Does Amazon Know Which Camera You Will Buy Even Before You Do?

Mon January 20, 2014

It’s called “anticipatory shipping,” and Amazon has a patent on it. In a nutshell, it is a method to start delivering packages even before customers click “buy.”

See, Amazon believes that it has enough data on its customers that it can safely ship your next package before you order it. That data comes from previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item.

I guess if it makes a mistake and ships too many of one product (say, camera) to the wrong zip code, you could expect a fire sales of that item in your area. Yeah! :-)

Or, you could see a drone hover outside your door with a package you did not order (yet) and a bill to hand over your credit card, or else… :-(

Could we be entering a brave scary New World where businesses know where we live, what we watch, eat and do — and now even what we intend to buy (even before we click the buy button)?

Read the article at: wsj.


When Your Pictures Are Just Too Good

Sat January 18, 2014

Taking great pictures is sometimes hard work. Just ask professional real estate photographer Robert Holowka who was hired to photograph a mansion that could not get sold.

Holowka used a 16-mm lens and took hundreds of indoor and outdoor shots to eventually blend a few different exposures that showed off the house in its best form: the home’s 30 front windows softly lit against a deep blue twilight sky, and a long cobblestone driveway. It’s a stunning photo that should garner lots of interest from serious buyers.

He was, however, not expecting the online storm that erupted when accusations of “photoshopping” started to pour in. Holowka says the show-stopping effect was unintentional:

“The intention wasn’t to make the house look like it was on a huge piece of property,” says Holowka, owner of Birdhouse Media. “It was to portray its grandeur.”

But the photo was that good and it did just that: it made it seem that, according to The Star which investigated the property, “this Mississauga Rd.-area mansion appear more sprawling country home than what it really is: a builder’s dream that got much too big for its Saxony Court cul-de-sac neighbours.

I say it’s a beautiful picture that shows off the skills of the photographer well. But this story shows that we must still be careful about how we portray “reality” in our pictures that may just be too good to be true.

Read the whole story and see the pictures at: The Star.


Reflections In The Eyes Yield Identifiable Faces

Thu January 16, 2014

@Credit: Jenkins and Kerr, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083325

@Credit: Jenkins and Kerr, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083325

Researchers Rob Jenkins at the University of York, UK, and Christie Kerr at the University of Glasgow, UK, have discovered that reflections in the eyes of photographed people can yield identifiable images of bystanders.

They used a Hasselblad H2D to capture high resolution 39-megapixel images. The resulting photographs are 5,400 x 7,200 pixels, with the subject’s iris containing about 54,000 pixels overall. By zooming in on the iris, the researchers extracted several rectangular sections containing the head and shoulders of reflected bystanders.

The whole face area for each bystander is about 322 pixels on average. Though the images are fuzzy, we are still able to identify faces with extremely poor image quality (as low as 7 x 10 pixels) as long as we are familiar with the faces.

In the future, the researchers hope to combine pairs of images recovered from both of the subject’s eyes to reconstruct a 3D representation of the environment from the subject’s viewpoint.

In practical terms, criminal investigators can analyze photographs of crime victims whose eyes may be reflecting their perpetrators.

“The future prospects are interesting,” Jenkins said. “The world is awash with digital images. Over 40 million photos per day are shared via Instagram alone. Meanwhile, the pixel count for digital cameras is doubling roughly every 12 months. So the future holds a lot of detailed images, which is potentially interesting for image analysts.”

Read the whole article at: physorg.


London Then (1927) and Now (2013)

Tue January 14, 2014

For some of us, 86 years is a lifetime, but few cities are as enduring as London, England as this video shows. Even after 86 years, it seems that little has changed and someone who grew up then would pretty much recognize the major landmarks and probably still be able to find his or her way easily enough around the city.

The sights of London, circa the 1920s, was filmed by cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene who travelled across the UK with his new colour film video camera. Fast forward to 2013 and Simon Smith took up the challenge to retrace Friese-Greene’s footsteps and recreate the London he saw.

It’s an amazing feat. Well done!

London in 1927 & 2013 from Simon Smith on Vimeo.

via colossal

P.S. This is the same Simon Smith who, instead of asking his friends to film his wedding, set up his camera and took time-lapsed shots of the entire event (wedding ceremony and reception/dance) and compressed it all into 1:25 min. Best wedding video EVER! Because, for the groom (at least), it’s all a blur anyway.


Did You Remember To Forget Your Pants Today?

Sun January 12, 2014

The 13th Annual No Pants Subway Ride 2014 is taking place today even as you read this.

If you notice subway commuters without their pants on today, it’s all for fun, so lighten up, smile and have a good laugh.




