The Monday Morning Express of Fail
One of the gals out in the plant decided to come to work a little borderline on the sobriety train today. OK, so there's no outward signs that she's blasted to the gills, but the fact that she couldn't remember how to do any aspect of her job, at all, was a pretty potent sign something wasn't quite lining up correctly on her brain<->outside world interfaces.
Keep in mind that for a regular user, when the outside world stops making sense, there is only one possible reason for this. IT JUST FUCKED YOU HARD.
She was quite irate and absolutely adamant that it was the computer and we must have changed something. We didn't. What changed was her ability to write the correct carton number into that little line she needs to write it into. I'll just skip right over the fact she unplugged her keyboard. Twice.
In the midst of this debacle, somebody out on the line decided to hit F11 during a reboot and launch the system recovery. This would be no big deal if we had a good way to recover Funhouse specific settings and programs. Since we don't, this pissed me right off. And, since the cowards refused to shut it off like I told them, I had no choice but to run for all I a was worth and try to pull the plug before it got to formatting.
I made it. And when I asked who was playing clever, they poker faced me and acted innocent. Right. They're innocent like Dahmer and Gein. One even went so far as to tell me the computer just spontaneously rebooted and started to system recovery itself. RIIIIIIIIIIGHT! Guilty party found.
Two more times after this mess I get called back to drunk/high gal's area of non-expertise. By this point even her coworkers were beginning to get pissed at her. Several eyerolls were thrown my way on my last trip out there, and I was told by another to just leave it next time she calls. They'll deal with her.
Due to the number of mobster movies we've watched lately, that had me a bit concerned for a moment. Then I realized I really didn't care.
Room, Rain, ISSUES
So, I need supplies. Supplies like big piles of wood and shit. But it keeps raining. And I don't know about you, but I'm not big on trying to finish wet wood for a desk, nor trying to recure perfectly adequate wood just because it's been transported in the rain. So, I wait. And my room sits. And it keeps raining. And my room sits.
And I get pissy because it's now been two plus weeks without an actual workspace to do my shit. Even the messy workspace I had before was better than this. Weather better turn soon or there may be problems. I'm not sure what problems, but problems.
So, I like taking pictures of small things quite a bit. Not quite sure why that is. I'm sure it's some control issue or something having to do with my desire to dominate and destroy everything I come in contact with.
Anyway, one thing that happens with macrophotography is that even the best macro lenses tend towards shallow depth of field. Now, there are solutions. One of which is several thousand dollars worth of equipment for a stereoscopic lense that does its own fixing of focal lengths via some weird self-calculated thing I couldn't wrap my brain around and couldn't afford even if I could understand it. Another, and one I could afford, is called focus stacking.
Focus stacking requires a controlled environment in which to take your pictures because it literally involves taking the same picture over and over and over again. You start by focusing just past the object you are focusing on in one direction. You take a shot. You changed focus just slightly. You take another shot. So on and so on.
You end up with a bunch of "slices" of perfect focus. While it's an option to manually fold these slices together, I'm not a man of such infinite patience. There are programs available, one of which is the very fine Helicon Focus, which automate this folding together process. It analyzes pictures, automagically finds your best focal point in each photo, then pulls all the best focal points from each photo and renders it all together.
There are some sacrifices to make this work. Well, not really sacrifices so much as learning WTF you are doing. You have to be a control freak to automate it. Your focal point has to move really close to the same amount between slices. Your lighting and settings have to remain consistent across slices. Even very tiny deviations (I was warned several times that brightness changed by more than 0.1% between slices) can cause a failure. But, when everything falls into place, it's amazing.
As I was playing around with it, I remembered a little lesson I was taught about how lenses all have a best aperture where the focus is the sharpest it's going to get. Except for special lenses that are specifically designed for odd purposes, most will have their best focus at F8-F11, at least according to the documentation I found. So, rather than try F29 to get larger depth of field, I went F8, zoomed all the way in on the object in question, focused right in front of it, and started my series. 24 pictures later, I sat down at the computer and added them into a run to try out Helicon.
Click on render. First off, I was surprised how quickly it could run through each slice. Second off, it creates a sharpness map as it goes, slowly building a black and white map of the sharpest points in every slice. It was sort of entertaining to watch. Third, after running through every slice, it either warns you you failed one of the fundamental requirements, or it spits out a super crisp compilation of all your slices.
Oh, I could have some serious fun with this. Here, let me save you the trouble. NERD!
I'll need to work on my technique to get my origin photos as precise as they need to be to get a perfect end result, but my experiment was not a failure. I'll probably spend more time messing with this when I have the chance and try to get some interesting things put together to show off. My trials last night were a bit rough yet as I missed the two ends and could have used smaller focus changes between shots to keep things smoother. Should be lots of fun once I get the photo setup back up and running in the back room.
Maybe I'll try some shots of my dip pens. Those are always a challenge to try and get a clear up-close picture of.
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