Archive for February, 2013

Making It: 10 (More!) Futuristic Materials That Exist Today

28 Feb

[ By Delana in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

amazing new materials

The materials we use to create consumer products and infrastructure objects are constantly evolving as technology advances. The futuristic materials of a generation ago are commonplace today, just as the most amazing of new materials today will be completely familiar a generation from now. But right now, these 10 materials are some of the most fascinating and newsworthy substances in the world.

Gallium, the Metal that Melts in Your Hand

gallium amazing element

Although the above image looks like it’s been Photoshopped, it’s completely real. Gallium is a chemical element with such a low melting point that it turns to liquid in the human hand. It shatters like glass and breaks down other metals, but it’s non-toxic to humans.

Given its bizarre properties, gallium is understandably a favorite of scientists, science teachers and their students. The above videos show some of the most popular experiments using gallium, including one in which a spoon made of gallium melts in a cup of 85 degree (F) water.

Self-Healing Concrete for Smarter Streets

self-healing concrete

Repairing or replacing damaged concrete creates a financial and environmental burden. Smart materials which can repair themselves seem to be the future of construction technology, but most of those invented in recent years have required the addition of an outside material or stimulus to activate their healing properties. The smart concrete developed by University of Rhode Island engineering student Michelle Pelletier has microscopic capsules of a sodium silicate healing agent embedded in it. When a crack appears in the concrete, the sodium silicate acts with other components of the concrete to fix the cracks, sometimes making the structure even stronger than before.


BAM worlds second hardest material

Like many important materials, BAM was discovered accidentally. The combination of boron, aluminum, magnesium and titanium boride was discovered in 1999 by scientists at the US Department of Energy Laboratory in Ames, Iowa while they were looking for a material that generates electricity when heated. BAM is among the hardest materials in the world, surpassed only by diamond and cubic boron nitride. But perhaps even more impressively, BAM is also incredibly slippery, outperforming even Teflon. Coating industrial machine rotors with this wonder alloy could save U.S. industries upwards of $ 179 million a year in operating costs thanks to the resulting reduction in friction.

Temperature-Reactive Tiles

Moving Colors color changing tiles

These color-changing glass tiles that are activated by temperature changes have the potential to turn every part of our world into a hypercolor dream. The tiles, made by a company called Moving Color, are already being used in showers but could also be used in kitchens, cars, appliances and cookware – just to name a few.

 What a Robust Web They Weave…

toughest biological material

It’s difficult to judge scale from the above photograph, but trust us: that is one massive spiderweb. It was made by a Darwin’s bark spider, found only on the island of Madagascar. These surprisingly small spiders (none over 2 centimeters or .78 inches have ever been observed) make some of the largest webs in the world. Even more impressive is the material of which the gigantic webs are made. The Darwin’s bark spider uses silk that is astonishingly strong: about 10 times stronger than Kevlar, in fact, making it the world’s toughest known biological material. The spider’s extraordinary natural silk is being studied so that we can someday create a human-made material that is nearly as tough.

To the Moon, ALICE!

ALICE aluminum rocket fuel

This unassuming cylinder of grey stuff could change the way we go to the moon – and beyond. It’s a new type of rocket fuel made of aluminum and ice, ingredients which earned the fuel the name ALICE. The spacecraft fuel is being developed by researchers at Purdue University as a more environmentally friendly way to send Earthly machines into space. Current methods of propelling spacecraft put an enormous amount of pollutants into the atmosphere, but ALICE is kinder to our home planet. Researchers hope that the new fuel could even be made on the moon or Mars – or anywhere else water can be found – for a manned return flight, meaning that the outbound flight would not have to carry enough fuel for the return flight.

Starlite, Star Bright…

Starlite amazing material

There is an amazing material that was invented way back in 1986 but still has not been widely used by any industry. Starlite is a plastic-like material that can withstand a nuclear blast or temperatures hotter than those on the surface of the sun. It was invented by a former hairstylist named Maurice Ward who was trying to develop an insulation material that would not emit toxic fumes in case of a fire. Instead, he came up with the miraculous Starlite – but he never commercialized his invention. Rumors about the fantastic material and its enigmatic inventor abound, but no one seems quite sure about why the material has never been put into widespread use. Sadly, we may never see Starlite reach its full potential; Ward died in 2011 and he was one of only two people on Earth who knew how Starlite is made.

