Vantablack Is The Blackest Black Ever Made, Promises To Improve Imaging Instruments

Fri July 18, 2014

Instrument developers apply black paint to baffles and other components to help prevent stray light from ricocheting off surfaces. However, black paints absorb only 90 percent of the light that strikes it. A new super-dark material developed by a team of engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center absorbs about 99 percent of the visible, ultraviolet, infrared, and far-infrared light that strikes it, making it a good candidate to be used in imaging equipment.

It is called Vantablack and it is quite different than other blacks: you cannot tell if it is even there! VANTA is really an acronym that stands for Vertically Aligned (carbon) Nano Tube Array. The nanotech-based coating is a thin layer of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, tiny hollow tubes made of pure carbon about 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. Vantablack absorbs 99.965% of the visible light that falls upon it. The result is that it looks weird, “like a [black] hole, like there’s nothing there.

NASA is already considering using Vantablack in its infrared-sensing instruments since it is better at radiating heat away from the instruments. If these instruments are not cold, thermal heat (generated by the instrument and observatory) will swamp the faint infrared they are designed to collect (NOISE). The cooler the instrument can be, the more sensitive they will be to faint far-infrared signals emanating from objects in the very distant universe.

One day, that black rectangular empty space you see on your shelf may be your latest all-black body camera.

via NASA


Nano-pixels Display Is Flexible, Has Extremely High-Resolution and Extremely Low Energy Consumption

Tue July 15, 2014

Credit: Oxford University

Credit: Oxford University

Everytime we think we have reached the limits of display technology, some new discovery comes along that expands the frontiers of what is achievable.

We’ve seen flexible LCDs already appearing on smartphone displays and even wide display TVs. But they consume lots of energy. A new nano-pixels (300 by 300 nanometres in size) technology from Oxford University, discovered by chance while “exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials“, is completely different and promises to allow the creation of incredibly thin (and therefore flexible) displays that are not only extremely high-resolution but have also low energy consumption.

“We didn’t set out to invent a new kind of display,” said Professor Harish Bhaskaran of Oxford University’s Department of Materials, who led the research. “We were exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials and then had the idea of creating this GST ‘sandwich’ made up of layers just a few nanometres thick. We found that not only were we able to create images in the stack but, to our surprise, thinner layers of GST actually gave us better contrast. We also discovered that altering the size of the bottom electrode layer enabled us to change the colour of the image.”

Flexible paper-thin displays based on the technology could have the capacity to switch between a power-saving ‘colour e-reader mode’ and a backlit display capable of showing video. So there is no need to constantly refresh all the pixels as in most conventional LCD screens, only those pixels that actually change, and hence the extremely low energy consumption required.

Practical applications for these nano-pixels display may include foldable screens, windshield displays, smart glasses, and even synthetic retinas that mimic the abilities of photoreceptor cells in the human eye.

Read the whole article at: physorg

Wonder if we will be seeing similar “discoveries” that will revolutionize what is achievable in image sensor technology?


Two Toronto Photography Exhibitions: The Past is Never Far (July 12 & 13) + Toronto Does Her ‘Bit’ (Jul.26-Jan.17, 2015)

Fri July 11, 2014

The Past is Never Far: A Photography Exhibition

Continues to July 13, 2014: Saturday & Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m

FREE Admission

Papermill Gallery
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
67 Pottery Road, Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 396-2819

“The Past is Never Far is a photographic series which explores the extraordinary changes Toronto has experienced since its founding. The show focuses on the work of three documentarians who lived here centuries apart.

The first is artist Elizabeth Simcoe, one of the first Europeans to document the early settlement through her watercolours. One of Toronto’s most prolific photographers, William James, Sr., is the second artist whose work is woven into the exhibition. The third is artist Summer Leigh, a recent graduate of Ryerson University, who revisited the locations documented by both Elizabeth Simcoe and William James Sr. She lined up their images with what exists in those places today, using old technologies with new, blending past and present. This alignment of images led her to the realization that the past is never far.”

