#1112. Week Links of Photography : AI, Gravitational lenses, M1 chip, Zeiss jewels …

By pascaljappy | Newsletter

Apr 24

AI is at the center of this week’s edition again. This time, it isn’t enhancing amateur images to provide superior resolution but helping scientists make discoveries – through astrophotography – that could change our understanding of the universe. In other news, Zuckerberg is opposed by child protection associations, Andrew Reid comes to Sigma’s defense (good man), a Google Timelapse shows the planet’s changes in 35+ years, the rule of thirds receives the promotion it deserves by none other than Pablo Picasso, Apple launch a very tidy iMac, Zeiss make my eyes water, and much more 🙂

No country for old crosses

Fascinating story of the week

Seeing Quadruple: Artificial Intelligence Leads to Discovery That Can Help Solve Cosmological Puzzles. The difficulty with AI (artificial intelligence) is that its results cannot be proven to be true. They are statistical representations of past training data. And this can make them unsuitable for scientific discovery, if the program acts as a black box.

This project, funded by Nasa, the National Science Foundation, and other institutions focuses on quasars, very bright and very distant objects situated perfectly aligned behind a massive galaxy whose sheer weight bends the light from the hidden quasar into an image that often looks like a ring, or 4 stars very close to one another (the galaxy acts as a massive gravitational lens). Discovering and studying some of those quads with the help of AI (augmented intelligence) continually trained based on new data, the team hopes to answer some pressing open questions astrophysicians have been scratching their heads about for decades.

While the media and Hollywood can’t see anything but future conflict between humans and machines, scientists are making both collaborate for our delight 🙂

Gravitational lens, distorting the image of quasar into a ring, as imaged by ESA, NASA and Hubble.
Gravitational lens (c) ESA/Hubble & NASA

In other news

Mankind …

Google Earth Debuts New Timelapse Feature With a Timelapse Showing the Planet’s Changes Since 1984. Need I explain those changes aren’t positive?

Public pressures Zuckerberg to give up on Instagram for kids. There’s not much more to say. If you have kids, this matters to you. If you don’t, this still matters to you.


Why Gerald Undone is wrong about the Sigma Fp-L. Sigma are out of their mind. They think different, in a world where only three aspects matter : more, do-it-all and conventional. Pity the fool who puts a foot off the beaten path. Pitty the fool who doesn’t up the quantitative ante by a few meaningless notches at every release. Pitty the fool who serves a niche well rather than tricking the masses into thinking a swiss army knife can chop down a tree, cut through area-51 fencing and unscrew a rusty pannel from a rusty frame. Now, I really like Gerald Undone’s videos, which are very often so useful, and I’m not a big fan of the Sigma Fp-L, preferring the original Fp. But this opinionated article does a good job of defending Sigma and their latest little gem. In a world hellbent on standardizing even human beings, maverick brands are heroes to me. GO Sigma!

Having Fun With The Pixel Stick. Hmmm, as gimmicky as this seems in the article, I can’t help think there’s something there that artists could use really creatively. Toughts?

Zeiss Adds Four Focal Lengths to ‘Supreme Prime Radiance’ Lens Line. It all sounds halfway Communist Party Rally and facial skin care, but man would I like to lay my hands on those lenses … (Thanks for the link, Dallas)

Camera comparison: Can the overpriced Sony a1 beat the Canon R5? With a title like that, I was hoping to throw in the link just to start a flame war 😉 😉 😉 But it turns out to be an interesting review of the pros and cons of each camera. Drat!

Apple launches 24-inch M1 iMac in a rainbow of color choices. Purists will prefer a dedicated tower with dedicated GPU fire power and a pro calibrated screen. But at the launching price and elegant convenience of this new collection, Apple have created the most compelling case for 80/20 reasoning I can think of. Seriously tempting!!!!


How to Get a Film Look With Digital Black And White Photography. If you’re new to b&w, this is a good introduction to some important topics. Mostly, though, It’s got some nice photos !

Pablo Picasso is widely known as the inventor of the rule of thirds. Here’s an interview of him, from late March 2021, where he explains it all to us!! I only now realize that it was Pablo Picasso who denounced the reliance on dongles on Apple’s MacBookPro in 2015 and arbitrated the Reddit and Hedgefunds fight over GameStop. What a genius!

