Thursday, May 24, 2007

CMOS and Rolling Shutter Effect

DSC00733, originally uploaded by tossthecam.

We have posted examples and discussion of this effect, capable of being extremely exaggerated by Camera Tossing. At the time I was speculating from experience and observation, deciding to call it "focal plane sensor distortion", borrowing from "focal plane shutter distortion" known previously and exhibited in slit scanning techniques.

Well it turns out many imaging scientists have been tackling the problem/effect for the purposes of producing accurate cheap CMOS based camera sensors for robotics. In the digital world, it is referred to as a rolling shutter effect, caused by exactly the reasons we speculated on.

tossthecam , whose photo is posted above, dug up an research article from Harvard addressing the possibilities of capitalizing on this property of CMOS technology for application in robotics as sensors for structure-form-motion problems.

Geometric Models of Rolling-Shutter Cameras
Marci Meingast; 29 Mar 2005
arXiv:cs/0503076v1 [cs.CV]
download as a PDF

Knowing what to search for, I was also able to dig up this abstract purely on correcting for this effect. But who would want to do that! ;-)

Rolling shutter distortion correction
Liang, Chia-Kai; Peng, Yu-Chun; Chen, Homer; 07/2005
read the abstract

I love imaging scientists!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hey, I got one!

Kinetic 331_Brane Waves1, originally uploaded by mtnrockdhh.

A recent photograph by mtnrockdhh posted to the photo pool and shared in the live gallery on exhibition at command-z. FYI, we are entering the last 3 days of both the command-z exhibition in LA, and the digiarte exhibition in Florence, Italy.

I pretty much gave up on the idea of the readers donating old equipment to the camera toss community after this old posting went without response for a long time.

But last month 2 people actually offered to send a camera, no idea how they found the posting. One of which arrived the other day! It's a modern P&S film camera, the lens-cover (containing on/off mechanism) had come off and it no longer worked. But the former owner sent the parts along to fix it. Wee projects!

I don't know how effective it would be for tossing, but I have lots of other tinker projects to possibly use it for also. To the reader who sent it, thank you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Community is Everything

A confluence of events has caused me to reflect on the idea of "community stewardship". As I posted yesterday, JPG Magazine, which had it's roots as a entirely community driven publication... decided to re-write it's history from the top down in hopes, one can only imagine, to appeal to a broader commercial market. This, among other factors, triggered the departure of the two founders, Derek and Heather. When this news broke, the community reacted strongly in support of the founders, whom many have known personally via interviews and communication since JPG's inception (including myself).

Currently on flickr, a search for the tag "jpgmag" or "jpgmagazine" reveals pages and pages of screenshots exactly like the one I posted yesterday. Community members saying their goodbyes to the publication and deleting accounts. I don't think this will destroy JPG magazine, but it will certainly feel the aftershocks.

Community is Everything

Matthew Haughey of metafilter also chimed in with his own list of lessons learned about managing online communities with his posting Some Community Tips for 2007 - Seven tips on how to run a successful community. No doubt in response to other current events such as the user revolt and his own experiences with

The amusing thing, is that the destruction of one community in an abrupt fashion, usually spawns new communities, that are bonded by this same disruption. For example, I was just been invited to the new flickr group I Deleted My JPG Account today. And yet another group, that seems to have similar goals to JPG in the early days. Utata, another amazing flickr based community even has an annual project coming up that involves a glossy printed zine, created entirely by the membership, mostly FOR the membership.

Camera Toss, which I created on a whim initially, was never an intentional community, but it appears to have become one by sheer virtue of the process. It has a narrow scope and we don't have a ton of discussion or activities compared to JPG or Utata (for example), but that doesn't stop the members from being quite tightly knit. I was shocked this week, by an event that demonstrated this.

Photography and photographers tend to be fairly competitive in nature (a generalization), not by any fault of their own, it's a terribly cut-throat industry. If multiple photographers were contacted for one magazine story, as members of the camera toss community just were, one would expect an individualized approach, and a jockeying for position within that article so to speak. But to my surprise, people wanted to discuss their contributions openly and almost everyone also wrote me a private email to mention they had been contacted and asked for my input and advice. There was even a suggestion of crafting our interview responses in collaboration, which made me laugh (and we avoided), because that is exactly the opposite of what a reporter talking to multiple people is hoping to get. Wow!

If you are curious about which publication, Jonathan, one of the community members contacted, posted something to his blog about it.

I can only hope that I have done well as a community steward with Camera Tossing. My efforts to include anyone and everyone who wants to participate, even in Art Museum Exhibitions, seems to have set a good example and mood of sharing within the community.

Camera Toss, is about, above all: shared inspiration, creating, community, collaboration, and having fun!

correction made: Matthew Haughey started, not as I had originally cited due to misreading a link on his about page, which was actually linking to his entry on wikipedia. How embarassing... one of my first wordy blog postings and I mess it up. ;-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Goodbye JPG Magazine

Goodbye JPG Magazine, originally uploaded by clickykbd.

If there is one lesson in community driven publishing by corporate interests... that is that you not act in ways to upset the community.

