Google Street View Cars

Daily Photo – Google Street View Cars

After I was invited to speak at Google on HDR for their Authors@Google program, I visited another one of their buildings where I gave a little workshop. It was great fun! On the way over, I passed the fleet of Google Streetview cars. I set up for a shot in the awesome Mountain View afternoon skies.

I know there’s a lot of controversy over these cars. I think it’s all silly. Everyone is everywhere taking photos nowadays… whether with DSLRs, consumer cameras, or cell phones. The idea that Google can’t do what everyone else is doing in an organized way just doesn’t make any sense. I use Google street view all the time to help find my way around… it’s a huge time-saver! And, it’s super-cool on my Android phone, I must say…

HDR Photo

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  • casusan

    Oh wow! I’ve never seen these street view cars before! I pictured them being some big truck or some such – nice to see Trey!

  • http://www.waitingforvisas.com Nick

    Technically another great shot Trey but a few google street cars? Come on…you’ve been travelling around the world for the last couple of months and surely you’ve got a whole treasure chest of goodies to post! I’m currently on the road too and know that there are so many great shots to choose from every day that there’s no need to settle for something like a few parked cars (even with cameras on).

    Sorry to be negative about this one as usually i’m a big fan but personally I come back every day to see one of your awesome shots from somewhere amazing…I hope you’ve got somewhere good to show us tomorrow! I know if i’m getting loads of great shots in China at the moment then you must have some really great shots!! http://www.waitingforvisas.com/?p=305

    Blow us away tomorrow Trey!

  • Mark Herring

    Hey I agree it’s a bit silly the controversy over google taking photoes but they have been grabing wifi info and i’m not sure i i agree with that. Maybe they have forgotten the customer !
    Hope your enjoying NZ

  • Steve K

    @Nick. I respectfully disagree. Getting a great shot of a parking lot takes more photographic talent than getting a great shot of a canyon or monument. I’m happy to see a perfectly processed picture of almost anything, if not for enjoyment of the location then for the lesson in possibility.

    @Mark There’s two issues here. One is that street views include people in the pix and thus recording their location at a particular time (or who they were with). Some claim it as an invasion of privacy, tho taking a picture in public and posting it is pretty much legal everywhere.

    The other is mapping access points, and creating a way to find a public wireless by doing a google search. Just grabbing the AP “I’m here” broadcasts isn’t a a problem, but grabbing an AP response to a PC takes in a tiny amount of content. Personally, I applaud Google for divulging and promising to correct a mistake. However, others see it as a giant abusing its power.

  • http://francisspecker.com Francis Specker

    Too bad you couldn’t get shots of the Google self-driving cars. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/science/10google.html

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all — yes Nick sorry but it takes me a long time while traveling to get everything done. I’m often out in the field shooting for 12-16 hours a day — very far away from civilization. It’s almost impossible to get everything downloaded, copied, organized, processed, and uploaded. Bandwidth is often scarce and it’s a small miracle that I can actually get a post up every day. I’ve been on the road for about 80 days, which requires extensive digital planning.. I have to upload many many photos to smugmug before I leave so that I don’t have to use bandwidth while traveling to do the massive upload… anyway, it’s a huge problem, and these pieces take me many hours and sometimes days to produce — it is so difficult to keep photos up on a live daily basis.

  • Patrick Ahles

    Trey, great shot! I knew what the cars looked like, but have never seen one in person. Nice reflection in the car!

  • http://www.matthewhalstead.com Matt Halstead

    Whose are those skinny legs in the reflection…oh, it’s the tripod! hee hee, sorry couldn’t resist :-)

  • http://www.waitingforvisas.com Nick

    @Trey, I totally understand and know how hard it is to manage my own small workflow on the go so yours must be really difficult. I guess I’ve just been spoilt too much by your shots that I’m hopping for the same greatness every time I go to your site. Still a great shot though!

    @Steve – Totally agree that it’s technically brilliant and processed to perfection – that always comes as standard on this site and I wasn’t questioning Trey’s photographic talent in any way. I personally prefer Trey’s other subject matters and I know he welcomes all comments so I was just voicing my opinion…that’s what art’s all about right!

  • http://pbvgfx.blogspot.com philipp (pbv)

    interesting shot! the cars come out really nice, excellent! … just the sky is a bit too greyish for my taste.

  • Simon Morris

    Trey, it can’t be easy uploading a daily photo whilst travelling as you are… I find it difficult updating our family blog once a week :)
    You’ve been on the road for 80 days, that itself is a huge effort both mentally and physically. You’ve got issues to think about that us mere mortals take for granted on a daily basis… nutrition, health & hygiene, washing, travel, internet access, the list goes on… and you’re still uploading a daily photo… great effort, keep up the good work!