Changing Phases

intelligent form changing nanomaterial

Scientists at the Technical University of Hamburg and the Institute for Metal Research in Shenyang, China use the example of cooking a breakfast egg to explain their research. The firmness of the egg can be adjusted just by changing the amount of time it is boiled. However, when an egg gets too firm, the cooking time can’t be reversed to make the egg softer again. Their research makes it possible for metals to change between hard and soft states with the touch of a button – a button that triggers an electric signal. This alone is an exciting development, but the scientific community is, as usual, looking ahead. They envision materials that can heal their cracks autonomously. They predict that in the future, “smart” metals and alloys will exist that can selectively become stronger when they sense an impact, thereby preventing damage.

Improving Your Lot in Life

filtering parking lots

Parking lots are disgusting, dirty places – largely because of the pollution inflicted by thousands of cars every day. The fluids that leak from cars onto the pavement are often washed right onto surrounding soil or nearby bodies of water. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to make parking lots a lot cleaner in the future, so they are studying an absorbent material that will soak up those vehicle fluids. Rather than being washed into the environment by rain or snow, the fluids flow through the permeable parking lot and into special collection tanks to be disposed of responsibly.

This Ship Has Sailed

aluminum foam packing material

International trading means that plenty of consumer products and materials are sent from one country to another on cargo ships. While this is an important part of global commerce, it is bad news for the environment since said cargo ships cause a huge amount of pollution. European Union researchers created a unique material meant to make super-light cargo ships possible. Aluminum foam, pictured above, is lighter than water and is very stiff. Sandwiched between two sheets of steel, the aluminum foam can withstand enormous force while allowing for an overall lighter ship and, therefore, lower fuel consumption. Tests indicate that the aluminum foam can cut down on ships’ weight by 30 percent, which could reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to 60 trucks’ worth for every super-light ship.

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[ By Delana in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

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Adobe releases Photoshop Touch for Android and iOS smartphones

27 Feb


Adobe has announced a smartphone version of its Photoshop Touch app for both Android and iOS. The app was originally launched for 10-inch tablets and more recently a version for smaller tablets, such as the iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7. It includes features familiar to Photoshop users such as layers, advanced selections tools, adjustments and filters, but in a much smaller format. Photoshop Touch for smartphones is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play for U.S. $ 4.99. Read more at

News: Digital Photography Review (

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7 Tips for Photographing at the Zoo

27 Feb

Zoos … love ‘em or hate ‘em?

I think it depends on the zoo. I much prefer open range zoos where the animals have tons of space to roam around and live almost as they would in the wild. I can’t stand to see animals in cages especially when they pace back and forth in frustration. But zoos do play an essential role in conservation and education.

When it comes to photographing at the zoo it’s easy to get distracted by the sheer joy of seeing the animals and forget everything we have learned about photography. Try to remember that all the rules of good composition still apply such as balance, the rule of thirds and, most importantly, no cluttered (or unnatural looking) backgrounds.

Here are some tips for your next zoo visit:

1. Choose the right zoo

The type of zoo you choose makes all the difference to your photography (and to the animals). Zoos with large open areas for the animals to roam tend to make better photographs because the images look more natural when you cannot see any fences.

Giraffes by Anne McKinnell

Giraffes at The Living Desert, Palm Springs, California.

2. Wait for a special moment

When the animals are right there in front of you don’t just snap away because you can. When you have this opportunity to be so close to them try to be patient and wait for a special moment to make a unique image.

Baby Elephant by Anne McKinnell

Baby Elephant at the San Diego Safari Park, California.

3. Dealing with fences and rails

Tufted Capuchin by Anne McKinnell

Tufted Capuchin at the San Diego Zoo, California.

