Sorry for not posting much during February. I’ve been spending most of my time working on PhotoTube.info and I’m starting to see results. For one thing, it now contains over 800 instructional photography videos. Be sure to check it out. Here is a list of current categories and the number of videos in each category:
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Required Equipment: Panosaurus
Shooting 360×180 degree panoramas usually requires a special tripod head. Trying to shoot this kind of panorama hand held would not be an easy task. Each picture has to overlap by 25-30% not to mention the likelihood of seeing parallax errors in the final image. Parallax errors occur when the camera rotates around a point other than the no parallax point of the lens. The bottom line is that the shots can’t line up properly if there are parallax errors. I have gotten great results with an inexpensive Panosaurus panoramic tripod head. Click here to read my review of the Panosaurus.
To stitch the images together I rely on two programs. Hugin is free software and does a great job with a 360×180 panoramas shot with a fisheye lens such as the Rokinon 8mm Fisheye Lens. If you use an 18mm lens, then Serif PanoramaPlus X4 is a better choice. Each program has its strengths; what one can’t stitch together the other can. Click here to read my review of PanoramaPlus. Your camera may have come with software that can stitch together panoramas but don’t expect it to work with a 360×180 degree panorama. Click to continue »
A real HDR is created by taking a series of photographs with different exposures then merging them together in software in order to tone map the separate exposures into one HDR image that has an extremely high dynamic range. Since the photographs used to create the HDR are separate shots, anything that is moving can be problematic because a moving object is in a different spot in each photograph. The HDR software can’t align a moving object. It is possible to remove the ghosts but I have experimented with creating fake HDR images of moving subjects such as water. Instead of using multiple exposures, I take one good exposure and create separate files from one RAW photograph then merge the files together into an HDR image. The resulting image does not have the same dynamic range as a real HDR but it does have the unique look of an HDR. Expect additional noise in the shadows. Click the image to the right to see what I mean. I have read that you can’t or shouldn’t create exposures from one file but I find that the process can create a compelling image out of a lackluster one. Take a look at the difference between these photos and judge for yourself.
Here are the steps that I took in order to create the HDR pictured in this post. Click to continue »
Matt has a tutorial on adding your own lighting source to a photo, including a lens flare. Corey shares a retouching tip to use when zooming in close on an image. Dave shows viewers how to use the refine mask options when making an extraction. Pete Collins, the new Photoshop Guy, has a tip on purchasing stock photography that includes a clipping path. In a special segment, Scott talks with Brian Matiash from onOne software about their new product, Perfect Layers.
Start by testing your DSLR to find out if you can use it to take infrared photos. Point a remote at your camera and take a one second photo. If your camera records the light produced by the remote, you can take the next step – buy an IR filter. The Hoya 58mm RM-72 is a good choice. Be sure to get the correct size for your lens. The link pictured in this post is to a 58mm filter. Expect your exposures to be extremely long because the filter blocks out almost all visible light. Click to continue »
You can take a panoramic image with a very wide angle lens or you can take a series of shots and stitch them together. The great thing about creating a panorama by stitching photos together is the incredible detail than can be preserved. The panoramic images displayed across the top of this website were stitched together. Using a sequence of shots also makes it possible to create 360×180 degree panoramas. Click to continue »
Reality Check: Most of the time, you can’t take a properly exposed photograph of the moon and the landscape/seascape being illuminated by the moon at the same time. If you expose for the foreground, the moon will be blown out and appear white. If you expose for the moon, the foreground will be much too dark. The answer is to take two separate photographs then use a photo editor like Adobe Photoshop CS5 or Gimp to copy and paste the moon from the properly exposed moon picture into the properly exposed foreground picture. This may seem like cheating but it is done all the time. The moon in the photograph on the right was copy and pasted from another photo. I then used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to convert the photo to a Cyanotype. There are very few times that the moon and foreground can be exposed properly in the same photograph. During the recent moonrise of the “super moon” the lighting was perfect because sunset was about fifteen minutes before moonrise. Click to continue »
I recently came across an inspiring e-book by Evan Sharboneau that contains many examples of trick photography and special effects. I am really impressed. This is a 190 page e-book filled with impressive photos and how-to tips. The author is young but really knows his stuff. I highly recommend it. You also get a bonus e-book covering photography fundamentals, flashes, lenses, and Photoshop plugins as well as how to make money with photography. This guy obviously lives and breaths photography!