Thanks, Photopea!

June 24, 2022

According to The Verge …

Adobe has started testing a free-to-use version of Photoshop on the web and plans to open the service up to everyone as a way to introduce more users to the app. Source Credit: Adobe plans to make Photoshop on the web free to everyone, by Jacob Kastrenakes.

Way to go Photopea — looks like you might have helped to nudge Adobe out of its complacency!

Related Resources

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Post update: What is it?

June 17, 2022

I was surprised no one commented on my last blog post. I guess the mystery object was too easy to identify. I will try to make the next installment of “What is it?” more challenging.

The photos show two views of a bullet from the Civil War that was discovered (using a metal detector) by my nephew Tim Roberts near his boyhood home in Warrenton, Virginia USA.

Notice there are two rings around the base of the bullet. That indicates the bullet was made for the Confederate Army.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

June 14, 2022

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. It’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?”

If you think you know what is shown in these photos, then please leave a comment. The answer will be revealed in a post update.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Fossil shark tooth, revisited

June 10, 2022

This blog post features a photo of a fossil shark tooth that I collected from the Lee Creek Phosphate Mine in Aurora, North Carolina. I didn’t record the exact date when I collected this specimen, but it was sometime between 1984 and 1989. The mine is currently open for phosphate mining, but it’s closed to the public for fossil collecting.

At the time I collected the tooth, the species of shark was called Carcharodon megalodon. Subsequently, the scientific name was changed to Carcharocles megalodon.

C. megalodon lived in “shallow” seas approximately 10 million years ago. 10 million years seems like a long time on the human time scale, but isn’t long ago on the Geologic Time Scale.

Size and jaw placement

The following annotated image shows one method for measuring the size of a fossil shark tooth. The “slant height” of the tooth is approximately four and one-quarter inches (~4 1/4″) long, as measured along the straighter edge of the tooth (lower edge, relative to the photo).

According to Gareth Williams, a member of the Megalodon Maniacs Facebook group, the tooth is from the upper jaw (lateral).

Lee Creek Phosphate Mine | C. megalodon (lingual side)

Photoblog post flashback

On 11 May 2020 I published a blog post entitled “Focus bracketing using Fujifilm X-T3” that features the same ruler shown in the preceding photo.

The 7″ plastic ruler is from the Calvert Marine Museum. Do you know why the small ruler is 7″ long rather than the more common 6″ length? Please leave a comment if you know the correct answer. Source Credit: Focus bracketing using Fujifilm X-T3.

The reason the ruler is 7″ inches long is because that’s the length of the largest fossil shark teeth ever collected — the holy grail for fossil hunters!

Tech Tips

The Adobe Photoshop “Ruler Tool” can be used to measure the number of pixels between any two points along the ruler shown in the preceding annotated image.

60s ‘shop: Using the ruler tool to measure distances in Photoshop CC, by Photoshop for the Scientist (1:00) provides a clear and concise explanation of how it’s done.

The resulting value (in pixels) can be used to set a custom scale in Photoshop in order to make other measurements of the tooth virtually.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

GoPro: “ProTune” is back, baby!

June 7, 2022

GoPro taketh-away; GoPro giveth back. What?

Thanks to Australian YouTuber Danny Black for a heads-up that the “GoPro Quik” app features the “ProTune” settings again. (See GoPro Tip No. 1 in the following video.)

The following screen captures from my Apple iPad mini 6 running the “GoPro Quik” app show the “ProTune” settings under “Video Settings,” “Photo Settings” …

“GoPro Quik” app | Settings

and “Time Lapse Settings.” Yep, “Protune” is back, baby!

“GoPro Quik” app | Settings

The “ProTune” settings are featured in Version 10.15 of the “GoPro Quik” app, the current version available from the Apple App Store as of this writing.

This is kind of a big deal. I wonder why GoPro didn’t mention the return of the “ProTune” settings in the Version History? It’s just so GoPro to fumble the ball like this!

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Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Fossil shark tooth

June 3, 2022

Sometimes I start working on a blog post by shooting some quick-and-dirty test shots of the subject, such as the following photos of a fossil shark tooth taken using the “Camera” app on my Apple iPad mini 6. Both photos featured in this post are unedited, that is, they are the original JPGs straight from the “Photos” app on the iPad.

Labial side

The first photo was taken with the built-in camera flash turned on. In my opinion, the light is a little too “harsh.”

