Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

dog fetch

dog fetch (Photo credit: mallix)

What a day today was. Starting before dawn walking the dogs, my head felt like someone was driving a nail through my forehead. No, this was no leftover from drinking too much or staying up playing computer games, this was real and out of nowhere. Not long into dealing with the dogs, nausea showed up to say hello. Surely, this was a real reason to return to bed.

Gave in. Did. Hours later.

It was time to be up, after all the puppy dog chewed up a couple of my daughter’s toys. Hello day. Headache still around, let’s see what can be done with it anyway. On-line to check auctions (not real ones, those in World of Warcraft). Ok, run an instance. Ok, now what. Exercise!

Exercise tried and not feeling any better, what now? The typical Sunday morning routine. Check tweets and trim old ones. Generate new ads being sure to take advantage of Michael Force’s funnel. Done and saved. A few more tweets. Ideas for blog postings go in and out. Nuts. Clean up. Lunch. Dressed.

Video Editing

Wait, I shot videos yesterday. Find the D7000 and get the vids off of the cards. This camera also has a battery recall, time to check the Nikon website. My are not included. Load videos into iMovie. This will take some time, off to other chores.

Was able to spend an hour editing some videos. One is a demonstration of the D7000 panning and zooming, for the photography followers out there. The other is a new take on a concept with marketing. Marketing is more than just advertising, it is about establishing relationships. The woods behind my parent’s house had noises of the chirping birds, cars going by on I-74 and the occasional wind. It was a good metaphor to stop and listen. Listen to your customers, feel their pain, know their desires. Connect here and they will know your product. The video is a connection with listening.

Wrapping Up

What an amazing day. It was filled with illness, headache, tiredness, cleaning, shouting, tears, anger, heartache, forgiveness, love, tenderness and redemption. Like any day. Unlike everyday. And it totally rocked!

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Some tips are placed here in a second post for the day due to not wanting them to be post in other posts. A few are mentioned in the video and others are sprinkled about.

Aperture Priority mode:

When bracketing around a base shot, whether auto or manual, it is best to get DOF as similar as possible. One good way to ensure this is to place the camera in the mode where the aperture has priority over other settings. Changing depth of field will give unreliable results when the images are put together in layers.

Focus – manual:

Using auto-focus to set the focus is fine, but once obtained, switch the camera (and the lens if required) to manual. Be sure not accidentally dump the focus ring.

Use a tripod:

Having a stable camera is very important. Some of the software is good at realigning, but the more you are able to keep various images framed the same, the more data is available for the image edge-to-edge.

Think ahead:

Look at your subject and think ahead to the end result. Doing so will help determine how many shots to get and what the EV gap should be. In general, the fewer images to be used in the result, the greater the EV will need to be. Too great though and information may be too spread.

Know your equipment:

Not only know your camera, also know the software you will use to great your HDR image. Know its limitations and strengths. Start with the latter and push to the former.

Have fun:

Throw out all the rules and do what you want. Have fun and experiment. Try staggered EV steps with gaps. Try -2 EV, 0 and +1. Explore the bounds and then cross over them with reckless abandon. Chart your own course; follow your own methods.

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Creating a walk-through slash how-to over using a Nikon D7000 to create HDR images is really lame using text only. So, with the help of my daughter, I’ve created a video. Being on vacation, I did have to use demo version of Photomatix inside of Aperture. The results are alright for the purpose it serves.

Once posted, I did see a video about creating an HDR image inside of the camera. I’m still testing settings on my D7000 as the demonstration video was for a D3. It seems interesting, but there can be absolutely no movement between shots; neither subject nor camera. The D7000 is also limited to 3 shots, so EV settings will need to be wide. More later.

Now to my video. Enjoy and comment. Let me know what you think and what other videos you would like to see.

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In continuing the discussion about HDRI, attention is turned toward the two dark images that were chosen for the final product. Remember, these articles are not being written from well documented notes, but from the files in the auto-generated file name from PhotoMatix.

The base photo is heavily shifted to highlights, so more details need to be picked for the shadows. The outer two photos in the next two levels of bracketing (±1⅓ and ±2) provide this. The details for these photos are given. Remember, the base photo had EV at -⅓ due to overexposure tendencies of the camera and lens.

DSC_0034f/22, 1/4 sec, 48mm, EV -1⅔

DSC_0037f/22, 1/6 sec, 48mm, EV -2⅓

The next step will involve using the software to put it all together. Tone mapping is best started at a low end and moved toward more saturated.

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Rather than continue the discussion of HDRI being given many technical details and concepts, a walk-through seemed a better way. Featured is the path to the sample image in the first post.

The first step is creating an HDR image deciding how the end will look. What is the target? Colors or details? Depth of field? The end will determine the start. The first image to capture will be the middle. It will drive the rest. It will determine how much of shots must vary and which ones will be used in the final composition.

The subject in this image was slow water with the forest. Tree movement was a bit of a concern, but that day had very little wind. Due to the need of slow water, the 0 image had the following exposure settings: f/22, 5/8 sec, 48mm. Due to the nature of the Nikon D80 to slightly overexpose and the Tamron AF 28-80mm lens to do the same, the EV was set to -⅓ from the start. Camera was in Aperture Priority mode with automatic white balance.

The resulting image wasn’t too bad.

DSC_0032f/22, 5/8 sec, 48mm, EV -⅓

The water is well highlighted, but the shadows are missing any detail. The slight overexposed nature may also mean additional highlighting images are not necessary. The ±⅔ photos follow.

DSC_0031f/22, 1/3 sec, 48mm, EV -1

DSC_0033f/22, 1 sec, 48mm, EV ⅓

In part 2, the we’ll review the remaining chosen images.

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HDR what?

High dynamic range imaging. It’s all the rage these days. Typical digit photos capture more information than can be displayed on the limited color scope of 32bit screens. The exposure settings also further limit the range a photograph contains. It is not possible for the camera to capture high level of details in the shadows and the light simultaneously.

Enter High Dynamic Range Imaging.

The concept is quite simple. Take several photos of the same subject at different exposures, bracketing above and below the balanced shot, combine them in layers using a computer and then either balance them for tone or detail. The mapping, especially of tone, is a subjective matter, but the aimed result is to have an image that show details in the shadows and the highlights.

Searching the web for these images brings an interesting array of artistic visions. Some choose to so blowout colors that the pictures look really fake and old. A more subtle approach brings something closer to what the eye might see, only better.

But what about IBL?

Confusing the matter is computer 3D rendering and the concept of Image Based Lighting. This concept uses an image to simulate lighting for a scene. The image is typically an HDR image and the uninitiated tend to think of HDR or HDRI as the lighting concept. It isn’t. HDRI is just a tool used for IBL.

Ok, back to the photography stream.

Though there is no requirement on the number of photos to use to layer, the best results lend themselves from 5 images taken at ⅔ EV steps, the middle image being the effective 0 EV. This is not as subjective a statement as it may seem. In most photographic situations, having images at ±⅔ intervals gives the algorithms their best information for extrapolation. Intervals smaller can lead to too much being picked up in one area. Intervals larger leave too much of a gap.

Over the next several posts, I’ll cover how to create HDR images, making full use of the auto-bracketing features found on most DSLR cameras. I’ll also cover gotchas such as subject movement and depth of field changes. Buckle in and hand on, it will be a fun ride.


Clifton Gorge, Yellow Springs, Ohio – 26 May 2008

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