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.

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Focus Stacking for Landscape Photography

Hi Folks:

We’re certainly not the first to entertain this idea, but while most people associate focus stacking with macro photography (at really high magnifications one’s depth of field (DoF) can be 0.05mm, or less) focus stacking can have value in architectural and landscape photography, even product photography as well. It’s something I’ve only recently tried so I thought I’d share some experiences.

For any image there’s one point (at most) in the frame that is in exact focus. Depth of field is the range of distances within any particular image that appear to be in focus. We’re not going to weigh you down with the details, like Circles of Confusion, Scheimpflug principle, etc. There’s more than enough information on that available on the web.

Focus stacking is a process whereby one takes a series of images with different points of focus and then uses software to choose sections of each image to create a composite image. Here’s an example:

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S.O.O.C. (straight out of camera)

Hi Folks:

This is a short (for me) and somewhat tongue-in-cheek rant because I always find it amusing when I see people post images they’ve made on the various social networking sites, along with comments that say, “No Lightroom!  No Aperture!  No Photoshop!  No iPhoto! No _____!” as if it’s a badge of honour they THEY do not stoop to post-processing their images.  I find it funny because it’s also completely false.

“The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth” ~ Richard Avedon

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2013 Photo Calendars

Hi Folks:

Update: If you’re looking for 2014 calendars, please click here.

If you’re looking for templates for Lightroom/Photoshop, please see the bottom of this post.

As I’ve done for the past two years, I created a template in MS Word that allows people who don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom or the equivalent to make their own photo calendars.  There are usually a number of people who generate templates for Lightroom/ Photoshop as well, and while I haven’t yet encountered any this year, I’ll add them to this post when I find some.  I used MS Word 2007 to make the template, but saved it as both a Word 2007 file and a Word 97-2003 compatible file. Basically it’s a series of tables, one for each month, that look something like this: Continue Reading →

The ‘Orton Effect’ in Lightroom

Hi Folks:

As with many photographers, almost from the time I started making photographs I also began playing with them.  For negatives this involved darkroom work, with slide film I would try mounting two images in the same frame, but all of this became a lot easier when I got into digital processing.

In Lightroom 2 (I think), Adobe introduced the ‘negative clarity’ slider, and while it was fun to use on its own, one day I wondered what would happen if I made a virtual copy of an image, overexposed both the original and the VC slightly (dual mounting slides in the same frame holder made the overall image darker), and applied negative clarity to one, then combined them using the LR/Enfuse plugin.  The result was this: Continue Reading →

2012 Photo Calendars

Hi Folks:

 Update: If you’re looking for 2014 calendars, please click here.

Fixed the link – December 4, 2012 – my apologies!

While there are usually several templates made every year to make photo calendars in Lightroom, (with many thanks to their respective providers, you can find one here, one here, one here, one here, a Photoshop script here, and while not a template, Matt Kloskowski has a video on using downloaded calendar images in Lightroom here (corrected the link, December 20).  NB: He begins in Photoshop, but you can do most of what he does straight in Lightroom.  I’ll add more links as I come across them)  last year I created a template in MS Word that allowed people who don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom or the equivalent to make their own photo calendars.  Thought I’d do the same again this year.  I used MS Word 2007 to make the template, but saved it as both a Word 2007 file and a Word 97-2003 compatible file.  Basically it’s a series of tables, one for each month, that look something like this: Continue Reading →

A Quick Tip: Lightroom Colour Picker

Hi Folks:

The following isn’t my idea, but something I picked up from watching a video by Matt Kloskowski over at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips.  The only difference is that he was working in Photoshop, and I thought it must be transferable to Lightroom; so it is.

The colour picker tool in Lightroom’s Develop module is used mostly with Split-toning, although it’s also available with the Gradient tool and the Brush tool.  As can be seen in the image below, one can either use the sliders to set the hue and saturation levels for the Highlights and Shadows, or, by clicking on the colour box, one can bring out the colour picker tool. Continue Reading →

Why Use HDR?

Hi Folks:

I was at an informal gathering of photographers recently where we were sharing and discussing our work.  I displayed a sunset image that I had made (this one)

Seeing the Light

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2011 Photo Calendars

Hi Folks:

Update: If you’re looking for 2014 calendars, please click here.

As one year closes and another begins, a popular present this time of year is a calendar for the coming year.  One of the things on my ‘to do’ list this year was to create a set of background calendar templates that I could use with Lightroom to create a 2011 calendar.  Before I could get to them, however, John Murray was kind enough to create a set of .png files of his own and to make them available for download: 2011 calendar templates.  Thanks, John!  On his website, John suggests using the .png files with Lightroom’s ‘watermark’ feature in the Print module; I’ve always used them as a graphical identity plate, but either way works.

That done, I got to thinking about people who don’t have (gasp!) Lightroom or Photoshop or another equivalent software package, and that got me thinking about Microsoft Word.  I started with a letter-sized (8½” x 11″) page and set the margins to ½”, then created a table with 10 rows and 8 columns and added in the dates, like this (the outlines are there only to show the borders in this example):

Word table Continue Reading →

Should I Get Lightroom or Photoshop or…?

Hi Folks:

One question I see a lot on Twitter is, “Should I get Lightroom or Photoshop?”  It seems to me that people who ask that question aren’t familiar with the limits, features or capabilities of either program so I thought I’d do a quick post on that.  Now, there are entire libraries of books, tutorials and instructional videos available on using these programs, so this blog post couldn’t hope to compete with them.  This post is not intended to be a series of instructions on how to use these programs, but an introduction to a few of the ways in which they differ and how they can be used together. Continue Reading →