City of Toronto

Continue Reading »


Disposable Camera Project Pop Up Gallery Launch Party on July 11 in Toronto

Fri July 11, 2014

The Disposable Camera Project (DCP), in collboration with the Toronto Urban Photography Festival (TUPF), presents the Pop Up Gallery Launch Party July 11 at 6:30PM. It will be their Opening Gala as well as the TUPF Closing Party.

Pop Up Gallery Launch Party

FREE Admission

Section 37 Gallery
180 Sudbury Street – Concourse Level
(Queen St. W & Gladstone)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday, July 11, 2014/6:30pm-11pm

The Disposable Camera Project (DCP) aims to democratize street photography by actually involving the people on the street. Cameras are hidden across the city and everyday people who find them are encouraged to take pictures, capturing moments that might have otherwise forever gone unnoticed. DCP wants to tell the stories of people in cities all over the world, through the people themselves. It’s street photography showcasing people on the street BY the people on the street. Spontaneous, unplanned & unfiltered. That’s DCP.

Come see the best photos to have come out of DCP’s first year of activity, celebrating a worldwide community captured in analogue, using the simplicity of snap-and-shoot disposable cameras. In collaboration with TUPF (Toronto Urban Photography Festival), it will also act as the festival closing gala.

Come for:
– A celebration of analogue photography
– Photo Giveaways/Raffles
– Drinks
– The world in one room

Moments that might never have been captured, for the people BY the people. That’s DCP.

It’s free admission. We hope to see you there!


Squirrels Settle In and Rain Means Time To Test Weather Resistant FUJINON XR18-135mm Lens

Tue July 8, 2014

Does it look to you like squirrels are more abundant this Summer? Not only did some of them made a nest into our house and we had to evict them (no harm done to mommy squirrel or babies) but now it looks like they have taken over our backyard.

This little rascal seems to think the backyard belongs to it, having the gall to lounge on the fence early this morning, soaking up the sun. It stayed there for about an hour, not even moving away as I opened the patio door and took a couple of shots with the Fujifilm X-T1 and FUJINON XR18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.

Continue Reading »


Five Ways Canadians Acknowledge the Poignant 1940 Photograph “Wait For Me, Daddy”

Thu July 3, 2014

This video presents “Stories from the Northwest: WWII – The Photo That Almost Wasen’t.”

  • The story behind, “Wait for Me Daddy.”

Wait for Me, Daddy, taken by Claude P. Dettloff, a Vancouver Daily Province photographer. British Columbia Regiment, (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles), marching in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, 1940.

Wait for Me, Daddy, taken by Claude P. Dettloff, a Vancouver Daily Province photographer. British Columbia Regiment, (Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles), marching in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, 1940.

“On October 1, 1940, Dettloff was photographing The British Columbian Regiment march down 8th Street enroute to battle overseas. In a random moment, Dettloff snapped a young boy, Whitey Bernard, escape his mother’s grasp and run towards his father marching off to war. Wait for Me Daddy became an enduring symbol of Canada’s WWII effort. The photo appeared on the cover of Life Magazine, was displayed in every school in BC during the war, was showcased in the Canadian war bond fundraising campaign with Whitey Bernard on tour, is the 2nd most requested photograph in the National Archives and is amongst the 30 most popular photographs in the world.”

The City of New Westminster

More so in this year than in those past years, Canadians will acknowledge the historical significance of this world-famous photograph by partially reproducing Dettloff’s photograph in five ways as follows.

Continue Reading »


Happy Canada Day / Bonne fête du Canada!: Celebrate & Enjoy Photo Exhibits in the Capital on July 1, 2014

Mon June 30, 2014

This video presents “Happy Canada Day from Google Maps!”


As part of the Canada Day celebration on July 1, 2014, there will be four FREE photo exhibits in Ottawa, the Capital City of Canada.

Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Heroes: Photo Exhibit  / Nos héros olympiques et paralympiques canadiens – exposition de photos 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Arctic Exploring: Photo Exhibit  / Explorons l’Arctique : exposition de photos 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Location is Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa.
  • “See spectacular photos and explore the Arctic through this exhibition featuring the work of scientists in Canada’s Great North.
    • Join them aboard a sailing ship in the Arctic Ocean to discover how they study seabirds, orcas, and other wildlife; and learn why this work is so important.
    • Experience the Arctic like never before!”
  • Presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature in collaboration with Students on Ice and the Canadian Wildlife Service. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Canadian Museum of Nature: FREE general admission to the Museum’s “castle” on Canada Day!
    • Also, at the Canadian Museum of Nature there is the FREE Arctic Up Close: Outdoor Photo Exhibition
      • “Enjoy 10 beautiful photos of beloved Arctic animals, from a muskox pausing to enjoy the flowers to a sleepy walrus chilling on a bed of snow.
      • A leisurely stroll on the museum’s west lawn is a delightful way to encounter Arctic animals up close!”

Photo Exhibit – 2014 Canada Day Challenge  / Exposition de photos : le Défi de la fête du Canada 2014 10 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. 

  • Location is Jacques-Cartier Park, Ottawa.
  • “Using their creativity and imagination, youth from all across Canada took up the challenge to explore Canada’s history, culture, and identity and to discover what makes this country a truly special place.

Continue Reading »


Nikon D810 HD-SLR / HD-SLR D810 de Nikon: Product Videos / Les Vidéos du produit

Thu June 26, 2014

The video presents “Introducing the Nikon D810 HD-SLR: Part 1 – Powered to Create Compelling Images” as follows.

  • In this video, Nikon Canada’s Mark Cruz provides a brief feature set overview of the Nikon D810 HD-SLR in regards to still images, including:
    • 36.3-megapixel FX-format (7360 x 4912 resolution) CMOS sensor,
    • ISO range from 64 to 12,800,
    • Option to shoot in full-resolution 14-bit RAW/NEF file format, or the new RAW Size Small format,
    • Expandable ISO range – from 32 (Lo-1) to 51,200 (Hi-2),
    • Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 4 image processing engine, and
    • “Clarity” setting added to the available Picture Control adjustment parameters — adjusts mid tones to enhance details within an image.

The video presents “Introducing the Nikon D810 HD-SLR: Part 2 – Delivering a True Cinematic Experience” as follows.

  • In this video, Nikon Canada’s Mark Cruz provides a brief feature set overview of the Nikon D810 HD-SLR in regards to video recording, including:
    • Broadcast quality video — Full HD (1080p) 1920 x 1080 video capture at a variety of frame rates, including 60/30/24p,
    • Both FX and DX crop modes,
    • Flat Picture Control Profile — provides flexibility in post-production,
    • Smooth in-camera time-lapse and interval timer,
    • Audio capture records wide and voice frequency ranges,
    • Zebra stripes — displayed during live view, making it easy to spot overexposed areas,
    • Highlight weighted metering, and
    • Full manual control.

La Vidéo: “HD-SLR D810 de Nikon: Partie 1 – Le pouvoir de créer des images captivantes.”

  • Dans cette vidéo, Paul Reid de chez Nikon Canada, propose une présentation brève des atouts du reflex numérique HD-SLR D810 de Nikon relatifs aux images fixes, tels que:
    • Capteur CMOS 36,3 mégapixels au format FX (résolution 7360 x 4912),
    • Plage ISO de 64 à 12 800,
    • Choix entre pleine résolution 14 bits format RAW/NEF, ou le nouveau format RAW réduit,
    • Plage ISO extensible — de 32 (Lo-1) à 51 200 (Hi-2),
    • Processeur de traitement d’image EXPEED 4 exclusif de Nikon, et
    • Ajout du paramètre « Clarté » aux options de réglage déjà disponibles dans le menu « Picture Control »,ajustement des tons moyens pour mettre en valeur les détails d’une image.

