Monday, January 27, 2014

Waves on the beach: slit-scan photo.

Slit-scan photography is a way to mix time and space in the image. See previous post for more explanations and samples. The result of such switch is not always easy to predict. Especially interesting images are produced by quasi-periodic processes like water waves. Here are few slit-scan photos, made at a beach. Spatial location: Finn bay near Komarovo town in the vicinity of Saint-Petersburg; temporal location: spring of 2013.

Waves, sand and sky. Past is at the left, future is at the right.

At first glance, it resembles a regular still photo, but upon closer examination some subtle differences become apparent. The waves have unusual shape: it may seem that they are moving along the shore, not towards it. And this impression is not far from the truth: the waves are moving from the past to the future.

The picture above is a fragment of a bigger image, spanning over several minutes:

Same image with longer time interval.

The straight shoreline appears infinite. Indeed, it is not completely true: everything has its beginning and its end, but both of them are far away in time. Full image would span for many thousands of years, and the whole photo would be millions of kilometers long. Much bigger than any beach you have ever seen.

Here is what the original video looks like:

A frame from the original video.

Water always looks good on slit-scan photos. Here are more images of waves, this time taken at the Neva river in Saint-Petersburg.

Slit-scan image of the water waves on the Neva river.
Same image, but more time.
A stop-frame from the source video.

Software used

  • Github: dmishin/slit-scan: a simple tool to make slit-scan photos from video files. Command-line interface, for linux.
  • Gimp: post-procesing

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