The photo shows the side of the tooth that faces outward from the mouth of the shark. Notice the tooth edges are serrated.

There are at least two ways to measure the size of a fossil shark tooth. (More about how to measure shark teeth in a follow-up blog post.) This tooth is approximately four and one-quarter inches (~4 1/4″), as measured along the straighter edge of the tooth (right side, relative to the photo).

Lingual side

The last photo was taken was taken using a small LED light and the flash turned off. The LED lighting is better than the flash light, but the specular reflection located near the upper-middle of the tooth enamel is a little distracting.

The photo shows the side of the tooth that faces inward. Three prominent parts of the tooth are easy to identify in the following photo, including the crown/enamel (top), bourlette (middle), and root (bottom).

In the opinion of the author, the lingual side of a shark tooth is often displayed because it is more visually appealing than the labial side.

What’s next?

I plan to shoot better photos, of course, and annotate some of them in order to make it easier to identify the parts of the tooth.

I will describe when and where I collected the fossil shark tooth, identify the species of shark, and provide an estimate of its approximate age on the Geologic Time Scale.

Finally I will explain how to measure the size of a fossil shark tooth, and how to determine whether the tooth is from the upper- or lower jaw, including its approximate position along the jaw line.

Related Resource: Fossil shark tooth, revisited.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Happy summer!

June 1, 2022

01 June is the first day of summer. What? Perhaps you’re thinking, no that’s incorrect — the first day of summer is on the day of the June Solstice that occurs annually around 21 June. Well, as it turns out both of us are correct.

Atmospheric scientists, including climatologists and meteorologists, define summer as the three-month time period that includes June, July, and August. Astronomers define summer as the three-month time period from the June Solstice to the September Equinox.

Now you know. Again I say, Happy summer!

Related Resource: The Seasons, the Equinox, and the Soltices (by the National Weather Service).

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

RadarScope app

May 27, 2022

RadarScope, one of my favorite apps for Apple iOS devices, is a full-featured app that provides access to nearly the entire suite of Doppler weather radar products generated by the National Weather Service.

As a wildlife photographer I use RadarScope to make go/no-go decisions for photowalking outings. And when I’m already in the field, I use the app to decide whether it’s time to seek shelter from pop-up thunderstorms.

As a weather enthusiast, RadarScope enables me to track the approach and passing of weather systems such as the line of strong thunderstorms that affected the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region on Friday, 27 May 2022.

Composite Reflectivity

The first image shows “Composite Reflectivity.” This is the same type of weather radar imagery that has been used by TV weathercasters for years. In a nutshell, composite reflectivity shows precipitation intensity within range of a weather radar site, in this case KWLX — the NWS Forecast Office located in Sterling, Virginia.

27 MAY 2022 | 10:29 AM EDT | KWLX Sterling

Notice the line of heavy precipitation, indicated by a narrow band of red radar echoes, just to the west of my location in suburban Washington, D.C. (see blue reticle at the center of the screen). Forecast storm tracks (see incremented white lines) indicate individual storm cells are moving generally from southwest to northeast.

To view storm tracks in RadarScope, tap the settings icon in the lower right of the screen, then choose Layers and turn on the Storm Tracks option. The estimated times of arrival can be seen by touching anywhere along the track. Source Credit: RadarScope: How are Storm Tracks Computed? [Editor’s Note: In my experience, this feature works only when I tap the white circle at the origin of each storm track.]

Storm Relative Velocity

Storm Relative Velocity” shows the wind velocity in a storm minus the forward motion of the storm. Greens show motion toward the weather radar site; reds show motion away from the radar (like car tail lights).

27 MAY 2022 | 11:21 AM EDT | KWLX Sterling

Look closely at the full-size version of the preceding image. Notice the yellow polygon located between Beaverdam and Fredericksburg, Virginia that delineates the boundaries of a severe thunderstorm warning area.

There is a red polygon (located inside the yellow polygon) that represents a tornado warning area. Within the boundaries of the red polygon, notice the juxtaposition of greens and reds — a good indicator of counterclockwise rotation in a storm cell. As it turns out, there were several official reports of a tornado on 27 May 2022 in the same location as indicated by the NWS Doppler weather radar.

It’s important to note that the orientation of side-by-side greens and reds typical of rotating thunderstorm cells varies depending upon the location of the storm cell relative to the weather radar site. In the example shown above the greens are on the right and the reds are on the left because the warning area is located to the southwest of KWLX. In contrast, if the warning area were located to the northeast of the radar site, then the reds would be on the right and the greens on the left.