If you are at the kind of zoo with fences, you can use a wide aperture to reduce the depth of field which should make any fences out-of-focus.

This is easier to achieve if there is greater distance between the animal and the fence.

It is also easier to make the fence disappear if it does not have direct light on it. Find a portion of the fence that is in the shade if it is in front of or behind your subject.

When I made this image of a monkey there was netting both between me and the monkey and behind the monkey. With a 400mm lens at f/5.6 only the monkey is in focus.

4. When to go

If it’s a hot day the animals will often be in the shade where they are more difficult to photograph. Try to go as soon as the zoo opens in the morning when it’s cooler and the animals are more active. You will find fewer people and more animals in the morning.

Overcast days are great for the zoo! Just keep the sky out of your image and enjoy the soft light with no harsh shadows.

If it is a bright sunny day you can use a polarizing filter to remove glare from the animal’s skin or fur.

5. Don’t forget the butterfly zoo

Butterfly by Anne McKinnell.

Butterfly at Butterfly Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia.

One of my favourite types of zoo is a butterfly zoo.

One thing to remember about a butterfly zoo is that they are very hot inside. If you live in a cold country like I do and you visit in winter remember that your lens will need to make the transition to the warmer climate. When your lens is exposed to the warm humid air condensation will form and it might take awhile for it to go away.

One way to deal with this is to go in the restroom and put your lens under the warm air from the hand dryer for awhile to warm it up before you go inside.

Another option is to put your camera and lens in a ziplock bag before you enter and then let it acclimate inside the bag. It will take about 20 minutes before you will be able to take your camera out of the bag without condensation appearing. I prefer the hand dryer method!

Butterfly zoos tend to have beautiful light and often there are more than just butterflies. At Butterfly Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, there are a number of birds as well and the light does wonders for the colour of the flamingos.

Caribbean Flamingo by Anne McKinnell

Caribbean Flamingo at Butterfly Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia.

6. Equipment

Baby Bear by Anne McKinnell

Baby Bear at Bear Country, Rapid City, South Dakota.

You probably won’t need a huge lens because you can usually get fairly close to the animals in a zoo. I find most of my zoo images have a focal length between 100mm and 300mm.

As far as a tripod goes, I think this is one occasion when it’s perfectly okay leave your tripod at home.

The animals are moving so you are going to need a fast shutter speed anyway. Use at least 1/500 second shutter speed and image stabilization.

When I go to a zoo I usually take my camera with only one lens and a polarizing filter. That’s it! It makes it much easier to move around to get the right angle and you’ll have less to carry on a long hot day.

7. Focus

Snow Leopard Kitten by Anne McKinnell.

Snow Leopard Kitten at Westcoast Game Park, Bandon, Oregon.

Always focus on the eyes.

When you are using a shallow depth of field to remove background distractions part of your animal may be out-of-focus too.

That’s okay as long as the eyes are in focus.

In this image I made of a snow leopard kitten, with a 300mm lens and an aperture of f/5.6, only the nose and eyes are sharp.

Zoos provide both opportunities and challenges for photographers. I hope these tips help you make better images during your next zoo visit.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

7 Tips for Photographing at the Zoo

Digital Photography School

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27 Feb

Check out these visual art images:

visual art
Image by ines saraiva
The musicians are the birds in the birdhouse. Their song and fragments of ambient sounds are recorded by a number of microphones in the sound installation, then digitally remastered with effects and played back. Every spot around Kanariestudio has its own unique and constantly changing sound image that visitors can enjoy.

Paul Panhuysen (NL) has studied pain
ting, monumental design and art sociology. He is the founder of the Appollo House in Eindhoven and De Bende van de Blauwe Hand. He is a member of the Maciunas Ensemble."


In Klankenbos (Sound Forest) contemporary artworks produce sounds. Not only are your ears stimulated, you’d better keep your eyes open as well, for the sound installations are fascinating visual artworks which deserve to be looked at. Thus Klankenbos is a special auditory and artistic open air experience, inviting you along a promenade walk at the Provincial Domain Dommelhof in Neerpelt. With its ten stationary and three mobile sound installations Klankenbos is quite unique in Europe."

"Awakening Woods
In the context of Manifesta 9 – Parallel Events, Musica is hosting a summer exhibition with three new acquisitions for the permanent Klankenbos collection and two temporary media installations."


Neerlpelt, Belgium, 08/2012

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8 Tips for Working with Models Every Photographer Should Know

27 Feb

Photographing people often requires a completely different bag of tricks comparedto photographing landscapes or static objects. As someone who personally loves taking candid shots, it’s taken me a lot of practice to get used to working with models in such a way that I get the perfect look and feel I want for my photo shoots every time. If you’re Continue Reading

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Rambus unveils ‘Binary Pixel’ sensor tech for expanded dynamic range

27 Feb


US technology company Rambus has unveiled ‘Binary Pixel’ sensor technology, promising greatly expanded dynamic range for the small sensors used in devices such as smartphones. Current image sensors are unable to record light above a specific saturation point, which results in clipped highlights. Binary Pixel technology gets around this by recording when a pixel has received a certain amount of light, then resetting it and in effect restarting the exposure. The result is significantly expanded dynamic range from a single-shot exposure. The company has demonstrated the technology using a low resolution sensor, and says it can easily be incorporated into CMOS sensors using current manufacturing methods. 

News: Digital Photography Review (

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27. Februar 2013

27 Feb

Ein Beitrag von: Sebastian Kahl

© Sebastian Kahl

kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin

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Stanka Koleva und die Wirklichkeit

27 Feb

Vorsicht, in diesem Artikel liegt der Fokus auf künstlerische Fotografie. Es werden auch seltsame Wort- und Sinnkonstrukte erstellt sowie eine Geschichte erzählt, für die ich an dieser Stelle keine Haftung übernehmen kann. Das Weiterlesen geschieht daher auf eigene Gefahr.

Es geht hier um Stanka Kolevas Arbeiten und Anfänge. Ihre Bilder sind nicht so einfach verdaulich, auch springt einem die Absicht nicht sofort ins Gesicht. Es sind eher die leisen Töne, die den Betrachter, lässt er sich drauf ein, zum Schauen bewegen.


So sehen wir Gesichter, nie ganz da, als wären sie in einer Welt hinter dem Bild und wir sehen nur einen Abdruck dessen, was einmal war. Oder es schweben schwarz umrankte Geisterwesen auf uns zu. Vieles ist möglich in Stankas Bildern.

Begonnen hatte alles mit der alten Kamera ihres Großvaters. Ich weiß, viele Geschichten von Fotografen beginnen so, aber warum auch nicht. Bei einigen ist es der Anfang einer wunderschönen Geschichte.

Ihre Großmutter also – bestimmt war es ein vernieselter Tag in Bourgos – einer Hafenstadt am schwarzen Meer, überreichte Stanka, Ihr erinnert Euch, die Großmutter war es, die Kamera ihres kürzlich verstorbenen Mannes.

I let myself be bird_stanka koleva Enthralled_by_time_

Sie nahm die Kamera und betrat ein Fotostudio in ihrer Stadt, um ein paar Filme zu kaufen. Als der Verkäufer sie fragte, ob Farb- oder Schwarzweißfilm, war sie für einen Moment verwirrt. Sie wusste nicht, welcher Filme in ihre Kamera passt und tippte auf schwarzweiß.

Der Verkäufer lachte und entschlüsselte das Geheimnis: Beide Filme würden passen. Als sie ihn fragte, ob er auch Filme entwickne, sagte er: „Ja, Sie können die Filme zu mir bringen und Sie entwickeln sie.“ Stanka schüttelte den Kopf: „Nein, das ist ein Missverständnis, ich bezahle Sie und Sie entwickeln die Bilder!“ Er nickte: „Ja, Sie werden mich bezahlen, aber Sie werden die Bilder selbst entwickeln.“


Von da an war er für fünf Jahre ihr Lehrer. Er brachte ihr alles bei, was er über sein Handwerk wusste. Für Stanka war dieses kleine Fotostudio ein Tempel, in dem sie neue Welten, neue Visionen und Sichtweisen kennenlernte. Auch heute noch arbeitet sie in der Dunkelkammer und stellt ihre Abzüge mittels des Silbergelantineverfahrens her.

