viewed through the red/blue glasses, the images stay B&W without introducing weird color shifts in a color image. But just to prove it works with color, this first image is a color image pair shot in northern New Mexico somewhere. The sinuous landforms and the depth in the clouds and their shadows are quite dramatic! This was shot in color on the trip up to Illinois, the rest are on the return ride...

There is an optimum spacing for revealing the depth in an image. Too large a baseline and it is difficult for your eyes to adjust for the nearest and farthest points of an image. If you restrict the near/far distance, keeping the baseline large exaggerated the depth of the image. Any baseline larger than your eye spacing are defined as "hyper-stereo", but with upwards of a mile separation, these would be considered extreme hyper-stereos! Case in point is this view of a canyon at left that I think is the Middle Gila River in SW central New Mexico. I cropped off the near/far distance so that the large separation would exaggerate the stereo effect.

At right, coming into Tucson, we passed low over the Rincon Mountains, and because of the low altitude, caught lots of details in the terrain and individual Ponderosa pine trees at the high elevations of Mica Mountain.

As is normal, we circled counter-clockwise over the north side of Tucson to land towards the SE at the airport on the far south side of town. I already posted a picture of our cul-de-sac on the earlier blog post. But as we passed the full length of town with the Catalina mountains out my window in slow review, I couldn't help but take a huge series of images pairs. First up is a great stereo pair from the peak of Mount Lemmon at nearly 9200 feet, down to Thimble Peak (5200 feet elevation) at lower center. The ridgeline it sits on divides Bear Canyon on the near side, Sabino Canyon beyond. I love how the few clouds provide a dappled surface that shows up so well on the 3D image.

The next pair at right was taken a few seconds later, and is very similar, but I like the slightly wider shot that shows the clouds at the top of the image. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so you get them both!

One of the nice things about the use of a zoom lens is that you can switch quickly between fields-of-view to vary the coverage. At left is a wider shot as the parade past the "front range" of the Catalinas continued. At left, nestled against the mountain slopes is the white-appearing Ventana Canyon golf resort, with its namesake Ventana Canyon to the left and Esperero Canyon to the right. The black spot at right center is the parking lot at Sabino Canyon. This image pair that made up the anaglyph was shot at 50mm focal length.

A fraction of a minute later, the narrower shot at right resulted. Shot at 85mm focal length, it shows Ventana Canyon in much more detail, with Cathedral Peak at right and Window Peak at left. I'm a big fan of documenting Window Rock, easily seen from around Tucson, and while Window Rock can be seen just left of Window Peak, the window itself can't be seen from this angle or magnification...

The parade of the Catalinas continued with this great view of Finger Rock, barely picked out of the profile top at left center. In front of it is Finger Rock Canyon. Following it uphill, the trail eventually reaches Kimball Peak at the far right.

We finally ran out of mountain ranges out my window, and I also shot our house about then. We banked around towards the south and I also got a few of the popular viewpoint of Gates Pass over the Tucson Mountains on the west side of town. This is one of the "shortcuts" over the range to the west of Tucson - in fact, one of the popular attractions, western movie studio "Old Tucson" is visible at the far upper right corner.

Well, you are now up to date on our June trip! Sorry about the delay, but I'm thinking these 3D anaglyphs are pretty spectacular and glad I finally got them out there!

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