Making Panoramas in the Rainforest (part one)

Hi Folks:

I’ve been making digital panoramas for a lot of years now, and I’ve written at least a half-dozen different posts on different aspects of them. This one is for a specific case scenario rather than a general post on panoramas, but before we get too far, we need to cover a few basics:

First, understand that digital cameras don’t capture images. Digital cameras read light and render it as information; that information can be displayed in a way that makes it look like a photograph. All digital cameras capture raw files; not all digital cameras give you access to them. Now, raw files require digital post-processing on a computer (as compared to .jpg files, which are post-processed using an algorithm provided by the camera manufacturer and the processing power of the camera). The other side of that comparison is that raw files provide much more information to play with than .jpg files. This is especially important when shooting in the rainforest, as we’ll get to below.

Second, to do this with any degree of efficiency it’s important to understand at least the basics of colour management as it relates to cameras and computers. Remember: it’s less about accurate colour and more about consistent colour between devices.

So that we’re all on the same page, it’s important to understand the difference between a panoramic image and a digital panorama. Compare these two images:
(click on any image to see it larger)

a 1x4 aspect ratio image of the shoreline near Dallas Road in Victoria, BC. This is a grayscale image, with a winter storm bringing in waves from the left of the frame, and colliding with the rocks, driftwood and beach on the right.

Dallas Road shoreline, Victoria, BC

a digital panorama of sixty images, showing the north cliff face of Third Beach, near Tofino, BC. The ocean is on the left, and there's a small beach and some rocks in the foreground

Third Beach, Tofino, BC

Continue Reading →

2024 Photo Calendars (part two)

Hi Folks:

This is just a quick update to our previous calendar post as we’ve gone through the (5000+) images we’ve made this year and picked out 12 for our calendar. As usual, some of the images were made with our cell phones and some were made with the Sony a7rIII camera. Half of the images were made by Marcia and half by Mike, but none of that really matters. All of this year’s images were made in and around Victoria, BC except for October’s, which was made in Tofino, BC.

Combined, our calendar looks like the image below. If you’d like to download a copy for yourself, click the image to link to a .pdf version.
A composite image showing all 12 of our calendar pages for 2024. Each calendar occupies on letter-sized page, with the image at the top and the calendar portion at the bottom. —–
This is the fourteenth year that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but (as we did last year) we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2024 was made in May 2023). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →

2024 Photo Calendars (part one)

Hi Folks:

This is the fourteenth year that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but (as we did last year) we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2024 was made in May 2023). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →

Low Light, High Noise and ISO Invariance

Hi Folks:

It was a dark and stormy night. I’ve always wanted to write that… haven’t you? Okay, in this case it wasn’t night (mid-to-late afternoon) and it was sunny rather than stormy, but it was dark. Marcia and I were on a trip to Tofino, BC and I was wandering along the boardwalk of the Rainforest Trail in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The elder trees soaring above me blocked out much of the daylight, but they were the reason I was there.

Before we get too far, a few basics to get out of the way. First, I was shooting with a Sony a7Riii camera with the FE 24-105 lens, set to 1/125th second and f/6.3. ISO was set to 5000, but we’ll get to that later. I didn’t bring a tripod that day, but I did have my camera sitting on a Manfrotto monopod. Second, I have no idea what you see when you look at these images. This is partly because I don’t know if your monitor has been calibrated and profiled, and partly because I don’t know if you’re using a web browser that allows colour management and/or if you’ve enabled that. In the end none of that really matters because this is essentially an apples to apples comparison. I should note that this post isn’t targeted toward beginner photographers, but if you read something you don’t understand, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or fill in our Contact Form. The only stupid question is the unasked one.

There are three software packages in this game: Capture One 23 (16.1) is my raw editor. PTGui 12.20 is software for stitching panoramas, and Topaz DeNoise AI 3.7.2 is noise reduction software. AI is a term used ubiquitously these days, but the only intelligence involved here is still with the programmers. AI software uses very large databases of information and certain algorithms to make what one might call educated guesses as to what the user wants. Also, when processing in any of these packages there are what are known as auto adjustments (I’ll refer to them here as AA) and there are also sliders whereby one can tweak the suggested settings. With the exception of the final image, I stuck to AA in order to keep the processing as equivalent as possible.

Continue Reading →

2023 Photo Calendars (part two)

Hi Folks:

This is just a quick update to our previous calendar post as we’ve gone through the (5000+) images we’ve made this year and picked out 12 for our calendar. As usual, some of the images were made with our cell phones and some were made with the Sony a7rIII camera. Half of the images were made by Marcia and half by Mike, but none of that really matters. All of this year’s images were made in and around Victoria, BC except for October’s, which was made in Tofino, BC.

Combined, our calendar looks like the image below. If you’d like to download a copy for yourself, click the image to link to a .pdf version.

—–
This is the thirteenth year that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but (as we did last year) we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2023 was made in May 2022). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →

2023 Photo Calendars (part one)

Hi Folks:

This is the thirteenth year that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but (as we did last year) we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2023 was made in May 2022). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →

Capture One, Dehaze and Adding Definition to Landscape Images

Hi Folks:

It’s hard to believe I started this post last year… Eek!!

First of all, what follows isn’t originally my idea. I came across it in two videos, here. The first one explains more of the concept and the second one delves more into the practical application. I recommend watching both of them, either now or at your leisure. I can wait…

Enhancing Portraits with Dehaze in Capture One

Okay, what is my idea is taking this concept and applying it to landscape photography. In the end computers don’t really know, or care, what your subject matter is. A pixel is a pixel.

Continue Reading →

2022 Photo Calendars (part two)

Update!!

Hi Folks:

This is the twelfth year now that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but this year we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2022 was made in May 2021). Part one of this post featured the templates for those who want to make their own photo calendars; this update includes our version of the calendar, which can be downloaded as a .pdf (see below) Continue Reading →

2022 Photo Calendars (part one)

Hi Folks:

This is the twelfth year now that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but this year we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2022 was made in May 2021). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →