Photography Fun for Nerds

remote capture - beads

I love it that scanning or photographing small things can reveal their secrets, because you can blow them up big-time on your computer screen. Scanner is easy. Camera has a few twists to make it more interesting. I especially like to see things enormously LIVE.

1. Most digital cameras now come with “remote capture” software. Make sure that is installed.

2. Tether your camera to the computer via the USB port. Turn it on and, if you’re lucky, the camera software will step you into remote capture mode. Assuming you’ve removed the lens cap, you should see on your computer screen what the camera sees. When you snap a shot (in the software app), it’s immediately saved on your hard drive.

3. This works best if you use a tripod but… choose your own torture.

Yesterday I put a strand of agate beads under the “macroscope.” I got them at a shop in Paris. The shop owner didn’t realize the centerpiece bead was a dZi* from pre-Buddhist Tibet and doubled the price when I told her. Nicely, after I decided I couldn’t live without the necklace and returned to the shop, she rolled the price back.

Below is my 1-1/2″ (4 cm) dZi bead, which I blew up 6 times the size below on my screen. I studied the surface as if it were the face of Mars… looking for intelligent patterns amid the noise.

dzi bead

My eyes were drawn to many semi-circular “gouges”on the surface. TGFG [thank God for Google]. They are not tool marks, but the natural weathering of agate stone after hundreds, maybe thousand years of burial, known as “naga [snake] skin.” A mark of authenticity. Nice.

*No one is quite sure how ancient dZi beads get the designs superimposed upon the hard agate — the brown and opaque white bands and eyes — maybe some combination of heat, sugar compounds and high altitude. Anyway, they are considered to have massive positive/protective energy. I wore this necklace to Ecuador since we had arranged to fly across the Andes into the Amazon jungle on a single-engine plane and I’d just seen that movie about the team who crashed & had to resort to cannibalism before being rescued. It worked. So now the necklace is super-magic.

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