Panorama of Lisbon


Click to see the slightly larger version.

Here’s a nice Panorama of Lisbon that I shot a few weeks ago using my new Canon 550D. It consists 10 individual 18 mega pixel photos at full focal length (135mm) to zoom in across the Tejo river (around 1500m) that were stitched together using the ever amazing Hugin. The latest version of this is quite amazing at basically figuring out everything by itself. It’s like here’s a bunch of pictures, make a panorama out of that. And then it goes off and finds common points in the photos, arranges them in a grid that makes sense. Adjusts for lens characteristics, rotates, translates and distorts the photos until they overlap perfectly, adjusts tonality of the photos to match, blends the photos seamlessly and finally spits out a big whopping tif file. There are other tools that do some of these things but this one is the best by far. If you are willing to tweak the tool, it can do some pretty funky things like HDR panoramas (i.e. stitch together overlapping photos with multiple exposures), do panoramas where the photos have different exposures and tonality, use different projections for the panorama, drag around the stitched panorama inside whichever projection you chose to influence how things look, manually identify overlapping points, plugin experimental tools and algorithms for the various steps of creating a panorama, etc.

Unfortunately, you have to down-size this kind of images for the web and apply lots of jpeg compression. The final image is 10032×1024 pixels, downsized from 21896×2235 to save some precious bandwidth. The tif weighs in at a bit over 100MB. The lowests size jpeg I managed to get out of the full image was around 2.5 MB, but at that size compression artifacts are very noticeable. So I instead re-sized to something that might fit on an over sized display (vertically at least) so that people will have to scroll in only one dimension and got the size down to 1.1 MB with a respectable compression rate of around 30%, which preserves a lot of detail.

I was positioned in front of the big Jesus statue that is visible from Lisbon. I later went up as well and shot some more photos, some of which you can admire here (along with the rest of my photos from that trip). There is one photo there with the same view in a single photo from up on the statue that gives you a nice impression of the zoom range of this camera. It looks like a panorama photo but it is really just a zoomed out photo that I cropped a little.

Comments should be working again

I had a captcha plugin that was failing. Since I myself hate captcha’s, I’ve removed it for now and adjusted the comment settings to require moderation the first time you comment. Moderation + akismet should take care of most of the spam (hopefully). You can also still sign in using OpenId if you prefer, although the openid login on wordpress remains quite underwhelming (compared to what should be possible by now).

Anyway, happy commenting and thanks @eelkefolmer for pointing out my site was broken.

On Java, Json, and complexity

Time for a long overdue Saturday morning blog post.

Lately, I’ve been involved in some interesting new development at work that is all about key value stores, Json, Solr and a few other technologies I might have mentioned a few times. In other words, I’m having loads of fun at work doing stuff I really like. We’ve effectively tossed out XML and SQL and are now all about Json blobs that live in KVs and are indexed in Solr. Nothing revolutionary, except it is if you have been exposed to the wonderfully bloated and complicated world of Java Enterprise Edition and associated technologies. I’ve found that there is a bunch of knee-jerk reflexes that causes Java developers to be biased to be doing all the wrong things here. This is symptomatic of the growing gap between the enterprise Java people on one side and the cool hip kids wielding cool new languages and tools on the other hand.

Continue reading “On Java, Json, and complexity”