La Vidéo: “HD-SLR D810 de Nikon : Partie 2 – Offre une véritable expérience cinéma.”

  • Dans cette vidéo, Paul Reid de chez Nikon Canada propose une présentation brève des atouts du reflex numérique HD-SLR D810 de Nikon relatifs à l’enregistrement vidéo, tels que:
    • Qualité vidéo professionnelle — Full HD (1080p) 1920 x 1080, enregistrement vidéo en différents choix d’images par seconde dont 60/30/24p,
    • Modes recadrage FX et DX,
    • Profil « Uniforme » ajouté au menu « Picture Control » — Offre plus de souplesse en post production,
    • Fonctions Intervallomètre et Accéléré intégrées et fluides,
    • Enregistrement audio à larges plages sonores ou fréquences vocales,
    • Affichage à Zébrures pendant la visée écran pour faciliter le repérage des zones surexposées,
    • Nouvelle option de posemètre : Mesure pondérée hautes lumières, et
    • Contrôle manuel complet.

Pour plus d’information sur le reflex numérique HD-SLR D810 de Nikon, visiter

Pour plus de vidéos Nikon Canada, visiter notre chaine YouTube


Newseum’s Invite: KIDS FREE Summer Fun Deal July 1 – Sept.1, 2014

Wed June 25, 2014

This video presents “10 Top Things to See at the Newseum.”

  • Immerse yourself in the Newseum’s galleries and theaters.
  • Here are highlights of 10 of the top Newseum artifacts and exhibits Newseum recommends for your ‘must-see’ list.

Photo is extracted from the video above.

Photo is extracted from the video above.

KIDS FREE Summer Fun Deal

July 1 – Sept. 1 (Labor Day), 2014

FREE Admission for youth visitors age 18 and younger. Up to four kids visit for FREE with each paid adult or senior admission, or Press Pass membership.

555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001, USA
Google Map

The Newseum offers everything from the Berlin Wall and Pulitzer Prize-winning photos to interactive games.

Here are some highlights of Newseum this summer.


Photographic Work Portrays Brazil’s Environmental Dualities: Caio Reisewitz Exhibition Continues to Sept. 7, 2014

Tue June 24, 2014

Brazil is the host country for two international sports events.

  • 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ : This is the 20th FIFA World Cup, a tournament for the men’s football (aka soccer) world championship, that is currently taking place in Brazil 12 June- 13 July.

Brazil is also recognized as “one of 17 megadiverse (i.e.extremely biodiverse) countries, home to a variety of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats. Brazil is a regional power in Latin America and a middle power in international affairs, with some analysts identifying it as an emerging global power. Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years.

“In view of the environmental crisis and globalisation, how can we analyse the delicate relation between preservation and transformation?”

Curator Rafael Cardoso
“From the Margin to the Edge: Brazilian Art and Design in the XXI Century”

THis video presents “Caio Reisewitz (english).”

Museum of the International Center of Photography (ICP)

Museum of the International Center of Photography (ICP)

Caio Reisewitz


Continues to September 7, 2014

Museum of the International Center of Photography (ICP)
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036, USA

Phone: 212.857.0000

One of Brazil’s leading contemporary photographers, Caio Reisewitz, portrays the environmental dualities of Brazil in his photography exhibition.

  • This is the first major U.S. solo exhibition of noted Brazilian photographer and artist Caio Reisewitz.
    • Organized by ICP curator Christopher Phillips, the exhibition Caio Reisewitz presents a selection of the artist’s works made between 2003 and 2013.
  • Reisewitz’s photographic work “explores the rapidly changing relationship between urban and rural in modern-day Brazil.”
    • “His images draw attention to the challenge the nation’s economic development now poses to its lush natural environment and rich architectural heritage.
    • A section devoted to large-scale color photographs depicts the largely untouched rainforests that are now endangered by Brazil’s explosive economic growth.
      • Reisewitz sees Brazil’s green rainforests as a “threatened utopia.”
    • Most of these works were made within a few hundred miles of São Paulo, in remnants of the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) that once blanketed Brazil’s east coast.”

