Magic Camera + ImageMagick

We’ve been spending a lot of time with our neighbors Jack Tres and Olive lately. That’s a good thing. I shot this picture at Flora on Thursday night. The light was provided by a single candle on the table in front of Tres. I used my old manual-focus f1.4 Nikkor wide open, at 1/15th of a second with the Magic Camera set to ISO 3200. This image is to me, nothing short of amazing. It’s as if the camera added light to the scene. I could not see her this well with my naked eye!

Tres by candlelight.

Then, I added the neat little border and drop-shadow to the above thumbnail without ever opening any image editor. Instead of PhotoShop, I used ImageMagick on my Linux server to create the effect at the command line! The command I used to do this:

convert image.jpg -resize 605x
-unsharp 0.5x1.2+0.5+0.1 -matte
-bordercolor white -border 8
-bordercolor grey85 -border 1
( +clone -background grey60 -shadow 80x3+6+6 ) +swap
-background white -mosaic image-thumb.jpg

Why would I do this? A few reasons.

  1. It’s very fast – it takes just 2 seconds to create this nice effect.
  2. I can create this effect form anywhere without any special tools.
  3. The effect can be applied very quickly to a whole directory of images.
  4. I can add a “create pretty thumbnail” option to WordPress.

I have a lot to learn before I have item 4 working, but the challenge is half the fun of it!

4 comments

  • Oscar

    It would have been a perfect picture had it not been for the jacket of the person to the left. It really distracts the eye and ruins the bokeh.

    Really nice and impressive otherwise. Tres seems like a fun gal.

  • thedude

    Fun Gal? Oh yeah – you got that right. 🙂

  • Jerry Stone

    I saw your picture of Diego Garcia. The name was Indian Ocean 2 or something like that. I’ve never met you but I knew at least one person in that picture. Were you in Diego Garcia? I think I left there in 1986 or something like that.

  • thedude

    Not sure which picture you’re speaking of. Yes, I was in Diego. I left in 1987, I believe. See my Diego Garcia Category.

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