Winning with a Singularity of Perspective

The evening of Saturday, July 13th was the annual awards potluck dinner of the Fremont (CA) Photographic Society. It was a great time to get together with fellow photographers (and their significant others!), see again all the photographs that had won awards at the monthly competitions, and find out which of those were judged “best of the year”. I was fortunate to have five images selected for year-end awards, I share them in the gallery below. I was particularly satisfied that one particular image was selected, for reasons I will explain below.

I would like to draw your attention to my winner in the Creative Print category. To create this image, I took a photograph of the observation deck of Coit Tower in San Francisco and processed it with Photoshop’s “Adaptive Wide Angle Filter”, which normally is used to correct the distortion in perspective introduced by a wide-angle lens. Instead, I drew two perpendicular lines and told Photoshop that they were both horizontal. This is, of course, impossible within Euclidian geometry.

From Wikipedia “In Mathematics, a singularity is in general a point at which a given mathematical object is not defined, or a point of an exceptional set where it fails to be well-behaved in some particular way.” I suspected that the algorithm in the filter would have a singularity under these conditions and would crash. It didn’t, but in its struggle to meet my impossible request, generated this image. Well, almost. A bit of cloning was required to clean up the image. Yet there is, without a doubt, a singularity where the entire image swirls into the center and disappears, perhaps into another, non-Euclidian, dimension. Justifying the title, “A Singularity of Perspective”.

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8 Comments

  1. I am not sure whether to applaud Photoshop developers to have detected and defended against a crash on such singularity or to chide them for not detecting it early in the game and simply thrown an error message. Noting that their implementation decision enabled your incredible creative expression to materialize in this award-winning perspective, I choose the former!

      1. Lest my appreciation for the art didn’t properly show through, all the pictures in this collection are great! I believe I have seen the kettle and the flower pictures before. The others are new to me and look great. The orange sitting in a crystal bowl is simple but elegant!

  2. Congratulations on your winning images. Your work is very creative and well deserving of recognition.
    I met you at the gallery last Saturday. You have a great blog. I had seen your SF water simulations on
    various blogs, they are very interesting both visually and metaphorically. I look forward to seeing your
    website and more images.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I didn’t know my SF 2010 images had been re-posted on other blogs. I enjoyed talking with you at the Fremont Art Association Gallery. Thank you for sharing your Niles Canyon Railroad photos. They are great!

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