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pmitchell

Peter Mitchell

Member since 10th June 2008

Business Phone: 09 5780578
Website: www.petemitchell.info
Job Description: Business Owner

Blog

Peter's Blog

Panorama Images
1st January 2012

This blog post assumes you do not have a panorama camera and will be using software to merge or "stitch" images together.

How to take the Preparatory Images for a Panorama

You'll need a tripod with a good level on it. As you take the pictures for your panorama, your horizon will need to be level otherwise the merging software will have to work very hard to give you a good result.

Then meter the scene from left to right. You are looking for an exposure that will produce a reasonable result across to whole scene. Set your camera to Manual and dial in the exposure. If you leave the camera on Program and allow it to vary the exposure across to scene, that will not just you a good final result.

If you want really large images, orientate your camera to portrait on the tripod. As you take the pictures, allow the images to over lap 30%. Having a camera and card that can save images quickly will speed things up.

There are also special tripod heads from Manfroto and Nodal Ninga that make a science out of the percentage over lap. In my experience, while they can save time in Photoshop, there are worth the extra expense.

To mark the end of one panorama series and the beginning of another, place you hand in front of the lens and snap a picture off. This will be a marker as you are reviewing the pictures later and select them for merging.

Some people turn the image stablisation off when working with a tripod and slow exposures.

What to do in Photoshop

If you use the Bridge, it has a clever feature that allows to adjust a group of RAW images at once. This is really, really useful if you didn't get your exposure bang on. Once you have adjusted your images, it time to merge them.

Go to the "Photomerge" option on the File > Automate menu of Photoshop. Choose the cylindrical option and select your images. Obviously the more you select the bigger the final image will be and the more time it will take Photoshop to open each image and join them.

Finally, Photoshop completes the stitch. This is an exciting moment because the software is effectively creating a new and unused or unseen focal length of the image. Sometimes this yields dramatic and interesting distortions.

After the stitch is complete, have a really close look at it. Sometimes there are little things that don't match up and you have to look very closely for them. On occasion you may have to re shoot the scene with a different lens before Photoshop will do a great job of joining the images.

Flattening the image now will save a heap of RAM and make the image easy to work with. You will probably still have plenty of work to do on the image

Happy stitching. Peter

Night Time Photography
18th April 2011

Here are my tips for high quality night time photography.

First, wind your camera''s ISO right down to 100. I know, that is a day time ISO, but if you don''t you will end up with grainy ("noisy") images that aren''t much good for anything.

So yes, you will need a tripod as exposure times will get right down to 1 to 8 seconds. If you are using a digital SLR and a kit lenses it is likely that your tripod will have to support around 3 kilos, so it will need to be sturdy.

If you don''t have a tripod, buy at the top of the range - it will last longer and give you better results over the years.

To summarise, you have your exposure time down to 3 seconds or more, your camera on a sturdy tripod, but wait, there''s more... if there is a wind, you may need to hang weights from your tripods centre column to make the camera very still.

Any movement during the exposure will send you picture out of focus and be rejected by the stock. If there is anything moving in you photo - car tails lights, wind on the water - this can add a pleasant painterly effect to your images and is purposeful, but building edges that aren''t sharp will send your picture to the trash can.

You may also need a cable release or to use your camera''s 2-3 sec shutter release so the action of you pressing and releasing the camera shutter button does not introduce blurriness to your image. These tips about using weights on the tripod and delayed shutter release apply more so the longer the lense''s focal length becomes.

And finally, be seen. If you are working near a road get a dayglow reflective vest and be seen. Happy hunting.

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