If you’re still looking for some good geek-friendly gifts, I have a couple kits available. My Blinkybug book/kit is available at Amazon. It has all the parts for making simple little blinking electronic insects, with easy-to-follow comic book-style instructions. It’s a great parent-kid project. Here’s a review on BoingBoing.
I wrote this post for the KQED MindShift blog about time-lapse photography. It gives a brief overview of the technique, and some resources for getting started:
Time-lapse is a photographic technique that allows us to tune into events that normally unfold at a pace too slowly to observe directly: the movement of clouds, the rising and setting of the sun, or the incremental growth of plant life.
Whether you’re a science teacher, a parent or kid interested in photography, or someone who just wants to learn something new, time lapse is a great way to observe the world from a different vantage point.
The technique entails shooting images at regular intervals, then playing them back to create a moving image. In this sense it’s like shooting a film or video. The difference is that with traditional film and video, images are captured at the same rate they’re played back (e.g., at 24 frames per second), whereas with time-lapse, the images are captured at a much slower rate–in other words, at a much longer interval between shots. When these images are played back at typical video frame rates, it looks like fast-forwarded reality.
Originally I only intended to show the full-year version nice and big as a projected installation, but I think it works well as an online video. However I encourage you to view it full-screen at 1080p! Here’s a direct link.
(* Actually, it’s 360 days, because easier to make a nice rectangle that way.)
The Exploratorium has hired me to create a multi-year series of time-lapse movies as they prepare their future home at Pier 15. This involved setting up another custom shooting rig, similar to the one I used for my History of the Sky project. Shooting began last November, and will continue until the Museum opens at the new location in 2013.
A friend sent me a link to today’s xkcd, which inspired me to post about a project I’ve been working on off and on over the last year or so. The comic describes the use of 2 cameras placed at a great distance apart, which are then viewed through via a pair of improvised video goggles. The result is a greatly exaggerated sense of stereoscopic depth. It’s as if you are a giant, with eyes a hundred feet apart, looking at tiny little clouds.
My project uses the same idea, but instead of using live video cameras, I use a pair of digital still cameras set far apart to create hyper-stereocopic time-lapse movies (geeky details below). I shot a bunch of these around San Francisco. They’re viewable on youtube: