The deadly race to the South Pole

From the “Vox Darkroom” series:

Robert Falcon Scott was a British explorer who dreamed of being the first person to reach the South Pole. In 1912, he reached the Pole only to learn that his Norwegian rival, Roald Amundsen, had beat him to it. Caught by freakish weather and a string of bad luck, his entire party died trying to get back.

🔗 Another “Vox Darkroom” entry: Why the Soviets doctored this iconic photo

Automatically correct color distortion in underwater photos with “Sea-thru”

When diving you’ll notice that the colors start acting up: everything will become more washed out (and look more green/blue) from the moment you look down in the water, and everything will become darker as you descend. Colors like red go first: at a depth of 10m it looks brown. To correct this, underwater photographers like myself use red filters or software in post-production. The cleverly named “Sea-Thru” is an algorithm that can do this automatically:

Sea-thru’s image analysis factors in the physics of light absorption and scattering in the atmosphere, compared with that in the ocean, where the particles that light interacts with are much larger. Then the program effectively reverses image distortion from water pixel by pixel, restoring lost colors.

Here’s a comparison gif:

It comes with one big caveat though:

One caveat is that the process requires distance information to work.

I’m pretty sure that you’ll only need to do this once per type of water. With my own GoPro it usually takes me a dive or two to get my settings right and then I can continue on using with the same settings (at the same location and under the same conditions)

Scientific American: Sea-thru Brings Clarity to Underwater Photos →

3D Ken Burns Effect from a Single Image

Nice research by Simon Niklaus, Long Mai, Jimei Yang and Feng Liu:

In this paper, we introduce a framework that synthesizes the 3D Ken Burns effect from a single image, supporting both a fully automatic mode and an interactive mode with the user controlling the camera. Our framework first leverages a depth prediction pipeline, which estimates scene depth that is suitable for view synthesis tasks.

You can see the result in action starting at 0:30.

3D Ken Burns Effect from a Single Image →

🤔 I’m wondering how this will stack up against Apple’s “Portrait Mode” photos, as those photos already contain depth information.

Why the Soviets doctored this iconic photo

With the recent 75 year remembrance of the Normandy Landings (D-Day), I was reminded of this video by Vox, from the Vox Darkroom series:

“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” and “Raising a Flag over the Reichstag” are similarly iconic photos from World War II. They’re both beloved images of victory, and they’re both taken after the fighting ended in significant battles. But the Russian Soviet one is different, because parts of it are altered.

“Crowded Fields” – The Brilliant and Absurd Time-Lapse Photography of Pelle Cass

I like these photos by Pelle Cass, in which he composes several of the same shots on top of each-other.

The contrast between the crowded fields (the name of this series) and the empty stands make this great.

Booooooom: The Brilliant and Absurd Time-Lapse Photography of Pelle Cass →
Pelle Cass: Crowded Fields →

The Potential Future of Selfie Photography

Adobe Research:

What happens when we tap into the power of artificial intelligence and deep learning to transform bad portrait shots into good ones – all on a smartphone? By combining perspective effect editing, automatic, software-only photo masking, and photo style transfer technology, we’re able to transform a typical selfie into a flattering portrait with a pleasing depth-of-field effect that can also replicate the style of another portrait photo.


Sidenote: Replicating the style of one photo to another was recently described, and demo’d in a paper entitled “Deep Photo Style Transfer”. It has some stunning results:

On the left you see the source photo, in the middle the style to apply, and on the right the result.

Deep Photo Style Transfer Paper →
Deep Photo Style Transfer Code and Data →

Upload directly from Lightroom to Instagram with LR/Instagram


LR/Instagram is an unofficial publish plugin for Lightroom, allowing you to post photos directly to your Instagram account.

Simply install the plugin, add new service in Lightroom Publishing Manager and authenticate with your Instagram account.

LR/Instagram – Lightroom Publish Plugin for Instagram →

TomTom Bandit Underwater Scene Mode

Being a diver myself (certified PADI Master Scuba Diver), this looks awesome:

The latest TomTom Bandit camera update now automatically provides colour correction while filming in the water up to a depth of 15 m without the need for any additional accessories. View the difference!

By the looks of it, mainly the white balance is adjusted.

TomTom Bandit Action Cam →

DECOY – A portrait session with a twist

A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it.

To prove this we invited six photographers to a portrait session with a twist. ‘Decoy’ is one of six experiments from The Lab, designed to shift creative thinking behind the lens.