Look Through My Kaleidoscope

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Before I get started showing you the ten rather odd images for today, I’ll tell you what prompted my thinking about looking through things. Since I returned from Australia, I’ve been suffering from a variety of physical and mental ailments, most of which have never been problems before. One of them is paranoia. I’m not feeling weirded out by this, considering the number of very bad things which have happened recently in my life. It seems obvious that one might rightly feel a bit of paranoia under such circumstances.

For example:  I can see well enough to navigate around the house without my glasses, but I would not dare to drive and reading is impossible. I was certain that I had my last pair of glasses tucked safely away somewhere as a backup in case I lost my current pair. “Somewhere” is the catch word. I suppose that whether one might consider this to be a “very bad thing” depends on one’s personal evaluation, but all that I can say is that I simply could not stop thinking about it. After ever more frantic searches, I cannot find them. At least a hundred times the thought popped into my head, “Just ask Eunie.” Well, that’s not gonna happen. It makes my heart pound whenever my mind slips like that. It feels like running full tilt into a brick wall.

Anyway, I pictured losing my glasses and having to ask someone to fly with me to Australia for a new pair of prescription specs. It did not occur to me that there might be a simpler solution. Then I met Dr. John up at Blueblood last week. I discovered that he is an Optometrist with the Fred Hollows Foundation of New Zealand here in Madang. He told me that they could fit me with standard, ready-made glasses which should work well. I got an eye exam at the Fred Hollows Clinic yesterday. I walked out with three pairs of nice glasses. One pair is for distance, driving, boating, and so forth. A second pair is for computer work. It works best at arm’s length. The third pair is for close-up work or reading.

So, I now no longer need to fear losing my glasses. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll go back and get two additional sets of specs. I’ll leave one at the office and stash the other in a safe (and remembered) place in the house. My total investment will be about K180 (roughly US$60.00). Now I have one less fear on the list. It was small, but it was nagging. I was forever laying my glasses down and forgetting where they were. Eunie would always find them for me.

This episode left me thinking, “Just how stupid am I?”

Okay, having disposed of that item and reminding myself that other difficulties may also have simple solutions, if I can only discover them, let’s proceed with the gaggle of weird images for today.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by kaleidoscopes. I could spend an unreasonable amount of time staring through my grandmother’s very fancy dream maker. It sent my mind on mini-trips to strange and wonderful places. I’ve seen many computer generated multi-mirror images. Most of them do not please me much. I did get a little inspired by the work of Kathleen Farago May in her guest shot on MPBM, though the images lacked real-world components. I Googled for Photoshop plugins designed to create kaleidoscope images and got lucky on the first try with the Mehdi Kaleidoscope Plugin, which is free. I was immediately hooked. Here is a very amusing view of a Juvenile Oriental Sweetlips:

The presence of recognisable real-world images makes the kaleidoscope idea work for me.

Here is another featuring a Butterflyfish:

I wanted more.

Okay, it’s getting even better with this Yellowmargin Triggerfish:

I really like the background pattern in this one. It makes the Triggerfish leap off the screen.

From the same post as the one above, we have Jo Noble free diving:

The centre is quite abstract. As the eye moves out it suddenly encounters the lovely, graceful form of the diver.

A little more abstract, but still realistic is the Green Coral image from just a few days ago:

I have to admit that not much was gained from kaleidoscoping this one. I like the original image better.

This one is maybe my favourite of the bunch. The starfish pops out from the seemingly abstract background:

That one if from Saturday at the Office.

I call this one Hands Across the Water. It’s a kaleidoscopic view of a cartoon treatment of my friend, Carol Dover:

This effect is a little strange. It makes me a bit dizzy.

Here is another one which can make your head spin. When doing human forms you have to watch out for “creepy” artefacts:

The face effects in this one are interesting, but the strange blobs which came along for the ride are a little disturbing.

This one of Ush playing with a shell is less creepy, but even more head-spin inducing:

Kaleidoscoping faces is obviously a little tricky.

What about whole people? My initial experiments didn’t yield much that was pretty, except for the one of Jo Noble. I decided to keep trying. Reducing the number of mirrors seems to be the trick. Here is a much modified image of Jenn Miller floating languidly in the sea at Pig Island:

All of these were surprisingly easy to create and the process doesn’t take much time. I did discover that not every image makes a good kaleidoscope pattern. It seems to work best if the subject is clearly defined against the background. Otherwise, it gets all jumbled up.

You can take it a step further and create purely abstract patterns very easily, but the original image is lost in the multiple reflections very quickly, if you are not careful.

It’s fun to have a new toy. Especially if it was free.

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10 Responses to “Look Through My Kaleidoscope”

  1. kristy Says:

    What a fun technique! No photo shop here, but may have to try it . I have seen some interesting HDR pics done with photoshop as well!

  2. Steve Bennett Says:

    That is wonderful! My eyes are now successfully crossed… I am struggling to type. I think it is time for a Bex and a lie-down.

  3. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, it is fun. If you don’t have Photoshop you can download the free open source program called GIMP. It does pretty much everything the Photoshop does. It’s just not quite so slick. You can download a Photoshop plugin adapter for GIMP which allows you to use many of the plugins designed for Photoshop. Try Googling for a kaleidoscope plugin for GIMP first. It would be easier.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Steve, I don’t know what a Bex is, but I hope it helps your vision problem. Please don’t send me a bill from your eye doctor. Maybe I should add a disclaimer to posts such as that.

  5. pvaldes Says:

    Wow! that’s funny.. :-), I like a lot the first photos with the fishes

  6. Steve Bennett Says:

    Bex was a over-the-counter drug available to housewives of Australia and were promoted by saying “a Bex and a good lie down” would cure all.

    A mix of aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine made for a toxic kidney-messing mix and after a while, Bex was removed from Chemists throughout Australia and warnings appeared on analgesics…

    here endeth the lesson; time for a Bex and another lie-down.

  7. MadDog Says:

    Pvaldes, you’re right, it is funny, now that I look back. I like that shot also. The original is the best image of that fish I have ever captured.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Yeah, Steve. Some caffeine is just what you need before a nap.

  9. Ahna Says:

    I can’t pick my favorite I liked them all. Thanks for the tip for PSP. I will definitely get it and use it. I will email you any that I do. Good job on the glasses. I’m always on Tim on his. We are down to the second pair and constantly super gluing them together.

  10. MadDog Says:

    I don’t know why, Ahna, but super glue NEVER works for me.