After 6 Years And 720,000 Attempts, Photographer Finally Takes Perfect Shot Of Kingfisher

Alan McFadyen, who has been an avid wildlife photographer since 2009, just captured a photo that he has spent 6 years trying to get. By his count, it took him 4,200 hours and 720,000 photos to get a perfect shot of a kingfisher diving straight into the water without a single splash.
“The photo I was going for of the perfect dive, flawlessly straight, with no splash required not only me to be in the right place and get a very lucky shot but also for the bird itself to get it perfect,” McFadyen told The Herald Scotland. “I would often go and take 600 pictures in a session and not a single one of them be any good. But now I look back on the thousands and thousands of photos I have taken to get this one image, it makes me realise just how much work I have done to get it.”
McFadyen, who also runs a wildlife photography hide business, was inspired to love nature and wildlife by his grandfather. “I remember my grandfather taking me to see the kingfisher nest and I just remember being completely blown away by how magnificent the birds are. So when I took up photography I returned to this same spot to photograph the kingfishers.”
More info: http://photographyhides.co.uk  |It took Alan McFadyen 6 years, 4,200 hours and 720,000 photos to get this shot:

“The photo I was going for of the perfect dive, flawlessly straight, with no splash required not only me to be in the right place and get a very lucky shot but also for the bird itself to get it perfect”
“I would often go and take 600 pictures in a session and not a single one of them be any good”

“I never really stopped to think about how long it was taking along the way as I enjoyed doing it but now I look back on it I’m really proud of the picture and the work I put in”

“I remember my grandfather taking me to see the kingfisher nest and I just remember being completely blown away by how magnificent the birds are”

“I’m sure my grandfather would have loved it, I just wish he could have seen it. All of my family contacted me when they saw it and said he would have been so proud of it”

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Incredible AI app can ‘repaint’ photos to look like it was composed by famous artists

An iOS app has gone viral in post-Soviet states this past week, racking up more than 7.5 million downloads and the top spot in app stores around the region. Russian internet giant Mail.Ru even announced an investment in the app, called Prisma, on Monday – a 10 percent stake that reportedly amounts to $2 million.

The Russian-made photo app allows users to customize their images by feeding photos through an artificial intelligence that “repaints” them in the style of great artists like Van Gogh, Munch, and Picasso. Unlike many other photo apps, Prisma doesn’t simply slap a filter on top. Instead, the AI completely reinterprets the images using a deep learning method known as convolutional neural networks. The AI only refers to the original photo for guidance, reports Bloomberg.

Prisma has launched in beta on Android — gaining access requires requesting an invitation.

Though unaffiliated with the Prisma project, researchers Leon Gatys, Alexander Ecker, and Matthias Bethge of Bethge Lab laid out the method to the app’s madness last August in a paper titled, A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style. The trio was interested in how our brains process images and how they might be able to generate new images to predict these processes.

“From that idea, we first [began] using deep networks to synthesize textures and then from there we found out that, when using the network to perform texture transfer, one can [make] beautiful artworks which might also tell us a lot about how humans perceive and process visual art,” Gatys told Digital Trends.

Related: Google’s newly launched Magenta Project aims to create art with artificial intelligence

The team’s modeled it’s AI off of deep neural networks (which are themselves modeled off of biological neural networks) to separate content and style, and recombine them into works that seem to depict the very brushstrokes of recognizable artists. “Thus our ability to abstract content from style and therefore our ability to create and enjoy art might be primarily a preeminent signature of the powerful inference capabilities of our visual system,” they concluded in the paper.

“I think [this technology] will be a major tool for image processing and fundamentally change the way we manipulate images,” Gatys said.

Meanwhile, Prisma has been lauded for its entertainment value and near-immediate feedback, but Gatys is skeptical about its actual artistic value and seizes the chance to plug his own project. “I think it looks very cool and its main selling point is the speed with which images are generated,” he said. “In terms of quality, however, I think it is not quite there compared to what we are able to do on www.deepart.io.”

As for future iterations of the tech, Gatys is bursting with ideas. In the near term, the development team plans to implement support for video, new predefined art filters, and 360-degree image capture.

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Originally published on 07-19-2016. 

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