I have been fascinated by Macro ever since I started digital photography, partly because it takes you to places you wouldn’t normally go and shows you things that you wouldn’t normally see. After my first successful attempts at Macro Photography, I spent a great deal of time reading a lot about it and experimenting with different set-ups, in order to see how close I can get using the equipment available on the market and keeping the post-processing relatively simple. During that quest the word that was constantly coming up is ‘focus stacking’ and, as most Macro photographers would agree, in order to achieve very good results you will need to learn how to stack exposures at some point of your Macro exploration. This post will describe different kinds of Macro set-ups I have personally tested and discuss both their pros and cons. Finally, I will describe a set-up I’m currently using, which produces images you can see below.
I have just finished working on a project which I always wanted to shoot but never had enough courage, knowledge and the right equipment. Finally, the day has come and, together with a good friend of mine, we teamed up and mounted a camera on the bonnet of his car. Below you can see the results.
Following my passion for panoramic photography, I finally decided to take it one step further and try capturing a table panorama. I have seen those kind of images on the Web, and even once tried to capture one, but failed mainly due to the lack of the right equipment. However, this time I managed to capture and stitch a full 360 degree table panorama and here are some of my thoughts you may find useful.
Once you capture and stitch your first equirectangular image or a classic panorama (a long image that offers a 360° horizontal field of view but limited vertical viewing capabilities), you can easily turn it into an interactive panorama with Pano2VR. These kind of panoramas have become extremely popular in recent years, and many companies now specialise in creating virtual tours for commercial purposes. There is, of course, other equally good software available on-line, but this tutorial will guide you through simple steps of creating your first interactive panorama with Pano2VR. Speaking from my own experience, I think Pano2VR is really simple and intuitive and can be used by people with limited experience in interactive panoramic photography or even absolute beginners. In this tutorial, I will show you my favourite Pano2VR features which you can easily incorporated into a simple and effective workflow in order to create a functional interactive panorama. Then, you can expand upon this tutorial and explore other more advanced features of Pano2VR, compiled in a comprehensive list of official tutorials.
During the summer months people of Bournemouth can enjoy a spectacular fireworks show every Friday night around the main pier. As I happened to be working in Bournemouth for two months, I thought that was a great opportunity to launch into something completely new: capturing fireworks. Here are just a few of my thoughts you may find useful next time you want to capture fireworks yourself.
Inspired by a series of Vertoramas depicting the transition between daytime and night-time, I decided to try to achieve a similar effect in an equirectangular panorama. I have to admit, the final image isn’t perfect and there’s definitely more room for improvement but overall, I’m pleased with the result. This post will discuss some of the issues I experienced during this project. In order to appreciate this image more, make sure you visit the interactive version on 360cities here.
Following a recent trip to the mountains with a friend of mine, I decided to write about long exposure photography again. This time, however, realised in a different and rather tight shooting location.
Capturing the Nadir (the area of the ground directly below the Nodal point of your lens) is probably the most challenging and time-consuming aspect of panoramic photography. It is also important to compose the Nadir properly if you want to turn your image into an interactive panorama. This post will explain some techniques you can work on in order to improve or even design the Nadir of your panoramas. If you are completely new to panoramic photography please read my previous posts: Equirectangular Panorama and HDR Panorama.
One of the greatest challenges in Macro photography is getting the right DOF (depth of field). Generally, the closer to your object you get, the shallower the DOF becomes. Smaller apertures will let you gain more DOF, but will also block more light, taking into consideration the fact that most handheld macro work is already done with fast shutter to reduce camera shake. If you want to achieve ultra sharp images, with a reasonable aperture, then focus stacking is ideal to achieve that. There’s a lot of equally good software available for focus stacking on the market, but I have decided to demonstrate how Photoshop CS5 copes with it.
The basics behind capturing and stitching a HDR vertorama / tiltorama are almost the same as an equirectangular panorama. The only difference is that a vertorama / tiltorama represents a vertical field of view. If you are new to this kind of photography, please familiarise yourself with my previous posts: Vertical Panorama, Equirectangular Panorama and HDR Panorama to get an overview of HDR and panoramic photography.
Ever since I started developing a strong interest in panoramic photography, I also became interested in exploring HDR photography. One day these two finally came together and I decided to capture my first genuine HDR equirectangular panorama. It was not easy but I got there eventually and I’d like to share my thoughts with other panoramic and HDR photography enthusiasts. This post will guide you through the process of capturing a genuine HDR equirectangular panorama and will discuss the issues related to both the equipment as well as workflow. If you are not familiar with panoramic or HDR photography, please read my previous posts: Equirectangular Panorama and HDR from a single RAW
This week I’ve decided to experiment with the Peirce Quincuncial projection. In simple terms, this is a projection which is capable of projecting an equirectangular panorama onto a square. It’s similar to a stereographic projection as both of them represent a 360° field of view. The only difference between them is that a stereographic projection will produce a spherical image whereas Peirce Quincuncial will project the final image onto a square. If you are new to panoramic photography, please familiarise yourself with my previous posts on Equirectangular Panorama as you will need one to follow this step-by-step tutorial.
Ever since my taste for HDR photography started to develop, I’ve always used Photomatix Pro and thought that it’s all I will ever need to process my HDR images. Recently, however, I have started experimenting with Photoshop CS5 Merge to HDR plug-in and the results can be seen below.