Continue Reading »


World’s Largest Optical/Near-infrared Telescope (E-ELT ) Will Be Built With New, Advanced, Powerful Cameras

Sat June 21, 2014

This video presents “E-ELT Trailer.”

ESO (the European Southern Observatory) has been planning a 39-metre-class European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

  • ESO just started the construcion of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) with a groundbreaking ceremony on 19 June at Cerro Armazones, near Paranal in Chile.
  • The telescope’s “eye” will be almost half the length of a soccer pitch in diameter.
  • The start of operations is planned for early in the next decade, 2024.
  • More than 100 astronomers from all European countries have been involved throughout 2006 on the planning and design of the E-ELT.

The costs involved are astronomical!

  • This planning/designing study costs 57 million Euros (77,512,590.00 US Dollar at the current exchange rate).
  • The construction cost is estimated to be 1083 million euros (2012 prices; 1,472,739,210.00 US Dollar at the current exchange rate).
  • The E-ELT will be operated as an integral part of the ESO observatories.
    • The operating cost includes not only the cost of running the observatory in Chile, but also the cost of operation support in Garching as well as re-investment costs for telescope upgrades and new instruments/cameras for the telescope.
    • The total operating cost is estimated to be 50 million euros per year (67,993,500.00 US Dollar per year at the current exchange rate).
european extremely large telescope diagram

The European Extremely Large Telescope (annotated): The very detailed annotated design for the E-ELT shown here is preliminary. Credit: ESO

The E-ELT will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world and will gather 15 times more light than the largest optical telescopes existing today.

  • This revolutionary telescope will be able to correct for the atmospheric distortions (i.e., be fully adaptive and diffraction-limited) from the start, providing images 15 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • The E-ELT can observe over a wide range of wavelengths from the optical to mid-infrared.

The new, advanced, powerful cameras that will be built as part of the European Extremely Large Telescope include:

ELT -CAM Instrument

  • It’s an infrared (0.8 – 2.5 μm) camera designed for performing astrometry as well as obtaining exquisite photometry of dense, resolved stellar populations at the highest possible spatial resolution.

    “MICADO is one of the two instruments that are currently defined by ESO as the First-Light Instruments (one camera and one spectrograph) for the E-ELT. The 39-Meter telescope will be begin its operation with this camera which obtains for the first time stellar light for analysis.”

    Institute for Astrophysics

  • This wide-field imaging camera is very compact and is supported underneath the AO systems so that it rotates in a gravity invariant orientation (please see Fig.1 below).
  • This adaptive optics camera is able to image, through a large number of selected wide and narrow band near-infrared filters, a wide 53″ field of view at the diffraction limit of the E-ELT.
    • The field of view of the camera should be comparable with the 53 arcseconds x 53 arcseconds field of MICADO.
  •  It is also a high throughput camera with a fixed 3 mas (milli-arcsec) pixel scale,
  • The key capabilities include the following:
    • Higher Sensitivity and Resolution.
      • This is a powerful tool for many science cases, from studies of faint high redshift galaxies to performing photometry in crowded fields (please see Fig.3 below).
    • Precision Astrometry.
      • The primary imaging field of the camera uses only fixed mirrors.
    • High Throughput Spectroscopy.
Fig.1: The MICADO First-Light Camera as a concept study at the Nasmyth focus of the E-ELT. The hexpod-like structure supports the optical bench of the Adapative Optics system (above), it carries and rotates the large vacuum vessel with the cold camera optics (below). As the central instrument structure it links the camera with the telescope incl. necessary adjustments. Image by Institute for Astrophysics

Fig.1: The MICADO First-Light Camera as a concept study at the Nasmyth focus of the E-ELT. The hexpod-like structure supports the optical bench of the Adapative Optics system (above), it carries and rotates the large vacuum vessel with the cold camera optics (below). As the central instrument structure it links the camera with the telescope incl. necessary adjustments.
Image by the Institute for Astrophysics

mikado e-elt vs. jwst and vlt crowded field

Fig.3: Comparative view of observations (top row) and simulations (lower row) of a crowded field, the center of the globular cluster Omega-Cen; upper row: today's observations with VLT (Very Large Telescope), lower row: simulated view of James-Webb-Space-Telescope (JWST) and MICADO at the E-ELT. Images by the Institute of Asrophysics.