Related Resources

The following resources from the National Weather Service provide excellent background information about Doppler weather radar.

RadarScope features good in-app documentation, as evidenced by the following screen captures.

RadarScope | Help

RadarScope | User’s Guide

RadarScope | User’s Guide – Velocity Products

The same resources (and more) are available online.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

 

GoPro: “Quik for Desktop”

May 24, 2022

GoPro legacy software “Quik for Desktop” (Ver. 2.7.0) can be used to add “Stickers” to video shot with a GoPro HERO5, 6, and 7, but doesn’t work with GoPro HERO8, 9, and 10. “Can be,” that is assuming the feature works with your camera/video. Huh? Please continue reading.

“Quik for Desktop”

My former colleague Kyle Margenau sent a video clip to me that he shot using his GoPro HERO5 Black action camera.

GoPro “Quik for Desktop” | Media

In order to edit a video, double-click on its icon in the Media library.

Editor’s Note: DO NOT click on “Open in Create Mode,” shown along the blue bar near the top of the screen — otherwise “you’re entering a world of pain!” “Create Mode” seems to be GoPro’s quick-and-dirty process for creating simple videos with added music for the purpose of sharing on social media. I tested the process so you don’t have to be frustrated — “Create Mode” was an epic fail!

There are four buttons for editing video, located along the lower-middle of the window. Shown from left-to-right, the four icons are “Create a Clip,” “Rotate 90°,” “Grab a Photo,” and “Adjust Gauges.”

GoPro “Quik for Desktop” | “Adjust Gauges” button

When I clicked the “Adjust Gauges” button (shown above, highlighted by a red square), the following error message appeared on-screen.

GoPro “Quik for Desktop” | No GPS Data

There are/were six “Stickers” available in “Quik for Desktop,” and they are somewhat different from the seven “Stickers” available in the “Quik” app (Ver. 10.15). Using “Quik for Desktop,” you can add as many stickers as you like; using the “Quik” app, you can add four stickers.

  • GoPro Logo
  • Info Cluster
  • Speed Tracker
  • GPS Path ← line with no context
  • Speedometer ← better than the version in “Quik” app
  • G-Force

I think it would be nice to include the exact latitude and longitude of the camera in the “Info Cluster.”

“Quik” app

The following JPG frame grab (2 MP) was saved from the “GoPro Quik” app (Ver. 10.15) running on my Apple iPad mini 6. Kyle’s vehicle is heading southeast at 17 mph.

Notice I juxtaposed the “Path” gauge (upper-left) with the “Terrain” gauge (lower-left) in order to underscore a point that I made in my last blog post — a line without any context/frame of reference is pointless.

GoPro “Quik” app.

As you can see by the telemetry “Stickers” shown in the preceding frame grab, Kyle’s video does in fact include GPS data. It’s worth noting the frame grab (shown above) does include EXIF but does not include GPS info for latitude, longitude, and elevation. C’mon GoPro — frame grabs from video could, and should include GPS info!

If you can determine the exact time of each video frame, you can use the exiftool -geotag and -geosync options to read the GPX file and geotag the extracted frames. Source Credit: ExifTool Forum.

I have NO IDEA why the “Adjust Gauges” feature in “Quik for Desktop” doesn’t work. I tested “Quik for Desktop” running on an older Apple iMac desktop computer (Intel) as well as a newer Apple MacBook Air (M1) — the “Adjust Gauges” feature didn’t work on either device.

I have watched several tutorial videos on YouTube that show the feature does work, or at least it did at one time.

Please contact me if you have any suggestions for troubleshooting this problem. Thanks!

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

 

GoPro: How to add “Stickers”

May 20, 2022

Every GoPro action camera since the GoPro HERO5 Black features a built-in global positioning system (GPS) receiver; my GoPro HERO4 Black does not.

Assuming you own a GPS-capable GoPro camera, there is another case for using either “Quik for Desktop” or the “GoPro Quik” app to edit video: adding overlays to video, including stickers and telemetry gauges.

GoPro legacy software “Quik for Desktop” can be used to add “Stickers” to video shot with a GoPro HERO5, 6, and 7, but doesn’t work with GoPro HERO8, 9, and 10.

The “GoPro Quik” app can be used to add “Stickers” to video shot with HERO8, 9, and 10 cameras; it’s also backward-compatible with HERO5, 6, and 7.