A nice magazine, but I was there for the community. Reasons for this decision:
on metafilter too

Friday, May 11, 2007

DIGIARTE 2007, Florence Italy, May 11th thru 26th

Today, May 11th, "Camera Toss" makes it's third appearance in a public exhibition setting. DIGIARTE 2007, the 4th installment of this annual group exhibition opens at the Plasma Club in Florence, Italy (see the profile on I was invited by the curator/director Lorenzo "LOGU" Guasti to contribute a few prints to the Digiarte permanent collection. There are several photographers and many digital/video/animation artists in this show, additionally many guest speaker/topic engagements and activities are scheduled during the show through May 26th (see for schedule and details).

Exhibition Details:

DIGIARTE IV (2007 Edition) - State of the Art
Press Release (Italian, PDF)

May 11th - May 26th 2007
Plasma Club, Florence, Italy
Piazza Francesco Ferrucci 1r (50126)
+39 0550516926 (info), +39 0550516927 (fax)

Curated by: Lorenzo "LOGU" Guasti
Press Contact: press[at]

Full list of contributing artists to DIGIARTE 2007: Caterina Pecchioli, Influx, Ciboideale, Marco Cardini, Federico Bucalossi, Claudio Bozzatello, Paolo Carta, and photography by LostItaly, Maggie KS, Sébastien Pérez-Duarte, and Ryan Gallagher - Camera Toss.

Of the photography included, three are also flickr users: Sébastien Pérez-Duarte, Maggie KS, and myself (Ryan Gallagher).

Sébastien is known for his mathematically inspired digital transformations and panoramic projections...

Curved church, hyperbolic (by Seb Przd)
Curved church, hyperbolic by Sébastien Pérez-Duarte

Maggie for many things, but particularly her compelling self portraiture...

mix tape (by MeganKS)
mix tape by Maggie KS

And myself, of course, for exploring the edges of kinetic motion photography with "Camera Tossing"...

ss #51 (by clickykbd)
Sheets and Strikes No. 51 by Ryan Gallagher

The other exhibiting artists have some really interesting work too, so be sure to dig those links rather deeply that I posted. Much of it is viewable online.

A twist I wasn't expecting when I signed on to this show... in line with the theme of digital art, this will be the first exhibition of any of my photographs in an entirely digital world! Digiarte launched an extension of the exhibition in the popular "meta-verse", Second Life. Here's some previews of the virtual exhibitions:

So if you are in Florenza, be sure to check it out! I sure wish I was there! If by some miracle I can coax Second Life into running on this slowish laptop, perhaps I'll stop by the virtual world version of the opening. ;-)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Camera Toss on Die Zeit

Last week (4-26-2007) Die Zeit published a 13 page online gallery and article on the subject of Camera Tossing. They spoke to many and included a diverse range of photos from the community.

Interesting side story to this publication... Die Zeit is a respectable German news outlet, comparable to America's "New York Times". They had actually been interested in the subject of Camera Tossing a while back when I had the exhibition in Hamburg last year. A reporter came to the opening I had a chance to speak with her in person. She loved the subject... but I later learned that no story was going to be published because "Die Zeit" had backed away from the topic... deciding that it was "too trendy" for their audience. I admit it was being parleyed into a very trendy subject... but most of that was the fault of the German media itself, especially programs such as Polylux. heh.

A year later, they are back, and have published this piece. Perhaps avoiding "trends" simply means consciously choosing not to discuss topics while everyone else is doing so too. I sometimes avoid going to certain movies for the same reason... no matter how much I end up enjoying it when I finally do see them.

Anyone who knows me in person, knows i'm one of the LEAST trendy individuals you'll likely ever meet, so I found the irony quite amusing.

Camera Toss of a Camera Toss

Camera Toss of a Camera Toss, originally uploaded by jon62690.

Flickr photographer Jonathan Vo has begun exploring recursion in camera toss. A few others have posted examples previously, and I myself had been planning on playing with this concept in other ways. So a good time to blog it! Here, an example of a camera toss using a computer screen as the subject, recently posted to the group discussion on that particular sub-genre, where the image on the screen was... yup, a previous camera toss!

Being a bit of a lover of math and geometry, I find recursion delicious.

Jonathan, although fairly new to the online community, has gotten into camera tossing enough to set up his own blog/gallery for them. Check them out. He's also been one of the more active online contributors to the Camera Toss Live Community Gallery currently being projected in Command-Z at the Torrance Art Museum in Los Angeles since it opened last month. FYI, the show closes May 26th, which is also the last chance to contribute your own.

In the forums, a new member asks the following about TV style camera tosses:

how do you do these??? No flash, dark, only TV on? Computers could work well too right?
I replied with a somewhat technical explaination:

Yes, pretty much. I assume you are already aware that the cameras are being thrown with (sometimes rapid) rotation while it is taking the pictures too? But yes, any cathode ray tube type device, which relies on scanning lines to the screen very rapidly, such as a TV or computer monitor, produces this multiple image pattern when the camera moves alot during the photograph. There is a delay between each pass of the scanning, be it progressive scanning or interlaced, and that delay is long enough for a gap or "shift" of each recording of that image in the photograph.

You'll find some displays behave differently however, such as a laptop LCD, which doesn't rely on scanning at all... and instead allows you to get smooth blurs. Each screen type has been used by different photographers of this group to achieve intentional effects made possible by those distinct properties of the screen.

(sorry, probably more technical detail than you asked for) ;-)

I could go into even more detail about refresh rates and shutter sync rates etc etc, but you can learn most of that by googling 'photographing televisions'