Additional Math Pages & Resources

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fun Photography

Photography is a field that's highly dependent on mathematics. Photography is a combination of two Greek words meaning light + drawing (showing with lines) or "drawing with light".

Photography is the art and science of creating durable images by recording light or other radiation using a light-sensitive sensor or film. A lens directs and focuses light onto the sensor during a timed exposure - resulting in an electrical charge for each pixel of the sensor, or a latent image on the film. Later, other technology is used to develop, adjust and display the photograph.

With manually-operated film cameras, it was essential to learn about distances, exposure times, film speeds, depth of field, etc. You had to juggle knobs, adjusting rings and cables. With digital cameras, much of the technical content is different, but you still need to know a lot about light, time, distance, color, etc.

I searched for combinations of the words photography and math, and found dozens of interesting sites. I located (but did not buy)  a book called Mathematics in Elementary Photography, but I couldn't find any books entitled Elementary Mathematics in Photography. I found plenty of lame lessons plans that didn't seem to do much for either photo skills or math knowledge. Here's one site I liked:
I enjoyed the images, an example of which is shown below. The photographer takes the photos first, then she puts lines on them and discovers what functions represent those lines. Or vice versa. It's a chicken and egg kind of exercise.

You have to get into middle school and high school to calculate these functions and plot these curves. We DON'T TEACH THIS in Excel Math elementary school curriculum.

After finding very little of interest on the link between math and photography, I decided that today's blog will have a minimum of math and a maximum of photos. (I'll try to sneak in a tiny bit of math at the end).

Here is a short series of people looking at pictures on walls. My uncle David Freund took, developed and printed the photos and produced this exhibit. I lurked in the background, capturing reactions (and postures) of the viewers, and the contrasts of polished wood against flat white walls and the black and white prints. [click on the images to enlarge them]

Conveniently, most of the viewers were wearing black. Was that a subliminal choice due to the B/W photos, or a reflection of the dismal weather outside?

I did a bit of photography early this morning, warming up for this blog, so I will close with these...

Notice that I spent about a half-hour between the time I took the first shot (above) and the last of 12 shots (below). We DO TEACH calculating elapsed time in Excel Math.