Photographs & videos

2021 World Press Photo contest winners announced. Not my type of photography, but mountains of talent all the same!

Not just an amazing sight, but a nice reflexion on solitude vs communion in nature.

I hope you enjoyed this and will consider sharing with a pal. Have a great day 🙂


​Never miss a post

​Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Well, I’m no sure quite what to say.

    Most of this post was “interesting” and “informative”. But Pablo’s contribution is the best thing I’ve ever seen on DS.

    I think I’ve told you before, Pascal, that I once saw him interviewed in a documentary that ran for about an hour and a half – and at once stage the person interviewing him asked him if he’d ever done any more conventional paintings. He flipped – he screamed at the guy “you want I paint Impressionist picture? Eh? Like Monet?” – then grabbed a canvas, a handful of brushes and some paint, and spent the following 10 minutes painting – wet on wet – non stop. After 10 minutes he said – “there – you like?” And before our eyes, in the small room where the doco was being displayed, we had this painting – magnified up to the size of the entire wall at the end of the room. It was faultless.

    I know of no other artist alive who could do such a thing.

    And this clip is right up there, at the same standard.

    You have to feel sorry for guy who has so many names. It must be hell at the checkin at an airport, when they say “full name, please!” And stop half way to say things like – “would you mind repeating that, sir?” or “how do you spell it?”

    But he’s a genius. With character. And it’s impossible not to like him. Even when he puddles.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Sorry – meant to include a comment on the other main topic – gear. Or rather, 2 comments.

    Those lenses from Zeiss are, of course, cine lenses. The article ends by wishing something of similar quality could be produced for standard photography – well it has, and I have one – the Otus 55mm – which is sensational – mindblowing. Any attempt to go one better would be wasted effort, utterly meaningless.

    And SIGMA? – yes – quite – they’ve been doing great stuff with gear, for years. Their Foveon sensor is a knockout – can’t do everything, but what it does, it does superbly. And I’m holding out for the oft-promise, oft-delayed SIGMA with a full frame Foveon sensor in it. I’ll never be able to afford more than the standard lens in it, but that’ll be quite sufficient – I still have my 50mm SIGMA Art, which is also a sensational lens, and if it’s any guide, the lens they produce for the FF Foveon will be more than enough for my requirements.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Stuff that can’t do everything but is brilliant at what it does is what appeals to me the most. That’s the exact opposite of where the market’s headed, and that’s a real shame. But FOMO is apparently far more powerful than good sense and creativity, apparently …

      The Zeiss set would probably set me back 6 figures. So a 28 – 85 Otus due feels like a bargain, suddenly 😉

  • Paul Lasky says:

    I thought the Sony A1 vs. Canon R5 compairson was poorly done and even biased. The major difference between the cameras is the huge speed capabilities of the A1 vs. the routine Sony R1-like capability of the Canon R5. The A1 can take 150 exposure and focus settings per/sec. to drive and make possible quality images at 30/sec. The R5 cannot match this speed made possible by Sony’s advanced new sensor. If you are professionally shooting sports, the Sony A1 is for you. The comparison avoided this obvious difference. Otherwise, I thought the comparison strange. Why compare the two cameras with a good 50mm equipped Canon with a sub-par 50mm equipped A1? Sony offers a high quality F/1.4 50mm GMaster lens. Why not use that lens in the comparison?

    • pascaljappy says:

      I think many reviewers are finding the Sony a bit irritating because the stats on paper aren’t always realistic in real-life; That’s not something I can confirm first hand, not having used either camera. But it’s been a recurring theme in several reviews. That being said, I entirely agree with you about the lens. It’s hard to compare the potential of cameras if the best possible lenses aren’t used for both. It seems that absolute fairness and unbiased opinions aren’t the priority, online, theses days.

  • Adam Bonn says:

    The rule of thirds skit was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while, thank you

    • pascaljappy says:

      Yeah, it made me laugh too 😉 That interview seems to be infinitely reclyclable. It got me in stitches about dongles when the 2016 Apple MBP was released and it did it again here. I wonder what the next target is 😉

  • >