4:1 – Re-imagining the Frame

Hi Folks:

As photographers, one of the most important challenges for us it to continue to change how we see and to stretch our creativity. One of the ways to do that is to pick specific parameters and then to make a body of work that fits within those parameters. It might be to shoot only one subject, to shoot only in grayscale (B&W), to make an image every day… In the film days, most people’s relationships to photography revolved around a few aspect ratios: 2×3 (4×6), 4×5 (8×10), 5×7, etc. With some older cameras we also had 1:1 square prints, usually from 120, 127 or 620 film. With digital photography we’re not so limited, although some of the same rules apply when we get to printing. Movies (and now video) have always embraced wider frames, although there was no one standard aspect ratio. We have movies made in 1.78:1 (16×9) out to 2.4:1 (22×9) and beyond. Outside the movie theatre, for the average person 16:10/ 16:9 showed up in their lives with the first widescreen computer monitors and digital TVs.

When we updated the theme for our blog recently, our header images needed to be created at 4:1. As we covered in our recent post Cell Phones, HDR and Panoramas, in photography a panoramic image is one with a wide aspect ratio and a panorama refers to an image made from multiple, overlapping exposures. Not all panoramas are panoramic in aspect ratio. However, going through our catalogue of images looking for those that might be appropriate for header images brought me to question what might fit into that 4:1 frame. Panoramic images usually depict broad skylines, often shot with wide-angle lenses, like this:

Victoria's Inner Harbour

But looking through the images got me wondering what else might work. Maybe something closer, but still panoramic in nature, like this:

Dallas Road Shoreline

Closer still, perhaps?

Cathedral Grove Nurse Log

How close could I get and still make an image that fit the frame?

Dallas Road Shoreline

Dallas Road Storm

How about a single flower?”

Sunflower at the Gardens at HCP

Or a small patch of winter leaves?

Frost on Leaves - Butchart Gardens in February

Not every image works of course, but I’ve added another tool I can use to expand my vision. I still make panoramic images like this:

Frigon Islets, Port Alice, BC

But now I’m also likely to look at something like a hood ornament at a car show in a different light.

1929 Willys 3-Window Whippet

One never knows where it might lead! With what creative projects are you currently involved? Leave us a comment and let us know… 🙂

Okay, that’s it for now. Go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. We now have 40+ images comprising our Headers collection. They’re set to load randomly, so you’ll have to keep checking different posts/pages to see them all! 🙂

Cell Phones, HDR and Panoramas

Hi Folks:

This started out as an idea for a blog post, evolved into a one-hour presentation for our local camera group, and now I’ll try to compress that into a blog post. We’ll see how it goes.

There are several questions to begin with, the first of which is… why do this? The answer is to extend or expand the capabilities of your camera, no matter the camera. There are at least five different reasons that I know of to combine multiple exposures into one image. These are two of them. The second question is, why cell phones? This post doesn’t only involve cell phones, but cell phones are ubiquitous. Some people only make images with their phones, despite the technical challenges, but the bottom line is that it depends on how you’re planning to use your images.

Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month – Oncoming Storm

Hi Folks:

This image was made on April 7, down at Clover Point and looking back toward Victoria.  I was out for a walk that day without my camera, but the wind was really blowing and the clouds were just incredible so I made a number of images using my cell phone camera.  It was blowing so hard I had to lean against lamp posts and the like to hold the camera steady, but I think the results in this image at least were worth it.  This is a six-image panorama, stitched together in Autopano Pro and pushed around some in Lightroom.  This is the first image I’ve posted that was processed in Lightroom 5 Beta (some great new features, BTW – can hardly wait for the final product!).

Oncoming Storm

Oncoming Storm

Okay, that’s it.  Now go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. You can find more of our posts on photography and Lightroom tutorials here, and you can find links to over 200 other sites that have Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos here.

Photo of the Month – October

Hi Folks:

End of the month again, and while Hallowe’en is tomorrow, I’m not going to post pictures of zombies, ghouls, ghosts or other Hallowe’en characters.  I thought I’d mention something else entirely: serendipity.  Roughly defined as a ‘happy accident’, serendipity from a photographer’s perspective often comes about from having a camera at just the right moment, to capture something you might otherwise have missed.  Most of my photography is landscape work, and while I do go out on photographic expeditions, I usually have a camera with me wherever I go – even if it’s just the camera in my cell phone. Continue Reading →

Cell Phone Cameras

Hi Folks:

One of the gifts Mrs. Claus gave me for Christmas was a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant GT-i9000M Android-enabled cell phone.  The name is actually longer than the phone itself; I’m not sure who comes up with this stuff!  The GPS feature combined with Google Maps makes navigating the sleigh a lot simpler, but that’s another story.  The phone also has a 5MP digital camera, and that’s the topic for today’s blog post.  BTW, I checked the Apple Canada site and the iPhone 4 also has a 5MP camera, so I’m assuming they’re in the same ball park as far as comparisons go.

The reasons for this post are two-fold.  For one, up until now I’ve never really had the chance to experience making photographs with a cell phone camera.  For the second, there have been a couple of posts on Mike Johnston’s ‘The Online Photographer‘ blog recently that say that the sales of ‘point and shoot’ cameras have been steadily falling.  His suggestion is that point and shoot cameras are single-use devices while cell phones with cameras are multifunctional… so more people are simply using their cell phone cameras rather than purchasing a separate camera as well. Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month

Hi Folks:

In our last ‘He Says, She Says…‘ post I mentioned that we’re currently house sitting for a friend, and that our new (if temporary) home is only six houses away from the ocean.  Therefore, it only seemed fitting to make November’s ‘Photo of the Month’ an image of the mountains in Washington across the Juan de Fuca Strait.  I was walking by there yesterday and the light was so incredible I had to stop and make a few images.  This one is combined from 7 images using Autopano Pro, and finished in Lightroom.

Juan de Fuca Strait

I think this image turned out pretty well.  I’ll definitely be back.

Now go out and make some photographs!

Mike.

Stair-Stepping Through a Panoramic Photograph

Hi Folks:

I’ve written a couple of posts before on panoramic photography; this one is about an idea, an experiment if you like, that I tried recently.

There’s a back story for this experiment, and that is that in the downtown area here there’s a panoramic mural on the side of a building that’s approximately 60 metres/ 200 feet long.  It’s a nice work, and I wanted to make a photograph of it.  It’s on the side of a building, and that side faces a parking lot.

Now most panoramic photographs have one basic thing in common, which is that the location of the camera doesn’t change.  If one is using a camera/ lens that’s capable of shifting, then those shifts can be used to capture more image area.  Otherwise one rotates the camera to capture each image that is rendered in the panoramic software.  I talked about this more in my Photo of the Month article for March.  I mostly use Autopano Pro for my panoramas and my HDR work; it works well for me for the most part.  I’ve also used Hugin, and more recently I’ve also played a bit with Adobe Photoshop CS5. Continue Reading →

Panoramic Photography and Stitching “Errors”

Hi Folks:

In a previous post I rambled on a bit about panoramic photography – basically a system where one combines several images into one using software designed for that purpose.  One can also take several images of the same scene at different exposures and combine them into one HDR image using the same software.  Mostly I use Autopano Pro for stitching, although I’ve also used Hugin, and since I work extensively in Lightroom I’ve been playing a bit with Photoshop CS5‘s HDR Pro and panorama tools as well.  To create a stitched image the software looks for the same points in two or more images and assigns them as ‘control points’.  The combined image is then mapped around those control points.  Usually this works very well, but in my previous post I talked a bit about parallax errors and things like that, and sometimes these images don’t get mapped together perfectly.  This can create situations like this: Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month

Hi Folks:

Well, since yesterday was the last day of the month this post may be considered an ‘April Fool’s’ joke, but the only fool in this case is me.  Besides, yesterday was Wednesday and Marcia’s ‘Poetry Corner‘ post and I didn’t want to compete!  Yeah, like that’ll work.  Oh well… 😉

So.  March has been a busy month, photographically speaking.  I made close to 2000 images this month, and while there are those who will shoot that and more in a day, I come from a world of 36 and even 12-exposure rolls of film so I’m still not used to the scattergun approach when it comes to imaging.  Of those 2000 or so images, many were used as the basis for panoramas, or more specifically stitched images, since not all stitched images are panoramas, nor need be. Continue Reading →