Rogue AI Sunset

I’ve been excited about the possibilities of advanced algorithms in processing pictures, both to increase resolution and reduce noise. When used in combination on an initially noisy image, however, the results can be… unpredictable. Though this image looks fairly reasonable on the web page, clicking through to the full-resolution version on Flickr shows some exciting rogue AI strangeness—like odd places of varying noise reduction.

Rogue AI Sunset

Fishing on Lake Cahuilla

At one level, this is a calming, nostalgic image: two people fishing from a causeway over Lake Cahuilla reservoir in Coachella Valley.

The layers of reflections and horizontal lines, however, give it a very surreal, Dali-esque topology: reality doesn’t quite seem to be shaped correctly here. Space is folded in on itself.

Fishing on Lake Cahuilla

The Future Wasn’t Already There, But Now It’s Evenly Distributed

My favorite William Gibson quote is, “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” How we gauge futurity—or how we identify the traits we associate with future-ness—means that some places will have more “future” to them than others. A mountaintop in the Adirondacks might be pretty similar to its condition 100 years ago, while downtown Berkeley would be unrecognizable.

This image is a picture of the past, from the “future”: I wanted to print a tall, vertical image of Berkeley and the Bay but had (it turns out) never quite taken the one I wanted. I had taken the two pictures that went into making this image as part of a larger panorama in 2013 that never quite came out. Here in the present, I pulled in every technique in my arsenal—Adobe’s super resolution, Topaz AI noise reduction, frequency separation—to assemble two images from a circa-2010 16 MP Nikon D7000 into the 76 MP monster you see below. This one is definitely worth clicking through to full resolution.

The Future Wasn't Already There, But Now It's Evenly Distributed

Shores of Lake Cahuilla

Apparently the original Lake Cahuilla was a prehistoric lake in the Coachella Valley; its modern recreation is a reservoir in the hills outside town. The relationship between humans and nature in the region is well-encapsulated by that point of comparison.

Shores of Lake Cahuilla

California Wind Turbine

An iconic image of renewable energy in California, if I do say so myself: scrub brush in the foreground, mountains in the background, and a huge wind turbine in the center of it all. I particularly like the way this particular shutter speed allowed for just a slight blur at the tips of the turbine blades.

California Wind Turbine

Wind in the North of Coachella Valley

At the northern end of Coachella Valley, civilization peters out and the wind kicks up. The seemingly endless fields of wind turbines are (unsurprisingly) well-positioned: hopping out of the car to get this shot, I was nearly knocked over by a grit-enhanced gust, the likes of which I’m not sure I’ve ever felt before.

Wind in the North of Coachella Valley