Wenn sie Bilder macht, dann folgt sie ihrem Instinkt. Sie sagt:

Ich sehe etwas und es muss jetzt passieren, eine Aufnahme zu machen. Wenn ich ein Modell für Aufnahmen vorbereite, bitte ich es, bestimmte Dinge zu machen, die ich im Bild haben möchte (zum Beispiel etwas zu tragen oder zu halten). Dann lasse ich die Person die Situation fühlen, in der sie ist und spreche mit ihr, während ich fokussiere. Normalerweise spreche ich über unsinnige Dinge. Dann fangen wir beide an, uns wohler zu fühlen und die Szene und Atmosphäre zu spüren. Ich muss das Bild sehr schnell machen, weil ich sonst den Moment der Wahrhaftigkeit verliere.


Es ist die Wirklichkeit, die sie motiviert und provoziert, zu fotografieren.

Weil dort mehr ist als wir mit unseren Augen sehen, es gibt unbekannte Kräfte, die darauf warten, in uns als Menschen enthüllt zu werden. Meine Arbeiten sind ein Schnappen von mir nach dem Unbekannten, das über meinen Körper hinaus geht.

Dass ein Fotograf aber keine Insel ist, hat Martin in seinem Artikel schon so schön beschrieben und so hat sich auch Stanka von vielen Menschen um sich herum inspirieren lassen. Da sind als erstes natürlich ihr Lehrer Borislav Penkov und Künstler wie Sally Mann, Roger Ballen, Bastian Pons, Patricia Ujehovska und Bruce Mozertom. Sie geben ihr die Kraft, weiter zu fotografieren.


Ohne es fühle ich mich unvollständig und leer. Fotografie ist eine Art ständige Suche nach mir, ich versuche, mehr über das zu erfahren, was ich noch nicht verstehe und neue Kräfte in mir und jedem anderen Menschen zu entfesseln.

Und mit diesem Zitat möchte ich die Geschichte von Stanka hier vorerst enden lassen. Wer sich in ihren Worten wiederfindet oder sich durch ihre Bilder berühren lässt, der wird sie bestimmt weiter erzählen und ihre Webseite besuchen. Ich bin froh, über Umwege ihre Bilder gefunden zu haben. Sie reiht sich nun wiederum ein in die Reihe der Menschen, die mich beeinflussen.

kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin

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Instagram hits 100 million monthly users milestone

27 Feb


Popular photo-sharing service Instagram has reached a milestone of 100 million monthly active users. The mobile app, among the most popular ways of sharing images worldwide, was launched in October 2010. The platform has seen exponential growth since then. Read more about its two-and-a-half-year journey, including the Facebook acquisition in 2012, controversial changes to its Terms of Service and more at

News: Digital Photography Review (

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Give Your Eyeteeth: Surreal Hyper-Realistic Lip Makeup

27 Feb

[ By Steph in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

Eye Teeth Makeup 1

The word ‘eyeteeth’ has taken on a new meaning with a set of surreal and disconcerting images from Swedish makeup artist Sandra Holmbom. While most of Holmbom’s looks are much more conventional, the artist occasionally creates dramatic effects that incite a double-take. The image of an eyeball parting to reveal a set of teeth seems like something from a nightmare.

Eye Teeth Makeup 2

Eye Teeth Makeup 3

“Pretty, it’s not, but I had fun anyway,” Holmbom says of the look.

Eye Teeth Makeup 4

Eye Teeth Makeup 5

The makeup artist has also created gory effects like exposed musculature and wounds, as well as more humorous looks, like the character ‘Timon’ from the animated Disney movie ‘The Lion King.’ See more at her blog.

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[ By Steph in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

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