3D or not 3D, That is the Question
The hype has begun and is already hard to avoid. This was excellent 3D imagery, but it could not be
printed onto paper or capture the full spectrum of
Some recent topics in the news have been colors.
Best Movie: Avatar in 3D
There are other ways to create the illusion of
Most innovative camera: Fujifilm 3D
Consumer Electronics Technology Awards: depth in picture taking by learning how to use light.
Many photographers agree that the quality of light
is far more important than the quantity. The underSimply put, the entire concept of 3D is to put the standing of light, as well as controlling it, is what
illusion of depth into a flat surface. There have separates amateurs from professionals. Here are
been several attempts at achieving this during the some techniques for using light to increase the illast half century, mostly involving special eye wear lusion of depth in photos.
to create the effect using two out of register im• It may sound obvious, but in order to have depth
in a photo, the subject(s) and background must
In 1982, Nimslo cameras were introduced. Where- not be the same distance from the camera. The
as most 3D cameras used transparency (slide) film amount of separation between them is dependent
(and a special viewer), the Nimslo used standard on the image sizes - the smaller and more distant
35mm color print film and delivered 18 3.5”x4.5” the subject, the more separation is needed from
vertical prints from a 36 exposure roll. All pictures the background. The opposite is true as well.
had to be vertically composed when over 96% of
all photos taken were composed horizontally. No • The camera must be level to simulate the fact
special glasses were required, because the im- that people stand up straight and erect. Humans
ages were printed on a lenticular surface. Instead have 2 eyes mounted facing the same direction
of being flat, a lenticular surface has many parallel spaced several inches apart. This interocular disdouble convex surfaces. The cameras and prints tance allows for binocular cues which permit depth
were not high quality, and the prices were very perception. When viewing with only one eye open
high. After the marketeers hype wore off, the hot this perception is lost. When the head is not levselling products quickly went by the wayside and el, the visual relationship between subject(s) and
background becomes distorted.
the company was sold.
During the 1970s there was the mass introduction
of holography. Dictionary.com defines a hologram as “a negative produced by exposing a highresolution photographic plate, without camera or
lens, near a subject illuminated by monochromatic, coherent radiation, as from a laser: when it is
placed in a beam of coherent light a true threedimensional image of the subject is formed.”
As an example, when looking at another person
directly in the foreground, the background is what
is behind the person. If the person is viewed looking up from knee level, the background is no longer behind the subject, but above. The brain interprets this as incongruous. If at Grand Canyon the
camera is held level, pointed across the abyss, the
perception of the canyon’s depth is extreme.
If the camera is pointed down to see more of the
river below, the perception of depth is gone.
• In darkness there is no discernible third dimension. When looking up at the sky at night, all the
stars look the same distance away. As the scene
becomes brighter, depth perception increases. In
lower light levels (with the resulting lack of contrast) 3D is not perceived.
Just because you have a camera, film or memory card and a great subject, don’t be alarmed if
you are hassled, arrested, injured and have your
equipment confiscated. Follow the link to an
article regarding 1st Amendment rights as it
pertains to photographers. As Walt Kelly once
wrote, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Curiously, when the light source is directly above,
such as at noon, the feeling of depth is diminished
because everything in the field of view is lit the
same way. There are no shadows or contrast
which negate any binocular cues. Taking photos in varied lighting, especially with shadows, increases the binocular cues.
Summer school is in full swing at B.I.P.S. (Better
Imaging Photo School). There are several new
• When in doubt, supplement the ambient light to classes, including “Flower and Garden Photograbrighten the foreground only. This technique also phy”, “Success with Flash”, and “Essential Photosoftens harsh shadows which may be caused by shop Tricks”. Classes are intentionally kept small,
low angle lighting. If the situation allows, using a so sign up today via either web site, telephone, or
reflector to change the angle of a bright light can best of all, in person. A complete schedule is athelp whether a flash is used or not.
Keep in mind that 3D always exists, whether perceived or not. Some of the 3D effects on TV or in
the movies are exaggerated to unnatural special
effects. If everything in the world was seen as a Jerry recently came across an article from the June
computer generated special effect the world would 2, 2008 issue of Scientific American regarding
be a much scarier place.
Digital Forensics. What is seen isn’t always what
was real ...
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Enough words on a screen. It’s great weather and
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Same camera, same lens. No cropping, these are the full files. 3