26 Apr 2017
Cyrus the Great
This is the chap who started off the whole Persian Empire thing. Quite a guy: a rare mix of military leader, administrator, and wise ruler. He thought up the idea of letting conquered people keep their religion and language, rather than adding them into the mother culture, like it or not.
More on Cyrus and his legacy later.
How to remove tourists
But they never do.
They are looking to take their own shots, and if you get a busload of giggling Japanese tourists shooting every possible combination of selfies, well you might as well just pack up for the afternoon.
However, it seems there’s an answer. I’d heard that there was a setting in Photoshop you could use to merge a bunch of photographs, which kept the parts that stayed the same and dumped changes.
All you have to do is sit the camera in a good position and take a shot every fifteen seconds or so.
Testing the technique
It was a hot, bright day at Pasargadae, and I thought I’d give the technique a whirl. So I picked a spot off to one side of the tomb of Cyrus the Great, set my camera down on the ground and hit the button every so often.
Looking at the results, it seems I missed the focus every time, but in my defence, the camera was low on the ground, the viewfinder unusable, and the tilt screen all but invisible in the bright sun.
It wasn’t until I got back home – and then some – that I hunted up a how-to video explanation.
Simplicity itself. Just find the “Scripts” item in the “File” menu, select your image files, and choose the “Statistics” script with the “Median” option. (See the video for the exact sequence.)
Here we can see there was a bunch of people on the right, and they hung around for all the time I could spare while baking under the Persian sun.
And there were one or two places on the left where something similar happened. I can crop out the guys on one side, and manually remove those on the other, but I think it looks kind of cool to keep the ghostly traces.
I played around a little with some of the other options. “Mean” just averaged all the photos, and it turned out pretty bad.
“Maximum” was okay, I guess. It kept the pixels at whatever was the highest brightness for that point, and as mostly the tourists were silhouetted against the light coloured stone, they vanish. Apart from bright clothing.
In the end, the best shot is probably the one with the fewest tourists! The human figures give scale and perspective, and as it’s easy to imagine the regular lines of the stonework behind them, there’s no great loss.