December 1st, 2014
Ok so you have been out photographing, you've come home and downloaded the images on your card, or had your film developed. Hopefully you don't leave those images on that card! Now that you have looked at the photographs you thought were the real keepers, the ones you just couldn't wait to see, now what?
If you are like me, and I would think most people are, you pick out the ones that were exactly what you thought they would be and sent them off to the printer excitedly waiting for them to arrive. But what about the other images, you know, the ones you didn't even take the time to look at, what about them? Do you delete those files to make room for more images on your hard drive?
I know I may be bad, but I don't delete anything, I have three external hard drives that are loaded with images. Some I have never even bothered to look at, others absolutely need to be deleted, you know the ones that are out of focus, or blurry because it was low light and you were in to much of a hurry to use the tripod! Some images need to go, but others, well you never know.
Recently, I was actually working on cleaning up my hard drives, moving images from one to the other for long term storage, deleting the ones that should never see the light of day. As I was looking through the files I found some that I had totally forgotten about.
On one of our trips to Oregon, we had left Gold's Beach in Oregon and headed to California, as we were going through the Redwoods there was this little side road that turned into a dirt road as it headed down the hillside to the coast.
While we were at the coast I took several photos of all sorts of things! There were these slender emerald green trees with a little stream running through them, cliffs that dropped off from the hillside above, and these beautiful elk. Initially I had chosen a photo of an elk with the cliffs behind it, and a couple of the little trees.
Several of the elk photos were blurry from not using a tripod, I didn't want to lose the opportunity so I just held as steady as possible (in those days there was no image stabilization) and shot away, because you know how wild animals are...gone in a flash, no pun intended!
As I was looking through these files I came across the elk photos, looking at the blurry ones, shaking my head I found a couple of little gems, I guess I had held steadier than I had thought.
I guess the point is-sometimes immediate house cleaning may cost you some beautiful photographic gems. But looking through those files, sometime years later, may reveal some things you missed the first time.
So before you throw them out, set those images aside for another day, a day when you can look at them with a less jaundiced eye toward your lack of being perfect, because you just may be more perfect than you think!.
December 1st, 2014
I have never really photographed a lot of panoramic landscapes. I did a few back in the days when you had to blend and align them yourself, but until recently I never tried the automated process in programs like Photoshop. Depending on the program, however, you may get vastly different results.
I ventured into the local mountains a few days ago, set up the camera, made all of the necessary adjustments in camera and proceeded to take a series of images to blend together for one of my new panoramic images. The process went flawlessly because I had taken the time to do things right in the camera on site.
Pleased with the results I left early one morning to take more photos. Unfortunately there was not a very pretty sky so I decided to just take a panoramic of the valley where I live. I set up the camera in the same way, took all of the same precautions necessary to insure perfect exposure with enough overlap for the software to properly blend the images. When I tried to stitch them, to my dismay nothing seemed to work, it looked like several panels with varying exposures laid on top of each other, after several tries with different raw file conversions, insuring that all files received the same adjustments I gave up and started trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Had the sun played a part in the exposure differences, had I forgot to set the camera to manual what could it have been? Everything seemed to check out, but still it was a no go with the stitching process, it had to be me! I had obviously done something wrong, but what?
Determined to figure out what I had done wrong I waited for the perfect day. It was raining when I left home so I knew there would be clouds in the sky, the making of a perfect picture. Once I got to the location and set up the camera I double, make that triple checked my settings in camera, took the appropriate amount of exposures and headed home. To my dismay the exact same problem when stitching the photo occurred. Now I was really upset with myself, and started to doubt whether I really knew what I was doing in the camera settings. So, in disgust, I headed up the stairs to take a shower, I had left pretty early for that perfect location, then like a revelation from the almighty it hit me! Had I used the same program to stitch the first "good" panoramic as I was using today? The answer no!
The raw file conversion program that I use, Canon's Digital Photo Pro has the ability to send converted files directly to Photoshop, but it sends them to Photoshop CS-5. That is the program I had used to stitch the first, the perfect panoramic photograph. However on the latest images I was trying to do the same thing with Adobe's latest and greatest Photoshop Creative Cloud, I have no idea what they did with the photo merge engine in CC but, for me anyway, it is not nearly as good at what it is intended to do as the earlier engine. So before you doubt yourself doubt your software!!
November 23rd, 2014
My son and I had gone over the mountains and down to a little valley that held one of our favorite fishing location. We need to take some fishing photos for an article he was working on. This is a dry time of the year here in Utah and I was lamenting how bleak things look, the leaves are gone, the grass has turned brown, and no snow. Bleak indeed!
As we were driving home in the evening I was looking for something that I thought might make an interesting photograph. Along with the dry conditions the pines here have been heavily stricken with pine beetles and have died. As we drove by a little beaver pond I noticed a jeep parked by the side of the road, I turned my head to see who it belonged to. Doing so, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, because I wasn't paying attention in the first place to what was happening at the moment, the red reflections in the water. I asked my son to turn around and go back so I could take another look. Beautiful!!!
It was to late to get setup and get any images that night, but the next evening my son and I loaded up the gear and headed out early so we could be there in time.
Once we had arrived the conditions just didn't look right, no pink in the clouds to the east, a sure sign of a great sunset, the clouds were getting thick in the west. I was worried it would block what sunset we might get. As we talked I thought of leaving but had a nagging feeling that it might get better. I mentioned how, for the last week, we had had great color in the sky, jut nothing with a good foreground, and now that I had found a location that could work we weren't going to get any color. Still we waited. Finely we noticed some pink in the higher clouds, then the clouds to the east, finally it started to happen! What a beautiful sunset it was.
It seems mother nature always veils herself in beauty. Sometimes we just need to look for it and sometimes we get lucky even when we aren't paying attention. I learned a couple of lessons that evening, first PAY attention to what is going on around you, and second, but perhaps more important, listen to what the universe is telling you! Had we followed my desire to leave because it wasn't going to happen, and not pay attention to that little voice telling me to stay and watch, we would never have seen such beauty. And I wouldn't have been able to share it with you.
I hope this helps, now go out and make it a picture perfect day!!
T. L. Mair
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