I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison’s blog about software, marketing, politics, photography and time lapse.

Lassen Star Trails

Star trails from the Manzanita Lake campground at Lassen Volcanic National Park

A timelapse two ways shot from the Manzanita Lake campground at Lassen Volcanic National Park (the second time I've visited and the second time that Bumpass Hell has been closed). First a regular 4K timelapse looking up from the campsite:

The second version is the same footage in HD where each frame is the cumulative maximum pixel value of all the frames up to the current frame (so it builds in star trails as the video runs):

Draw the rest of the Hummingbird

Generation three thousand of a genetic algorithm learning to draw a hummingbird

A genetic algorithm learns to draw a hummingbird:

The video is an animation of three thousand generations of evolution. It starts with a random mix of line segments which are then mutated by adding or removing lines and by changing the start, end and color of existing lines. Each generation has 32 individuals. The best individual is mutated to create the next generation.

For this implementation the best or fittest individual is the one with the least error on a pixel by pixel comparison to a stock art drawing of a hummingbird. Because I care more about the shape than completely filling in the drawing an error outside the figure is penalized three times more than a gap inside the figure.

Color is mutated each generation but not selected for, so it's just changing randomly.

Hoylake Beach

Hoylake Beach

Timelapse looking over Hoylake beach in the Wirral, UK.

Animation of a year of Global Cloud Cover

Animation of a year of Global Cloud Cover

Here's an animation showing a year of global cloud cover (from July 2017 to July 2018) :

The clouds are sourced from the free daily download at xplanet. I run a Google apps script that saves a copy of the image to Google Drive every day (basically the same as this script to save Nest cam images). The hard part was waiting a year to get enough frames. Xplanet combines GEOS, METEOSAT and GMS satellite imagery with some reflection near the poles. Although I didn't need to for this project note that you can subscribe to higher quality / more frequent downloads.

As well as the clouds you can also see the terminator between day and night change shape over the course of the year. This video starts and ends with the Summer equinox when days are longest in the Northern hemisphere.

Where it's nighttime the image is based on NASA's Black Marble. The daytime is based on Blue Marble, but blended with a different older image which has better ocean colors and interpolated daily between twelve monthly Blue Marble satellite images. The result of this is that you can see snow and ice coverage changing over the course of the year. If you look closely you'll also notice vegetation growing and dying back with the seasons.

Rendered in a slightly modified build of Catfood Earth (the main release doesn't know how to access my private cache of xplanet cloud images). As well as combining day, night and cloud images Catfood Earth can also show you earthquakes, volcanoes, US weather radar, political borders, places and time zones. It has been enlivening Windows desktop wallpaper for fifteen years now (as shareware back when that was a thing, these days it's a free download for Windows and Android).

Star Trails

Star Trails

Here's a different take on the timelapse I posted yesterday (Jupiter from Casini Ranch):

For this version each frame is built from the cumulative maximum pixel value for all the previous frames. So it's like a long exposure with nice star trails (and Jupiter, and at various points a couple of satellites and a plane).

Jupiter from Casini Ranch

Jupiter from Casini Ranch

A short 4K UHD timelapse featuring Jupiter rising over the Russian River:

Shot from Casini Ranch near Duncan Mills, California. It's a shame it's not Saturn and Cassini Ranch.

Painted Lady Butterflies Eclosing

Updated on Friday, January 5, 2018

Butterfly ecloses from chrysalis

Four Painted Lady butterflies eclose (emerge) from their chrysalises. The video has a timelapse and then realtime video of each butterfly in turn.

Sutro Baths Timelapse

Sutro Baths in San Francisco

Timelapse of Sutro Baths in San Francisco, CA.

Backyard Visits

A spider glows in infrared

I have a Nest camera in my backyard. So far it has caught zero criminals. It's not completely useless though as it has captured many raccoons, several skunks, eerie spiders glowing in the infrared lights, a couple of rats and one cat. Parkside police say I can stop calling now.

Stars over Lake Tahoe

Updated on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Timelapse of stars over Lake Tahoe, California

4K timelapse of stars and the Milky Way over Lake Tahoe, California.