Exploring new photo technology in the Gulf of Nicoya

By Caleb O’Brien

GULF OF NICOYA, Costa Rica — If a photo is worth a thousand words, what are 40 photos worth? Armed with the new Lytro Illum camera in Costa Rica, University of Missouri field-reporting students aim to find out.

The Lytro Illum exploits what is called light-field photography — a process that creates rich, interactive, 3D images — by splicing together 40 photos captured at once.

The nuances of the technology that enable such complex imagery is frankly too difficult for our tropical-heat-addled minds to fathom, but you can probably find some information on the internet if you’re interested.

The kinds of photos the Lytro Illum produces poses novel challenges to journalists and opens new realms of exploration and storytelling. We look forward to sharing more ‘living pictures’ in the coming days, but in the meantime, feast your eyes on these birds, and play around with the focus and perspective.

Support for these and other imaging technologies we’re trying out on this trip was provided by the Mizzou Advantage program of the University of Missouri, the Immersive Visualization Lab of the Department of Architectural Studies and the Missouri School of Journalism.