Hamburg in the round

When we travel, my attention tends to snag on pointy things, especially old church spires. Last week during our cold and rainy Monday in Hamburg I noticed several promising spires from the observation deck of the new Elbphilharmonie, but the few pictures I took were unremarkable. So I turned my attention to the non-picturesque, like the barge doing the mundane work of battling the silting of the canal:

Those black jaws on a cable would grab a load of dripping silt and bring it up to dump into the adjoining barge, over and over. Having once spent a little time at the controls of a backhoe (thanks, Uncle Scott!), Ninja thought the boat job looked like fun. We filled our parental role as dashers-of-hope by pointing out that it would probably be fun for about half an hour, and after that, not so much.

Ninja countered that maybe the boat company could let people work at the job in half-hour increments, so everyone would have maximum fun, and the barge people would have happy people doing their work. If this business model takes off, remember you saw it here first.

El Guapo took some pointy-thing pictures from the Elphi observation deck as well, but because he’s got both photographer and photo manipulator skills, he figured out what to do to make something interesting:

I don’t know what’s going on here, but let’s interview an expert, shall we?

LoriNotes: The end product is really cool. What was the original source photo like? [Through the wonders of email, El Guapo sent it to me, and I plunked it down here.]

LoriNotes: Huh. Looks a lot like the ones I took that I didn’t think much of. I guess that’s why, if anyone were paying big bucks around here, you’d be the one getting them. Tell us more about how you got from this picture to the cool round one.

El Guapo: Working in Photoshop, there were basically two stages. The easy things were to straighten out the horizon and tweak the exposure, contrast, and color to make the colors more vibrant and interesting. [LoriNotes: easy for him, I guess.]

The tricky part is getting it into a format where it will make a nice circle. To do that, I needed to make sure that the left edge matched seamlessly with the right edge. I did that by taking a section of the left edge of the photo and shifting it over to the right edge of the photo. There was an obvious seam, so I had to do some modifications to make them fit. That involved some cloning to make the clouds in the sky transition smoothly, as well as staggering the overlap of the buildings.

Once the sides of the photo made a continuous picture, I cropped the photo to remove some of the sky, and then squished the dimensions of the photo so the height was equal to the width. Once I had the squished, distorted square photo, I applied the polar coordinates filter.

Frequently, this technique is used to create what looks like a small planet. To do that you would rotate the photo 180° before you apply the polar filter. I tried that with this project but didn’t like the results as much.

There were a few other tweaks, some additions and subtractions, but that’s the basic process.

LoriNotes: I’m impressed, and I’m also quite sure that I won’t be snatching your photo-manipulation job from you any time soon.

[Images: yours truly, El Guapo]


3 thoughts on “Hamburg in the round

    • German weather was a bit of a shock to our Spanish systems–there was snow along the sides of the freeway on our way to the airport Monday afternoon. But Tuesday evening back in Valencia it was cold and rainy–do you suppose we’re a bad influence?

  1. Pingback: Lori Notes turns 300 | Lori Notes

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