Ever notice the distortion of pixels when you try to take a picture of a computer screen or TV? Most of the time it is a supreme annoyance that you wish would never occur. But this odd distortion has a pretty interesting scientific explanation and can be quite beautiful if you take the time to look. These patterns are called moiré patterns and are produced when two pixel grids interact with each other. Pixels capturing pixels. As one source explains it, the strange rainbow effects may actually be produced by a combination of the camera’s filter and the wide-angle lens. It may also have something to do with the horizontal scan lines used to display an image on a screen, with the moiré pattern emerging when the lines from two separate screens cross. Apparently holding the camera at 30 degrees should prevent this, though I have not tested it myself.
I stumbled onto this a few months ago, and it has fascinated me ever since. You can actually take a picture of your computer monitor with your cellphone, pull up the image, and zoom in and out to generate the effects. You can then ‘save’ a pattern with a screenshot, though it is never perfectly preserved. A little tweaking of the brightness, contrast, etc., and you’ll have a beautiful peace of modern art.
This is yet another example of how a bit of science and creativity can combine to create amazing things.