“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.” -Ambrose Bierce


The most common emails I get about this blog are questions about physics, astronomy, and some very speculative theories. But second most common are questions asking where I get my pictures.

Well, except in rare instances, I don’t make them myself. Should you just make like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and,

Keep On Looking?
Let me tell you about a great tool to help you figure out where any image on the site comes from! Let’s pick one at random, from say, this recent post.

So what can you do? You can copy the url or download the photo, and go here: http://www.tineye.com/.

And I can sort the results by “best match”, “most changed”, or — my preferences — “biggest image.” And when I do sort by biggest image, what do I get?

I follow the link to the biggest image, and that’s where it lives!

If I google the url, I get directed to this page, which looks like the following:

And I can even click on that site’s terms of use tab to find all the copyright info I want.

And I can use tineye.com to reverse-image-lookup anything I want, even something fantastic like this:

And after scrolling through just a few results, I get taken here, to NASA’s image of the day page, where I can find out that this was a combination image of Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Telescope data, and there are links to download the image in multiple resolutions, including the full-size version. (Which makes great wallpaper, FYI.)

So take a look at tineye, and have fun finding out all about your favorite web images!

Comments

  1. #1 Sphere Coupler
    November 21, 2010

    You just won awards for best blog and peoples choice at physics org. Now,here you are giving away info that would help other bloggers in their efforts to beat you next year!

    You are a true scientist my blogosphere friend, seems the words of Henry A. Rowland were not wasted on you.

    Enough of the compliments, don’t want to be responsible for any cranium expansion;?)

    This song has been haunting me all cloudy day, in a good way.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIdIqbv7SPo
    Bill Withers, Ain’t no sunshine

  2. #2 Treppenwitz
    November 21, 2010

    If you’re using Firefox, be sure to check out the plugin. Right-click any image on a page and you’ll have a context menu item to run the image through TinEye.

  3. #3 Rob Ryan
    November 22, 2010

    There are plugins for all the browsers. I use Safari and Chrome on my Macbook and have it installed in both. Same functionality WRT right click, preferences, etc. Of course, on the Macbook you have to set up the trackpad to have a “right click” if you’re not using a mouse.

  4. #4 Lloyd Hargrove
    November 23, 2010

    Yes, this is the blog of a true scientist in all highest regard and respects, always going forward and thought provoking as well as much appreciated by the many.

    Non-professional provoked thought of the day… (picture inspired)-
    Does the gravitational lensing effect always occur if you focus in far enough away in any given direction or is it specific to a few certain places?

    This effect appears much like our viewing has either hit or perhaps has built up a “box” at some vector wherein is found a fisheye lens type of view. This is to suggest that such a point may no longer be restricted to, or perhaps even representative of that which may be deemed to be within the “line of sight”, but rather represents an integration of the omnidirectional electromagnetic intelligence which impinges upon space either at or along the path to an ultimate focal point.

    Disclaimer: Such thoughts are within the privilege of the ignorant and are always good for some measure of endorphin release regardless of whether it is otherwise useful to anyone else.