Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Something changed in the last year. My first thought is that I stopped shooting panoramas. That is not quite true, but it feels that way. I really like shooting panos but not every subject lends itself to this interpretation. I have shot a few panos this year; some worked out while others did not. I have decided that I miss doing panos and need to find a way to do more of them. One of the issues is that I am shooting a lot of HDR (High Dynamic Range) this year. Shooting panos in HDR and assembling the resulting photograph is more complex than shooting straight panos and I have had to overcome some technical issues.

Last weekend I was shooting old cars with friends Tony, Alan, Greg and Ed. Tony was showing us a pano on his iPhone he had shot the previous day. Besides being a really cool shot, I noticed it was in HDR. A few technical questions later and I decided I have give HDR another try.

The Blog photo above was shot about this time last year. It is the interior of an old dairy barn. The shot consists of 12 vertical shots, with 9 exposures for each vertical shot. I shot the scene with a 28mm f2.8 lens. While shot and processed in color, I think the black and white treatment is a better fit. I also use a Really Right Stuff Nodal Plate and Pano Clamp when shooting panos. I know there is some debate about the need for a nodal plate these days. While CS3 and other software packages have become very good at stitching panos, I have found that using a nodal plate gives me consistent results and is worth the time and trouble.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter Wonder Land

Last Saturday started out cold, zero degrees to be exact.

Friends Greg Daily, Joyce Harmon, and I hiked White Oak Canyon in Shenandoah National Park. We were in search of ice. Considering that it has been below freezing for the better part of a week, it looked a little doubtful at the start. The creek next to the parking lot showed no sign of freezing, but as we started up the mountain the amount of ice increased with every few feet of elevation. By the time we reached the lower falls the water was about 90 percent frozen and a sight to see. We also lucked out because the cloud cover arrived when we hit the lower falls. We had nice diffused light for the rest of the day.

We worked the lower falls and then slowly started down the mountain. We spent about 5 hours in the great freezing outdoors.

Hopefully the lower temperatures will continue so I can get out and shoot ice again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

First Photo of 2009

My friend Greg and I were out doing some scouting near Charles Town, WV on January 1st. Most of the spots did not pan out and we headed for this location in late afternoon. I have previously shot at what I call “Kabletown Ruins” and figured it was worth a revisit since the other locations were not working out.

We drove home along a section of the Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry and noticed that the edges of the river bank were starting to freeze. Unfortunately, warmer temperatures this past weekend and some pressing personal issues prevented a revisit.