Dec 16

Taking time to smell the roses…or whatever

3amigos, originally uploaded by NDeRC2.

The human eye is a pretty wonderful optical detector. The beauty of this morning’s scene from the McDonald’s drive-thru line could scarcely be captured by my cell phone camera. I planned for the close-up edit, bracing my phone on the steering wheel of my car to eliminate some of the usual vibrations. Picnic photo editing software (available through Flickr) helped to capture some of the wonder (above) from resulting unfiltered image (below.) But nothing quite does the job the eye can do.

Wondering what the human eye pixel equivalent was, I googled “human eye = ? pixels” and came across this exploration of the “Moore’s Law” limitations of the race toward the eye’s 500-or-so Megapixel equivalent. I read there that “the reason many pictures don’t turn out is that in daytime the human eye can easily perceive a dynamic range of 10,000:1, while at night it is more like 1,000,000:1. Meanwhile, color slide film can record only about 32:1, and digital cameras, about 64:1.” It is gratifying to find some numerical confirmation of what we all perceive: that there’s no substitute for being there.