Fig.3: Comparative view of observations (top row) and simulations (lower row) of a crowded field, the center of the globular cluster Omega-Cen; upper row: today’s observations with VLT (Very Large Telescope), lower row: simulated view of James-Webb-Space-Telescope (JWST) and MICADO at the E-ELT. Images by the Institute of Asrophysics.

ELT – MIR Instrument

  • ELT – MIR is based on METIS (Mid-Infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph) for the thermal infrared (2.9 μm –14 μm) region to:
    • image young, self – luminous giant planets,
    • study the molecules present in their atmospheres as well as their weather,
    • study our Solar System in more detail than ever before, from cometary volatiles to the surface of Kuiper Belt objects,
    • image both the gas and dust distribution  of planets, and
    • get the dynamics and composition via spectroscopy.

ELT – PCS Instrument

  • ELT – PCS is The E-ELT Planetary Camera and Spectrograph, which is based on EPICS.
    • The spectrometer optical design has a six lens collimator and five lens camera which focuses the light on a mosaic of four 4k x 4k detectors.
    • It is designed for:
      • imaging exoplanets – young, self-luminous planets in star-forming regions or young clusters as well as
      • imaging and characterisation of earth-like planets in the habitable zone.

ELT-IFU Instrument

  • ELT-IFU is based on HARMONI, which has high spatial resolution and will allow researchers to:
    • fully characterise Jupiter-mass exoplanets by determining their age, mass and temperature,
    • study the low – mass regime of star formation,
    • understand the transition between planet and brown dwarf formation,
    • probe the vicinity of intermediate – mass black holes in star clusters and dwarf galaxies, thought to be possible seeds of supermassive black holes at high redshift, and
    • allow the study of resolved stellar populations in nearby galaxies.

Please click here for more details and the roadmap of the E-ELT instruments.

Here are some highlights of the the world’s largest optical/near-infrared telescope.

Continue Reading »


You’re Invited: Camera Obscura at The Photographers’ Gallery

Fri June 20, 2014

This video presents “The Camera Obscura at The Photographers’ Gallery.”

  • “Janice McLaren, Head of Education at the Photographers’ Gallery talks about our camera obscura.”

Looking through the lens and turret of the camera obscura<br />

Looking through the lens and turret of the camera obscura
© The Photographers’ Gallery

The Photographers’ Gallery


Camera Obscura


Currently open most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11.00 – 13.00.

The camera obscura will be closed on Friday 20 June, and Friday 27 June to Sunday 29 June.

Eranda Studio, 3rd Floor
The Photographers’ Gallery
16 – 18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW, UK

Phone: +44 (0)20 7087 9300

“Camera obscura” is a latin phrase which translates to darkened room 
or chamber (Latin; camera for “vaulted chamber/room”, obscura for “dark”). By today’s definition, camera obscura is a darkened box with a convex lens or aperture for projecting the image of an external object onto a screen inside.

  • It is also known as a pinhole camera.

It is important historically in the development of photography and camera.

  • “Camera obscura is created when a small hole or aperture is made
 in a darkened space, producing an inverted image of the scene outside onto an opposite surface within.”
    • The Photographers’ Gallery’s camera obscura uses a lens to increase 
the brightness and sharpness of the image.
  • Camera obscuras have been used:
    • to prove that light travels in
 straight lines,
    • as an aid to drawing and,
    • a popular form of entertainment, particularly during the Victorian era.

There are many camera obscuras located throughout the world including:

Continue Reading »

« Newer EntriesOlder Entries »