Photo experiment – day 16 of 31

Where are the tourists?
At this time of year, Lafayette Square is loaded with tourists, but none are in this image:

The solution is to take multiple photos, each with the tourists in slightly different places, then combine them in Photoshop. Photoshop offers an automated way to do this – using “image stack”, designed for scientific purposes but working well to combine photos based on several different algorithms.
I got pretty close to the no-tourist result this way, with a few ghost areas left behind. So I refined the results manually – stacking the photos and masking out certain areas from each layer.
What would have been better for next time:

1. take more photos – I only took 6 images, and while there weren’t people standing in the same spot in each image, there were a couple of spots where one person would be there in one image and another person in the other images.
2. use a tripod. I took these shots by sitting my camera on a bench and using a cable release, but even so, when I used Photoshop to auto-align the images, it was clear that there had been camera movement between the images.

Photo experiment – day 15 of 31

Today’s experiment is a panorama. I took 10 shots of the World War II Memorial, overlapping each one. As to how much overlap, it varied since the shots were handheld and composed by trying to stay still except to move my direction by moving my feet. I took them in vertical format so that there would be a lot of the scene left even if the merging had ragged borders top and bottom.
The process of creating the panorama in Photoshop CS6 was really easy (an automated photomerge command) but it took my computer quite a while to churn through it, even with 8GB RAM.

Photo experiment – day 12 of 31

Today’s experiment is trying a black and white HDR – I’ve tried a number of HDR’s in color, but this is the first time I have tried black and white.

I used HDR Efex Pro. I didn’t like any of the monochrome presets. At first, I had trouble figuring out how to make the adjustments that resulted in pleasing effects. But then when I concentrated on getting a good distribution of tones by looking at the histogram, it was easy to adjust the remaining factors.

Photo experiment – day 11 of 31

Today’s experiment is tilt-shift – applying the tilt-shift effect in Photoshop CS6 to a photo. The photo was one I took in 2005 in Central Park of The Gates – it was taken on slide film, and then I scanned the slide to convert it to digital, so the image is not of the highest quality.

The tilt shift technique is interesting, but would benefit from a lot of pre-planning in taking a shot that would make sense when viewed from a tilt-shift perspective. The above image is okay, I think, but not perfect from this perspective.

Photo experiment – day 10 of 31

Today’s experiment is using 2 cameras to take one photo. I’ve read about this technique using a twin-lens reflex and taking a photo of its viewfinder, producing an interesting vintage look. But since I don’t have a twin-lens reflex, this shot is simply an Iphone photo of my DSLR’s viewfinder. Might be an interesting technique for producing some dream-like photos.

Photo experiment – day 9 of 31

Today’s experiment is not exactly photography – this image is produced by scanning.

What I learned:

  • getting all the dust off the scanner is critical, and frustrating
  • composing isn’t easy, since you see the composition from the back side
  • I couldn’t get one of those super-high-res scans due to my scanner’s limits – so this was at 600ppx (while my scanner goes up to 2400ppx, it won’t handle the resulting scan size – so the 2400ppx scans are only possible if you are scanning something that is just an inch or two across).

Definitely something to try again – probably with multiple scans so that the layering and composition can be more sophisticated.

Photo experiment – day 8 of 31

Today I tried a fisheye lens – so it didn’t take much effort (although I did find out that one can create a lot of boring images with a fisheye before finding some subject matter that works). I don’t have a fisheye lens for my DSLR, so this is using the olloclip fisheye on the Iphone.

It does create an interesting illusion – this photo is exactly the same width and height, but that is not how it looks.

Photo experiment – day 7 of 31

Today’s experiment is focus stacking.

I took 12 images of this flower, with a 60mm macro lens about 15 inches away.  With the lens set on manual focus, I moved the focus of the lens slightly between each photo.  Then I stacked the photos in Photoshop, and used the auto-blend layer stack option.

The result is pretty good.  What could make the result better:

  • more patience on my part
  • an automated way of changing the manual focus – there is equipment for this.  I just tried to manually turn the lens a small amount between each photo
  • a steady tripod – mine is the $20 tripod version, so is not rock-solid within and between shots
  • probably a different scene or getting closer to benefit the full use of the macro lens would be a more interesting shot
  • Photoshop’s autoblend action creates a different layer mask for each layer in the focus stack, so it would be possible to adjust any of these masks to refine the results.  I kind of liked the way the automation created sharp focus in the gray background at the bottom, but not at the top, so I left that alone.