Fake Window

September 18th 2019

The last couple of offices I’ve worked in had no windows. So I decided to build a window for myself.

It’s a lot of fun when people come in my office and look at the window, but know there can’t be a window because we’re deep in the middle of a building. No one, so far, has been brave enough to suggest that the window is fake because questioning windows is nonsense.

DIY Fake window

The window is constructed out of 1/4″ plywood that I painted white, 6000k LED tape, and some cheap blinds.

I painted the plywood, let it dry for a couple of days. The LED tape can only be cut at certain points, so I figured out how long each of the strips needed to be given the cut-point-constraint. I peeled the backing off the tape and stuck it down. I was a little nervous that the adhesive faling at some point, so I added a few zip-ties. Finally I glued some 2×2″ bocks to the top of the plywood and screwed the blinds to the blocks.

The whole thing is mounted on my office wall with three heavy-duty command hooks.

Burning Man Spin Hyperlapse

September 16th 2019

I shot this hyperlapse of the man by lining up the man with the center of the focus screen shooting a long exposure photo, taking a big step to the left and repeating about 450 times. I used my Canon 80d with the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 and a full-carbon Sirui travel tripod.

Taking the photos took a long time, but post took an absolute eternity. The photos I took were lined up pretty well but not perfectly. So, I had to do some image stabilization. Here’s what the video looked like before stabilization. It’s not terrible, but it’s not nearly compelling as the stabilized version is.

None of the automatic stabilization tools I tried worked very well– they’re not tuned for this use-case, I guess. I spent weeks working with AfterEffects to learn how to do a really clean motion track, but the complexity for this project was compounded since there’s no detail that exists in every frame in the video.

I really want the final video to make the man look like a spinning top, and the stabilized video looks pretty good. I hope some next generation video stabilization tool will come out and I can use it to perfect my video.

Siebenschläfer Bett Knockoff

September 13th 2019

When Sarah was in Berlin earlier this year, she saw a cool bed frame somewhere. A little searching revealed it was the Dormouse Bed – Siebenschläfer Bett.

Looking at a few websites I got some approximate dimensions for the bed and using photos from the web was able to figure out a ratio of pixels to centimeters and generated some plans.

bed frame in the back yard

I realized though, that European beds are slightly different sizes so I had to tweak my plans to match.

plans for the bed

After making the plans I figured out for a queen sized bed I would need just one sheet of 4×8′ plywood. I did several coats of Ebony Polyurethane on the sheet of plywood before cutting everything out.

detail of bed support system

The support for the bed is pretty simple — two 2×4″ rails were added on the inside edge of the two long boards and then 1×4″ were laid on top of the 2x4s.

side table on bed

A couple weeks after building the bed I decided to build some side-tables that connect to the bed frame too. They’re made from offcuts of the bed frame.

Milky Way over Penland

September 12th 2019

Sarah and I went to Penland School of Craft a few weeks back. It’s in a lovely part of the county — it’s about an hour northeast from Asheville, NC. The moon was pretty full most of the time we were up there, but a few nights I shot Milky Way photos before the moon rose.

In a digital photograph the noise in an image is randomly distributed, so if you take two noisy photos, and combine them then the total noise in the resultant image is lower.

Image comparing the low noise in stacked images to an unstacked noisy image.
Left is the median of 17 aligned images & Right is a single frame

I shot 17 images for the sky at 30 seconds with 3200iso and for the foreground, 4 shots at 30 seconds at 16000iso.

Creating an average image for the sky is hard because the earth is rotating making the Milky Way appear to move. I used Nebulosity to align the Milky Way frames.

removing image distortion animation

I did a similar noise removal for the foreground, but that’s much easier as it doesn’t move. The foreground and sky now exist in separate images. They need to be combined in Photoshop using a mask.

Finally the image needs to be un-distorted — I shot these photos with an 8mm fisheye which gives the world a weird fishbowl shape.

UV Exposure Unit

September 12th 2019

attaching UV LED tape to a board

I got back from a Casein Printing workshop a few weeks ago, and I’m gearing up to make casein prints at home. I’ve bought the two chemical components potassium dichromate and ammonium caseinate. The last big thing to do is build an exposure unit.

complete UV LED exposure board

It looks like most home made exposure units use fluorescent tubes, but they’re kind of expensive and require holders and ballast. I found some UV LED Tape on Amazon which should work, and it’s low complexity to setup — cut the tape to length, apply to the board, and solder wires to the tape to complete the electrical connection. It took maybe 2 hours to apply the LED Tape and solder everything together

I’m not sure how tall the exposure unit box needs to be, to get good coverage and diffusion, so I’ll prop it up for testing and then build an appropriate box

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