Following my recent trip to the local museum, I’ve decided to write about the advantages of shooting HDR from a single RAW file using Photomatix Pro. If you are interested in this technique, please read my previous post ‘HDR from a single RAW‘.
First of all, shooting traditional HDR using your camera bracketing mode may prove extremely difficult, especially in low light situations as well as inside buildings. The picture below was shot with 1/25s, which is already a rather slow shutter speed for handheld photography. Creating brackets with your camera means that for overexposed brackets the shutter would have to be approximately 1/10s and that will definitely blur the image due to camera shake. Obviously, you can use a tripod for this kind of pictures but most places won’t allow you to use one for various reasons. Secondly, carrying and setting up your tripod every time you want to take a picture is also troublesome. Instead, you can capture one RAW file and then process it in Photomatix Pro. You don’t even have to create brackets yourself. Just open Photomatix, go to ‘File’ then select ‘Open’ and indicate your RAW image. Next, select the right settings and Photomatix will process the image and you still will be able to adjust the settings to get the desired effect. The results can be seen below.
Time-Lapse photography is gaining increasing recognition to the extent that this technique continues appearing in mainstream motion pictures on a regular basis and there is plenty of great examples on the Web. No photography blog would also be complete without an entry revealing the basics behind Time-Lapse Photography. Therefore, this post will discuss numerous aspects of Time-Lapse Photography including equipment, technique, processing and workflow in order to bring you closer to shooting your own Time-Lapse clip.
What is Time-Lapse Photography?
Basically, time-lapse is a photography technique that involves taking a series of photographs, maintaining the same interval between the shots, and then compiling them into a slide show or a movie clip. This technique is ideal to demonstrate events that usually take substantial time to develop in a relatively short period of time. Numerous examples of Time-Lapse Photography include blossoming flowers, growing plants, rotting vegetables and fruit, changing weather, moving clouds, cityscapes at night, night sky as well as city life. What makes this technique even more interesting is the fact that by increasing the intervals between the shots, it is possible to demonstrate unnoticed events that take time, in seconds.
Here are some of my examples of time-lapse projects shot both at night and in the daytime.
Notice how fast shutter speed and relatively long intervals made the video quite ‘choppy’.
Here on, the other hand, smaller intervals made the video flow better.
Finally, longer exposures taken at night create impressive trails of light.
Also an example of a time-lapse project made form video rather than picture files
Vertorama / tiltorama (see comments for details) simply stands for a vertical panorama and it’s one of the best ways to capture interiors. If you are not familiar with panoramic photography, please read my previous post on Equirectangular Panorama to get yourself familiar with the stitching process.
I had an idea recently and was wondering what would happen if I stacked several long exposures in Photoshop. The result can be seen below. This picture was stacked from 20 exposures and I have to say it looks really good. So, what are you waiting for? Take several long exposures, capturing car lights or other moving light sources, open all of them in Photoshop and then stack all the layers together. Unfortunately, you will have to blend the layers individually, working on two images at a time. Select one image and then place another on top of it. Then, select the layer you want to blend in the ‘Layers Tab’ on the left, right-click on it, go to ‘Blending Options’, select ‘Lighten’ from the ‘Blending Mode’ menu and voila! Just continue stacking the layers until you get the desired effect. If you are completely new to long exposure photography please read my post on Long Exposure Photography – Capturing Car Lights.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your photography.
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You can easily change the composition of your projections by shifting the centre of your panorama in the panorama preview window, while stitching it in Hugin. If you align the centre of the projection with the Nadir (the point where you were standing when shooting the panorama) you will get the classic circular ‘Little Planet’ effect. If you align the centre of your projection with the Zenith (the point right above the place where you were standing when shooting the panorama) you will get a reversed projection. Obviously, you may also shift the centre to other positions in order to achieve different results.
I’ve been walking a lot around London with my tripod lately and noticed that every time I come back from a photo escapade, my shoulder hurts from carrying the tripod. I’m currently using a Manfrotto 055XPROB and I think it’s one of the best professional tripods available on the marker. However, I also think it’s a little heavy and not too comfortable to carry around even in a padded bag. Therefore, I started looking for a smaller alternative tripod I can carry around and even pack inside my backpack when travelling or flying. Obviously, you can argue that the Carbon version of 055XPROB or 190XPROB are lighter, however, they are still too big to pack them inside a backpack and they have a pretty expensive price tag on them. After a little research, I have decided try the smallest tripod from Manfrotto family, the 7322YB.
Inspired by this image I have seen on Deviant Art recently, I have decided to experiment with this new technique which can be described as Light Painting with Zoom. The results can be seen below.
Due to the size of the sensor in DX format cameras, an 8mm fisheye lens will not produce a circular image. FX format cameras, on the other hand, have a bigger sensor and therefore will produce a fully circular image.
If you are shooting with an 8mm fisheye lens on a DX format cameras, you will always have dark corners in your picture that require adjusting in order to de-warp the image to a full frame, just as a ‘full frame fisheye’ such as 10.5mm would do. You may simply crop the image but that way you will lose a considerable amount of picture and the image will still remain distorted. Alternatively, you may use the lens correction options in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom 3, but these offer limited control over the image.
PTLense Photoshop plug-in is a simple and powerful plug-in which also works as standalone software and you will definitely find it useful when working with your fisheye images. The plugin is available to download as a trial version (both Windows and Mac) that has complete functionality, but will only process 10 images. For $25, you can also purchase the licence via PayPal, which is a pretty good deal in my opinion.