OCR, Another Tool for Blind Photographers?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Dudley Hanks, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Well, one of the best tools i've developed to date has been my
    Perl script for evaluating image exposure. The script takes an
    image, analyzes all the pixels and breaks their brightness down,
    plotting each as a constituent of an Ansel Adams zone. Using
    this system, I can assess any scene even more accurately than you
    sighted photographers.

    The next step in the evolution of this script is to modify it a
    bit, so that it will be able to detect / document lighting
    gradations. With that capability, not only will I be able to
    evaluate overall lighting, but I'll be able to assess whether I'm
    achieving the effects I'm after -- i.e. high or low contrast,
    subject isolation, etc.

    But, all this pales when compared to the latest tool I've learned
    to employ as a blind photographer: OCR.

    Now, I don't mean that I'll be using my camera to read signs,
    plaques, etc, although that is all possible. What I mean is
    that, through tons of practice, I've developed a method in which
    OCR can be used to help frame and layout any image I might

    By placing a page of text in the frame, in front of the main part
    of my subject, and taking a picture, running it through Omnipage,
    and then reading back whatever text I've captured, it is possible
    to detect whether or not the subject (behind the page) is in the
    picture. And, by placing other, smaller cards, with captions
    like "top left corner," bottom right corner," etc at points I
    want to be the outer limits, it is possible to make sure that
    everything is layed out as desired.

    Pretty slick, eh?

    While this isn't exactly going to help me get a wild crowd scene
    at a local nightclub, it definitely can be used to get great
    nature shots, studio setups, macro shots, etc.

    Damn, "I love it when a plan comes together" ...

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Feb 17, 2014
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  2. Dudley Hanks

    J. Clarke Guest

    I'm having trouble envisioning what you are doing. Is there any
    possibility that you could take us through it step by step with
    J. Clarke, Feb 17, 2014
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  3. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Actually, I'm working on a television episode for a tech show (
    did some filming this week), so I might be able to post a link
    in a few months to some better demo footage than I can produce,
    myself. But, I also want to put some of the details on my
    web site. So, one way or another, I'll try to clarify the
    procedure as best as I can.

    For now, think of it this way:

    You might have seen the last pic I took of Mich doing shake-a-
    paw with me (http://www.blind-apertures.ca/pics/ShakeAPaw.jpg).

    In order to set that shot up, think of a few preliminary shots.

    1. I put an open book with large print in front of the flower
    pot situated behind where Mich and I will be located, situate
    the camera on a tripod in such a way that I think I've got the
    area framed properly. And take a pic.

    Then, run the pic through Omnipage to see if I can read the

    If all the text is there (the page has already been scanned so
    I know what's on it), I know I've at least got the base of the
    flower pot as a starting point.

    2. next, I sit where I want to sit, holding the book near
    where I want the bottom left corner of the pic to be. I take
    another pic, OCR it, and, check for completeness.

    If I'm cutting off the beginnings of the lines of text, I know
    I have to move the image area farther to the left. If the
    bottom part of the page isn't there, I know I have to shift
    the camera down.

    3. I bring Mich into the picture and get him to sit where I
    want him, put the book page where I want the bottom right edge,
    and do the OCR evaluation again.

    This time, I look for the right edge of the lines to be cut
    short. and, if I've made a shift down to get more of the
    bottom area in the pic, I once again look to see if the page
    is readable all the way to the bottom.

    4. If all is well, I hold the book up in the center, near the
    top of the plant, and take a pic. This is to make sure I'm
    not going to cut off either my head or Mich's. When I do the
    OCR, I check to see if the page is readable from the top. If
    it isn't, I have to zoom out a bit, and then recheck the top,
    as well as the bottom corners.

    6. I repeat these steps untill I've got the page scanning
    perfectly in each of the important areas, all the while
    orienting everything to the planter near the center, which can
    be viewed as a sort of anchor.

    7. Of course, as I'm doing the OCR evaluations, I'm also
    running the pics through my Perl exposure evaluation script,
    making sure the lighting is good. (The cam was in manual mode,
    and I used 2 manual flashes.)

    8. When all is as good as I think I'm like to get it, I bring
    in Mich, press the remote (10 second trigger), tell him to
    shake a paw, and hope for the best.

    After all was set up, it took one shot for the actual pic.

    Needless to say, the procedure is a bit primitive, so far, and
    I haven't taken any pics that I'd consider well layed out, but
    I'm very pleased with what I've been able to set up, so far,
    and I'm looking forward to much better shots in the not too
    distant future.

    BTW, SuperZoom, in any of your manifestations, care to tell us
    once again how a blind guy taking a pic is akin to 500 monkeys
    hacking away in a room full of typewriters?

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Feb 17, 2014
  4. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Sorry, J., the inclusion of the SuperZoom slam wasn't intended
    to cast you as one of SZ's manifestations. Sometimes, I just
    get carried away, and my writings become a stream of
    consciousness exercise...

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Feb 17, 2014
  5. Dudley Hanks

    J. Clarke Guest

    Got it now I think. Lot of work--when there's a will there's a way.
    J. Clarke, Feb 17, 2014
  6. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Beauty is in the mind of the beholder, not the eye ...
    Dudley Hanks, Feb 17, 2014
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