See more No Pants Subway Ride 2014 videos in other cities»


Canadian Photographer Erin Riley’s Exhibition: Virtue Street

Thu January 9, 2014

Alliance Française de Toronto


Virtue Street

FREE Admission Gratuit

Languages: Bilingual (French and English) / Bilingue  (Français et Anglais)

January 14, 2014 at 6.30 P.M. to March 8, 2014 / 14 Janvier 2014 à 18:30 jusqu’au 8 Mars 2014

Opening Reception: January 14, at 6.30 P.M. / Vernissage 14 Janvier à partir de 18h30

Alliance Française de Toronto – Campus de Spadina
24 Spadina Road (Spadina / Bloor), Toronto
Ontario, Canada
416 922 2014 ext. 37
English URL is
French URL is

RSVP: Phone 416 922 2014 ext. 37 or  Email:

Continue Reading »


100-Year Old Negatives Discovered In A Hut In Antartica

Thu January 2, 2014

The era of film may be over, taken over by digital photography, but what the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust discovered frozen in a block of ice in a hut in Antartica was not, as they first thought, “an old moldy wallet,” but a cache of negatives that are almost 100 years old.

In all, 22 negatives were recovered and they showed images from a small support team of the Ross Sea Party, which was tasked with the crucial job of setting up supply depots for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

via Yahoo!

Continue Reading »


Our Body Atlas of Emotions

Thu January 2, 2014

Researchers at Aalto University in Finland conducted a study to map where we feel emotions throughout our body and came up with the “Bodily maps of emotions.”

The study was based on a number of experiments with 701 participants from Finland, Sweden and Taiwan. Participants were shown two silhouettes of bodies alongside emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions, and they were asked to manually color the bodily regions whose activity they felt to be increased or decreased during viewing of each stimulus. [I wonder if there were a way to reproduce the same results photographically.]

This topographical self-report tool revealed that different emotional states are associated with distinct and culturally universal bodily sensations which might explain why when we are excited, we feel our heart pound; anxiety tightens our muscles and makes our hands sweat; a young bride getting married may suddenly have “cold feet”; severely disappointed lovers may be “heartbroken”; and, our favorite song may send “a shiver down our spine.”

As the new year starts, we wish you happiness and love, and may all your surprises be pleasant.



Mirrorless Camera Market Prediction

Tue December 31, 2013

The New York Times published a REUTERS article on the future of mid-tier camera makers, namely Panasonic, Olympus and Fujifilm.

The mirrorless cameras have been a hit in Japan but have yet to catch on in the United States and Europe. The problem seems to be that they insist on competing with smartphones where consumers prize connectivity over picture quality. Consumers also don’t really want to connect cameras to phones, prefering a single interface that can instantly upload photographs to social networking sites.

Even though mirrorless cameras have improved to the point where they’re equivalent, if not superior, to traditional-mirrored DSLRs, North American consumers apparently still tend to equate image quality with size and heft, though that is changing.

A surprising data is that Sony’s QX has sold well with demand outstripping production, though Sony did not set any targets.

Read the article at: NYTimes.


Ben Heine 2014 Pencil Vs Camera Calendar

Tue December 24, 2013

We have featured the art work of Ben Heine on this site regularly and, if you are still looking for that perfect gift for the one who has everything, betcha he or she doesn’t have the 2014 Pencil Vs Camera Calendar. You get 12 deliciously original Pencil vs Camera artworks in a calendar to enjoy all year!

Take the Pencil Vs Camera – 73 “Illustrator Vs anamorphic photographer…” . Here is the work in progress:

… and the final picture:

Pencil Vs Camera – 73 Illustrator Vs anamorphic photographer... ©Ben Heine 2014 –

Pencil Vs Camera – 73 Illustrator Vs anamorphic photographer… ©Ben Heine 2014 –

A couple of other works:

Pencil Vs Camera - 76 At Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea ©Ben Heine 2014 –

Pencil Vs Camera – 76 At Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea ©Ben Heine 2014 –

Pencil Vs Camera - 74  Exploration, shamanism and self-revelation ©Ben Heine 2014 –

Pencil Vs Camera – 74 Exploration, shamanism and self-revelation ©Ben Heine 2014 –


Winter Ice Storm 2013

Mon December 23, 2013

I spent the better part of yesterday “shovelling” (more like hacking thru 2 inches of solid ice) the driveway.

Hope everyone is safe and, if not already, that power will be back up soon for you.

Allow site to load completely and click on any image for a slideshow.


Manfrotto 190 Tripod: Product Video

Mon December 16, 2013

This video presents “Manfrotto 190 Tripod.”

  • “Learn about the new Manfrotto 190 Tripod, featuring Quick Power Leg Locks, a new 90 degree centre column design and an Easy Link connector for easy attachment of accessories on the go.
  • Available in aluminum or carbon fibre, the Manfrotto 190 is ready to set a new benchmark.”

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