Archive for the 'digital imaging' Category

Copying Art

Back in the days before copyright existed, it was not only common for artists to paint copies of famous art to learn how to paint, to learn their craft, but sometimes because that was the only way they could get access to the subjects they wanted to paint.

Take monarchs, for instance.

This is one of the many anonymous copies of the official portraits of Henry VIII.
[I felt that the framing of the digital image was a bit too tight; there wasn’t enough head room. So I’ve digitally reframed the picture, extending the space between the top of Henry’s head and the frame.]

Sitting for a painted portrait was a gruelling task, magnitudes worse than having your photograph taken. Still, it was one of the things that was expected of a monarch in the days before photography. In the 16th Century, the King of England was expected to take some time out of his busy schedule to pose for a official portraits on occasion.

But the King wouldn’t just sit for any artist, he’d only sit for the best.

In the same way movie stars and presidents and monarchs vied for a chance to be immortalized in black and white by Canada’s world class portrait photographer Yousef Karsh in the 20th Century, Henry VIII wanted only the best. Hans Holbein the Younger was a portrait artist good enough to be appointed King’s Painter, and his work immortalized both Henry VIII and his court. The most famous and perhaps most regal painting that Holbein created was on a mural on the wall of the Privy Chamber of the new Whitehall Palace.

Kinh Henry's official portrait made him look taller and more impressive

“Portrait of Henry VIII … is one of the most iconic images of Henry and is one of the most famed portraits of any British monarch.”

WIKIPEDIA: Portrait of Henry VIII

Henry himself was pleased enough with this work that he encouraged other artists to copy the portrait. What that means to both artists and historians of today is that the work was not lost, even though the original of that iconic painting was destroyed by fire in 1698.

But the painting lives on, and continues to be famous today because it was widely copied.

None of these artists would ever have been able to get access to the king, yet being able to copy official portraits undoubtedly gave them the means to make a living in the art field. Many of artists who made these copies never achieved fame of Hans Holbein the Younger, and many of the surviving copies of this and the other paintings of Henry were in fact painted by artists whose names have been lost. The attribution customarily given the copies is “after Hans Holbein the Younger. But although their names have been lost, an important work of art is preserved for the sake of both our history and our culture.

I don’t know any artists who want to see their work lost. Had the copyright laws of today been in place back then, this work would in fact be lost forever.

Driving Photography

I’ve been playing around with taking photographs when driving.

Of course, only when I’m a passenger.

the sun is setting behind three hydro towers at the side of the road.

I expect taking photos while driving the car would be even more dangerous than driving while on the cell phone 🙂

Sunset photographed from a moving car

The twin advantages digital photography has over film is that you can see immediately if what you’re doing is working…

Zooming past a tree with the sun behind

…and you can take zillions of photos until you get what you want.

Sun sets behind a bare tree and a highway traffic sign frame

I’ve been known to shoot a few thousand pictures on a two hour drive. So I thought I’d share a few.

Sometimes you capture the most extraordinary images:

an aerial view of the traffic and pedestrians in my wake reflected in the glass of the new addition to the ROM.

Or stumble on a serendipitous moment:

the biplane dives past a highway light standard headed for the trees

close n the biplane diving for the trees

A red biplane marked "Lucas" trails smoke in a deep dive

And sometimes even ordinary scenes can appear extraordinary…

rainy street at night; the traffic lights reflect on the road and in the raidrops on the windshield

… or provide a new way of looking at things.

looking at the following traffic reflected in the side view mirror

I love it when I catch a glimpse of art

A mural adorns the side of a corner building in Chinatown (cc by

or even architecture.

disgorging traffic on the last day of the Canadian National Exhibition

There is always something.

this pgoto of the CN Tower dome has been enhanced and filtered to make it brighter

Because art is all around.

city scape of Toronto at night

just for fun


Over the years I’ve derived a great deal of enjoyment for Canada’s Arrogant Worms musical comedy group. the following image is a collage I assembled from photographs taken by Mike Gifford August 22, 2009 in Brittania Bay, Ottawa, ON, CA, and posted to his Flickr account under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. That grants me permission to alter the images and create this graphic. This is one example of what is now known as a “re-mix”.

