Tokyo waterfront panorama – the making of

In my previous post I shared a panorama photograph of the Tokyo waterfront taken from Rainbow Bridge[^0]. It was not particularly difficult to do, and there were no ground-breaking techniques involved, but I thought I would write up how it was done as a small tutorial for anyone who might be interested in trying the same. The basic steps were:

  1. Take a series of photos,
  2. stitch them together,
  3. edit the photo, including altering the colours,
  4. upload and present the finished panorama online.

In the following I will go through each step.

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Panorama of Tokyo’s waterfront from Rainbow Bridge

Tokyo Bay panorama, mini version

I left my former post doc position at NICT at the end of August and left Japan in mid-September. In the two free weeks I was busy wrapping up my life in Japan and preparing for the move. One important item on my “wrapping up” list was to walk across Rainbow Bridge and take a lot of photographs. The bridge is one of my favourite locations in Tokyo. Starting from Shibaura, a little south of the central Ginza-Shinbashi area, it rises to a maximum height of 52 meters above Tokyo Bay via a 300° loop, makes two soft turns and eases down on Odaiba, a large landfill area in the bay. There are some fantastic views of the Tokyo skyline and harbour from there, and Rainbow Bridge itself is quite beautiful. On top of that, the Yurikamome train line passes across the bridge. With its driver-less trains it makes for an amazing ride at the front or rear windows. I had taken a few photos of the bridge before, but never from the bridge itself. I promised myself to do that before leaving Tokyo.

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Square plus one equals sun

square plus ten equals ?

Solve this equation – what should appear instead of the question mark?

This funny puzzle is from NEC’s とんちクイズ 2011 wall calendar, September. Every month has a new quiz, often based around word plays, presented by a little monkey called Gozaru. The quizzes are easy enough for most Japanese children to solve, but usually rather hard for me. You will need to know some basic Japanese to be able to figure this one out.

Let me know in the comments if you have the solution or need some hints!

Quickly convert webpages to ebook


dotEPUB is a super-handy little tool that lets you quickly turn an article on a website into an EPUB file for reading as an ebook. I discovered it when I was looking for a way to store a Science article (behind paywall) for later reading. Worked like a charm. Just drag the bookmarklet to your browser toolbar and you’re good to go. There is an option for keeping images or leaving them out. My blog post on halos has too many images to be included, but otherwise the blog posts look great as well.

PhD thesis delight

Daniel Oblak's thesis, Figure 1.3 Let me try something new: A PhD thesis review! I have absolutely no plans of making this a regular feature, but the thesis of Daniel Oblak, my buddy and former colleague at the Niels Bohr Institute, is so impressive and delightful that it deserves to be highlighted. It will be a very superficial review, though, as I will mostly comment on the nice figures and funny insider jokes — very little about the physics. So everyone should be able to follow me this time…

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Twenty Eleven bug: Navigation links blocking meta links

When WordPress 3.2 came out, I switched to the new default Twenty Eleven theme. It works well and looks great, but hopefully I will find some time someday to personalise it a bit. For now I use it almost without modifications.

I do not know a lot about either WordPress or CSS, but I discovered one little thing that seems like a bug: When viewing a single post, the meta links in the top (like the date on a post or the full-size link and post link on an attachment page) are not clickable — at least on Opera, Firefox and Chrome. It seems to work in IE.

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Anticrepuscular rays

Two days ago, just after sunset, we had this view from the balcony:

Anticrepuscular rays over Shinagawa hotel area

The pink beams seem to be emanating from the hotels and corporate headquarters around Shinagawa Station. The sun was not setting behind these buildings, as you might think, but rather in the opposite direction in the sky. What was their origin? Although a great theory, they are not related to any imminent re-emergence of the Japanese Empire, as suggested by Anders.

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High-fiving my clone

Not long ago, Anthony pointed me to this terrific panorama photo of a concert for clones:

Remake: Suntory Hall, Tokyo

A bit of digging reveals that it was created in Suntory Hall, Tokyo in 2006 by Martin Liebscher, a German artist who seems to have made it his specialty to make panoramas full of clones of himself.

It reminded me of a very simple clone photo of myself I once made. I had read this tutorial on PetaPixel and wanted to try it out myself. It is actually quite simple and quick to do — at least for 2 copies. I am not sure that Martin Liebscher made the photo above in an afternoon…

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Total internal reflection as demonstrated by Engineer Guy

In my recent, very long post on the optics of solar halos, I briefly mentioned the phenomenon of total internal reflection: If a ray of light propagating in a material with a high index of refraction, such as water or ice, encounters an interface with a material of a lower index, like air, it will be completely reflected if it enters with a large angle of incidence (close to parallel with the interface). This explained why the sunlight would not be deflected by ice crystals to form the halo for certain incidence angles.

Total internal reflection is also responsible for the working of optical fibres. This is demonstrated clearly and convincingly in this video by Bill Hammack, aka. Engineer Guy that I found via Make. In the first part of the video he very elegantly shows how a laser beam is reflected multiple times inside a narrow stream of transparent liquid. I recommend you to watch the whole video which covers a lot of science and engineering related to fibre optic cables. But stay focused! There is an impressive amount of information packed into those 5:36 minutes.

Engineer Guy has made many other videos covering different technologies. I will certainly try to watch them all.