Shooting panoramas

I seem to be doing a fair bit on panoramas lately. One of the first articles I wrote concerned how to shoot them and I wrote that you had to shoot a series of overlapping pictures. The picture below shows what a series of images looked like before and after I had stitched them.

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One of the problems with shooting a panorama  is remembering months down the line, which images are a sequence. Shooting a picture of your hand at either end of the sequence is a tip I picked up on another blog (can’t remember which one) and is a neat way of separating panos from each other and from other pictures shot on the day.

Click to view all my panorama posts.

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A cute trick

One of the frustrations I often encounter as an editor is that people will load pictures into a word processing document before sending  them to me for publication. It is a problem because there was no way of getting the pictures without losing a lot of quality and spoiling them.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

One very useful thing I discovered the other day is that you can retrieve pictures inserted in modern XML-format word processor files. These include Open Office’s .ODT and Microsoft Word’s .DOCX files and the trick works because they are not actually single files with images embedded in them.

Read moreA cute trick

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Aspect ratios

Here’s a quick note on what aspect ratios are and how they apply to planning a screen-based slideshow or presentation. It follows up on my previous post on ProShow Gold 4.1 and explains what I meant when I said that the first step in planning a slideshow is to consider the aspect ratio (or shape) of the screen you are going to show it on.

The aspect ratio describes the shape of a screen (or print for that matter) by stating how many units wide and high it is. A widescreen display is 16 units wide by 9 of the same units high (16:9) or, to put it another way, they are very nearly twice as wide as they are high. You can get big ones and small ones, but they will all have the same basic shape. By contrast, conventionally-shaped computer and television have screens which are 4 units by 3 units high (4:3).

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HDR master

One of the main limitations of all cameras has been that they cannot capture the same number of brightness levels in a scene that the human eye can. This has led to the situation where the photographer has to make up his or her mind which parts of the scene they want to capture. The usual choice was to capture highlights correctly and let the shadows go totally black.

Now, in digital photography, we have a technique called HDR (High Dynamic Range) which lets you capture more brightness levels than ever before, by blending a number of different exposures together. One of the early masters of this technique is Trey Ratcliffe who established the site Stuck in Customs, where he combines his love of travel photography with HDR.

 

The site is full of tips and techniques and there is a very thorough free tutorial on HDR which you can view. He has also just published a book, A World In HDR, on more advanced techniques and I’m certainly going to put it on my Christmas wish list.

Many HDR pictures end up looking pretty gaudy and false-looking and those are not to my taste at all. Trey’s pictures are a different in that, although some have a hyper-real look to them, I never get the feeling that he has overdone them. Inspirational stuff indeed!

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The Hot Shoe Diaries

I may have mentioned that one of the most exciting developments in my photography in recent times was the discovery of off-camera flash. Or, if I wanted to be strictly accurate, my recent rediscovery of off-camera flash..

I was browsing through the B&H Photo site the other day when I noticed Canon accessories which allow you to connect off-camera flashes to your Canon film cameras. It reminded me that I once had a set of those cords, hot shoes and connector boxes, and which gave superb results. I was shooting my niece who was a toddler at the time and, if I tell you that she now has her driving license and is at university, it’ll give you an idea of just how long ago that was.

cheeky

For one reason or another, perhaps it was too limiting to work tethered with short bits of wire, I stopped doing the off-camera thing; and what a great pity that was.

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Getting the light right

Over the past few weeks I’ve been preoccupied with family medical issues and didn’t get the chance to write up a practice shoot I went on with a couple of fellow Strobists. We started out in an old railway station building and were shooting grungy detail pictures with our cameras mounted on tripods.

Little did poor Voden know that he was destined to be the model a little later in the day, on the wonderful graffiti-covered bench outside. A group of us have recently become disciples of Joe McNally and the holy Nikon Creative Lighting System which, if you use it right, can give you incredible off-camera flash pictures.

This picture was taken with Voden’s bare SB-900 flash gun positioned at 90° to the camera, directly in front of him, and slightly above his eye line. Tucked into the space between him and the bench was my SB-600 flash, set to put just a bit of light into the space behind his head.

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The next one was taken with the help

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