Thursday, August 26, 2010

Icelandic Panoramas

I feel like I have been off the Blog for weeks. I have been busy working, shooting, and also editing pictures from Iceland. I hope to have a gallery up sometime soon. In the meantime, I wanted to post the above panorama and tell a little of the technical story behind the shot. For starters the stitched shot is 123 megapixels. The original tiff file is almost 800 megabytes. A couple years ago I purchased a used 28mm Perspective Control Lens. This is a manual lens, no auto anything. Nikon does not make this lens anymore and I was lucky enough to get a good deal on a used one. For shooting panoramas, a few things during the capture will lead to better results during stitching. I used a Pano Head and Nodal Plate from Really Right Stuff. I know some of the software programs are really good at stitching, but using this setup is worth the time and effort. The 28 PC lens allows you to adjust your perspective either up or down without moving the camera. If you level your camera when shooting panoramas you will often have a level horizon right through the middle of your shot. By adjusting the vertical perspective of the lens you have more latitude to compose your shot.

In the shot above I added another step. I adjusted the perspective down so I could see the bottom of the canyon, no sky was visible. I took the shot and then rotated the barrel of the lens 180 degrees and then took a shot that was mostly sky; moved the pano head about 15 degrees and repeated the process until I had covered the canyon end to end. This was my first attempt to create a double layer panorama. Usually I shoot my panos with the camera mounted vertically and then combine 8 or 9 shots to create the pano. In the scene above I was not able to capture the vertical range I was looking for without this technique.

The picture was taken on our second day in the field. We were traveling through an area known as the highlands in the southern part of the island. The picture below was taken a couple hours after the shot above. The terrain seemed to change around every corner. It was a magnificent day!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Icelandic Horses

Truthfully I have never gotten that excited about horses, that is until now. During my trip to Iceland I was able to photograph these magnificent animals several times. In doing so I wondered why the attraction. I suspect it comes down to two things, their long manes often cover their eyes and when they run they seem to hold their heads with pride. In the photo above, we had just pulled into a camping area for lunch and someone noticed a herd of horses running by. I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I had no time to consider shutter speed or any other camera settings. It turned out that their faces were a bit on the soft side, so Tony suggested I apply a texture layer for a different type of effect. I think the resulting image works quite well.

I’m still going through the ton of images from Iceland I hope to have a gallery up in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Industrial Iceland

I just returned home from an incredible trip to Iceland with Tony Sweet and Focus on Nature. It is going to take some time to process all the images and get a detailed blog posting up in regard to the trip. Suffice to say that the trip exceeded my wildest expectations! This was shot on our first day in the field. We had just finished shooting the water behind the Blue Lagoon Spa and there were red pipes everywhere. I learned one rule a long time ago, if it’s red, shoot it!

Click here for a small image gallery.