Photos by Mike Gifford, CC BY-SA remixed into this collage by lothlaurien CC BY-SA


Bob Trembley is one of Canada’s premier dobro players, but the stage he performed on in Gore Park was actually a Gazebo with railings running around all sides. This effectively blocks the view, making it devilishly difficult to capture a single shot of Bob and the Dobro. As you can see, the only place I could get both in the shot I was blocked by this annoying microphone stand. Time to employ a little digital manipulation.


Even though I know how to do it, it still takes my breath away when I can employ image manipulation in such a dramatic way. It truly is magic.

I've magically removed microhone and stand from blocking the image


Siren Song: CIRA Contest

I have so many other things to do but somehow I keep getting drawn back to the CIRANEWS page on YouTube to see if there have been any more video entries for the Show us Your .CA contest.
[editing insert 2010-03-21T00:40:50+00:00… Seems CIRA elected to remove the contest entry page from their website. Resulting in broken links like this one. Funny, I would expect a domain name registry like CIRA to understand how the internet works… wouldn’t you? Better keep an eye on the rest of the CIRA links when the contest finishes, eh?]


To see the other entries you’ll need to go to the YouTube CIRANEWS page, and I spent a wee bit too much time watching them all yesterday. I understand all the entries are not yet online so I’ll have to check the rest of them out later…. its too nice to stay indoors.

(That’s just one more reason why *I* should win the laptop) 🙂

All of the other entries seem to be “from the heart”, and clearly all the participants have things to say. A lot of energy went into these films. Just as clearly some of the films show a great deal more effort than others. There are some “talking heads”, one camera set-ups, and long single takes. There are a few that are very funny. There is also some serious film-making talent evident, which is why I hesitate to assume that my film will win first place, as great as I believe it to be. And you can never really tell in a contest. Even with the technical difficulties I had, my film-savvy gives me confidence that my entry will make it to the finals, but first place will be seriously contested, that’s certain.

FLUIDweb page design graphic

I did have fun though. Playing around with animation is always interesting. And I managed to slip in my plug for fluid web pages. The web will be much cooler when every site is fluid.

There were some products and websites that I will check out later based on the promos, which I think is a large part of the point of the exercise. Although I would really like to win the laptop. That’d be good. 🙂 Of course some of the sites hold zero interest for me personally, regardless of the promo film. Its been a long time since I watched hockey for instance, so the hockey pool site isn’t someplace I’m likely to go. (Although it would probably be very interesting to my brother-in-law. But then he’s probably a charter member). But that’s how the web works. Lots of contrent, find what you need. Certainly, where there is a Canadian alternative I’d be inclined to select the Canadian site.

I will have to find a better video editing package though, because it is a serious handicap not being able to create HD films. I’ll have to check my other commercial software package.

And if I’m going to be making any more films I certainly need to discover how people close-caption web films. Because my soundtrack was entirely made up of the song “Ridin’ The Canadian Roadway”, as background music, strictly speaking it didn’t need captioning as it was a musical score rather than dialogue, but still, accessibility is an important issue so I want to learn it. Everyone who wants or needs to should be able to access online content.

And of course I want to be able to make my films available for universal viewing. so I have a lot to learn about that yet. That’s the key topic on my updated Lothlaurien Films page. [I’ve updated the main page and the films page to cover my CIRA contest entry.]

I do believe that I did a good job of answering the question:

why .ca?

Fingers crossed!


But it is an unseasonably gorgeous spring day, and the kids have informed me that we’re not done with snow this year, so I’d better get out there with my camera before the white stuff returns. There’s a lot of spring time wildlife to photograph in the wilds of Lothlaurien forest today. Later!

You can watch my video here:

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