It’s worth noting that the “GoPro Quik” app can be used to edit a single video clip for free, with some limitations. For details see GoPro Quik: Free Vs. Subscription Features. See also GoPro Quik App- All Your Questions Answered by Jordan Hetrick (12:33).

Add “Stickers”

My good friend and former colleague Kyle Margenau sent a video clip to me that he shot using his GoPro HERO8 Black. First the video clip was saved to “Photos” on my iPad mini 6, then it was added to “Media” in the “GoPro Quik” app.

Tap the “Media” icon (shown below, highlighted by a red square) to see “All Media” saved to the “GoPro Quik” app. Kyle’s video appears at the top of the list on the page, last saved on Friday, May 13 [2022].

GoPro “Quik” app | All Media

As you can see, I already edited the video to add several “Stickers.” Tap the pencil icon (shown below, highlighted by a red square) to edit the video.

GoPro “Quik” app.

Tap the “Stickers” button (shown below, highlighted by a red square).

GoPro “Quik” app.

Up to four stickers can be displayed on the video, one in each corner.

There are currently 7 stickers available in the app:

  1. GoPro Logo
  2. Speedometer ← speed plus compass heading
  3. Terrain ← unavailable in “Quik for Desktop”
  4. Path ← line with no context
  5. Speed Chart
  6. Altitude
  7. G-Force

Source Credit: GoPro Quik: How To View Stickers.

In the following screenshot notice that blue tick marks indicate the “Stickers” that have been added to the movie.

GoPro “Quik” app | Stickers

Add more “Stickers” by tapping one of the icons (shown above, highlighted by a red rectangle). By default, the new sticker will be shown in the upper-left corner of the movie. Tap the same icon again in order to reposition the sticker to the upper-right corner. Tap the same icon again to move the sticker to the lower-right corner; tap it a fourth time to move it to the lower-left corner. Tap the same sticker icon five times in order to delete it from the movie.

Tap the ✔️ icon (lower-right corner) when you are finished (shown above, highlighted by a red square).

Save Media

Wait, you need to do one more thing. Tap the “Save” icon (shown below, highlighted by a red square) in the upper-right corner in order to save your edited video.

GoPro “Quik” app.

The following screenshot shows where the video can be saved. There are three (3) options; I recommend “Save to Photos” (shown below, highlighted by a red rectangle).

GoPro “Quik” app.

Grab Photo

Play the annotated video clip and when you see a frame you’d like to grab, pause playback and tap the “Extract Photo Icon” located along the bottom of the screen (shown below, highlighted by a red square). For more detailed directions, see GoPro: How to “Grab Photo” from Video.

GoPro “Quik” app.

You have the option to scrub through the video frame-by-frame (by using the left and right arrows) until you find a frame that you’d like to save as a photo. Tap the blue “Save Frame” button located in the upper-right corner of the “Grab Photo” screen (shown below, highlighted by a red rectangle). Then choose the location where you would like to save the frame grab: Save to App; Save to Photos; Share Media.

GoPro “Quik” app | Grab Photo

The following video frame grab (4 MP) was saved from the “GoPro-Quik” app. Kyle’s vehicle is heading southeast at 22 mph.

GoPro “Quik” app.

The last screenshot was taken from the video using the Apple “Photos” app. Notice the black bars along the top and bottom of the screen. Kyle’s vehicle is heading southeast at 12 mph.

Apple “Photos” app.

What are the take-aways?

Could the GoPro Logo “Sticker” be any bigger? It’s ridiculously big! It shouldn’t be too difficult to update the “GoPro Quik” app to enable the user to resize/reposition “Stickers,” similar to the way it works in “Quik for Desktop.”

In my opinion, the Speedometer and Terrain “Stickers” are two of the more useful telemetry gauges.

It would be nice to add numbers to the tick marks on the Speedometer. In this case, the Speedometer is marked in increments of 10 mph, but the increment varies depending upon what is shown in your movie. Also, it would be nice to show an exact number for compass direction, from 0-360°.

The Terrain “Sticker” shows the path of the camera superimposed on a map. It would be nice to have the option to select the map type, such as street, terrain, or satellite. In contrast, the Path “Sticker” is simply a line that traces, well, the path of your camera. In my opinion, a line without any context/frame of reference is pointless, but hey, use the Path “Sticker” if you like.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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