  • John

    I was actually going to ask (before Francis beat me to it) if those are the google self driving cars. I thought the google street view cars were usually white vans with cameras mounted to the roof.

  • http://timetotakepictures.blogspot.com Keith

    I always wondered what these cars looked like. I love the yellow reflection in the car.
    Francis, great link to a very interesting article. Trey, I can only imagine how diffiicult it must be to come up with a new image everyday, especially wwhile travelling…keep up the good work!

  • http://kirantarun.com/lens Kiran

    Awesome shot! And I concur with your in regards to Google street view. It’s a great digital advancement.

  • Shakira

    Always wanted to know how these cars looked like! :D
    @Steve, I totally agree with you. Showing the great side of daily stuff like a parking lot is more difficult than showing a landscape, and it requires an incredible talent!
    I believe I can’t judge Trey’s talent.. I mean, I come here every day to learn because I think he’s just the best, and he’s really helping me to improve my photography!!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kazinvan/ Kazinvan

    I’m a big fan of Trey and this site, but I can’t say I like this photo that much. Seems to processing of the HDR could be a lot better. The sky could certainly be better, and there is a halo around the tree in the middle. Maybe I’m picky but my expectations are high when I visit this site because I know what Trey is capable of.

  • John

    Trey –
    Congrats on a nice shot with a very tough subject. I am absolutely brand new to HDR and closely follow your work daily. I must admit that I was spoiled with those “spectacular” shots you commonly post – but I am still impressed on of what my mind see’s in your photo. I’m no expert – but truly enjoy your work.

  • http://wfrostphoto.wordpress.com Wayne Frost

    In terms of capturing images of the (perceived) mundane, Trey’s example here demonstrates that 1) there is beauty everywhere; 2) beauty is in the eye of the beholder; 3) an interesting subject or one that illuminates us, is always good.

    A prime example of taking something mundane and elevating it to art, is today’s image titled “Migration of the Radioactive Toasters” shared by Van Sutherland at his blog: http://exileimaging.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/migration-of-the-radioactve-toasters/

    Van is a true artist using HDR technique, and along with Stuck In Customs, Van’s blog is a regular stop for me.

  • http://www.waldinei.ifp3.com Waldinei

    Trey,

    When are you going to travel to Brazil? Lots of great places to take pictures in Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, Ilhabela and Iguazu Falls.

  • Simon Morris

    Thanks for the link Wayne… that’s another website bookmarked :)

  • Peter

    @SteveK I don’t look at Google Street Views that often but last time I looked certain ‘sensitive’ signs and faces in the picture were blurred so that they couldn’t be recognised. Perhaps it was just on that scene and is not always done.

  • Doc

    I think the problem people have with Google Street View is not about the photos of persons.

    IMHO it is a difference if I as a private person take a photo of a house and put it on my private website
    or
    an organized, systematic, (almost) world-wide collection of data that is available for anyone (i.e. not just private persons but also for companies) and the possibility of the interpretation of this data – especially when this data is combined with available data collected from social media like Facebook.
    The problem is the possibility of creating profiles of people.

    Just imagine the following scenario:
    An insurance agent wants to get new customers in a new region.
    Back in the old days he had to actually go there and talk with people.
    Today he takes a first look at everything via internet. He sees one-family dwellings, neat front gardens, potential clients that are probably more likely rich than poor.
    However, not just the agent in our example makes this, but hundreds of them…
    And then there will be those that will try to make money with this information and it is only a matter of time until those analyses will be available for money.
    Purposive, specific customer acquisition, done via the home environment. Hey, how about 100,000 data records for just 200 bucks?

    But now, that’s not all by any means. Because it is really not difficult at all to combine this data with other data like name, marital status, phone number, etc.

    Google Street View can be a useful tool, but it is naive to think that this data can and will not be used in a different way.

  • http://Lizeth Morena

    I love the yellowish-orange on the shiny black….but the trypod!@#$

  • Michelle

    I appreciate this image because it differs from the landscape images that have become so popular with HDR. It’s nice to see a great image where the subject is so close and not as far reaching as some. I don’t mind the tripod, I’ve come to fully appreciate the reflective properties of various things and I usually look for reflections after I take in the entire image.

  • Ethan

    @Nick Google didn’t hack into anyone’s wifi access point to collect data. Those people had open, unsecured access points sending unencrypted data that anyone could have grabbed. Google reported their activities, but there are almost definitely people and companies out there doing the same thing with evil intentions. People need to learn to be a little more responsible and stop blaming everyone else for their mistakes.

    I like this shot. It’s nice to see variety; not every shot needs to be a stunning landscape.

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