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(August–September, 2016)

Jürgen Matern

Venue of 'The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo'

Markus Matern

Numbers Can't Describe Nature

Madritsch Saddle, South Tyrol, Italy

August 19, 2016, 10:45 UTC (12:45 local time)

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© 2016 Markus Matern, All Rights Reserved.



I had really a hard time finding a scene where numbers are prominent enough to be considered as the main subject for a spherical panorama. In fact I failed completely. Nevertheless the theme got me thinking about numbers and their relation to digital spherical panoramas!

The assumption in the title that "Numbers can't describe nature" is imho not entirely true. Or you could say it is entirely false!

I think this bold statement needs some explaining: In the digital world almost everything can be described using numbers. And you don't even need a large diversity of them. In fact only two of them is enough, 0 and 1 or true and false. That's all the different numerals you need! However trying to describe a scene of nature with only a value of true or false would be considered overbold. However true could mean you see nature and false means you don't. Usually the more digits you use to describe a scene, the more likely you can make an appropriate representation using these numbers.

For example this image consists of 8000x4000 pixels. Each of the pixels is coded in three colors and each color can have a value between 0 and 255. Summing up this panorama consists of 768000000 digits of 0 or 1 (8000 x 4000 x 3 x 8)! In this case we get approximately 732 MB of digitally encoded information describing the scene. Using a second panorama to create a stereo pair of images represents the depicted mountains even better. However the required information to store the scenery doubles. It would give the viewer additional depth information that lacks in this panorama.

So in conclusion numbers are usually pretty good in representing something. In the case of representing nature you just need lots of them to do it! So the thesis could also be the opposite: Nature can be described using numbers (you just need a lot of them)!


Some additional numbers related to this scene:
  • Temperature: 12°C (or 53.6 °F)
  • Temperature with wind-chill: Less than 12°C!
  • Altitude: 3112 m (or 10210 ft)
  • Summits you can see: Lots of them (depending on the clouds)

Europe / Italy

Lat: 46° 29' 52.49" N
Long: 10° 37' 45.68" E

Elevation: 3112 m (10210 ft)

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

  • Camera: Sony ILCE-QX1
  • Lens: Walimex 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye
  • Double monopod construction
  • Software: Lightroom, PTGui Pro, Smartblend, Photoshop
  • Pictures: 4 pictures (@ 90°) + Nadir

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