Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lamington National Park - Evening Photography From The Terrace

Being restricted to the terrace while the sun was setting behind the mountains was not to bad at all. Having all the camera gear there and good time I managed to experiment a bit.

I am always impressed by the performance of the Autostitch Panrama Tool that I link to in the "Software you can't live without .. and that is free" down to the right of this site. It is really free and it just works incredible well. Set your camera to aperture priority and choose something like f/13 for landscape, see what shutter speed the camera gives you in the center of your wanted panorama. Then set the camera to manual control and dial in f/13 and the shutter speed your camera gave you before. It might sound slightly complicated, but by locking in the same exposure for all the pictures you avoid changes in brightness across the final panorama. The program works on jpg files and handles everything itself - the only thing you have to adjust is what quality you want. Choose "Edit" and "Options" and then I prefer to use the "Scale (%)" setting at either 50 or 100% - but if there are a lot of pictures being stitched and your computer is memory weak, then 25 and even 10% will do just fine.

HDR is equally simple and just as exciting as making panoramas. At the moment I do not have a link to a free HDR software, I will see what can be done about that. Quite simply you take a set of photos of the same scene at different exposures (RAW images preferred). The software will then combine all the information of the photos and selectively let the photo with the most information in a certain region be the main contributor to that part of the final photo. In the photo above the most overexposed photo is probably the only one that was able to catch the details and greenness of the bush in the lower part, whereas only the most underexposed photo would have had the colors of the bright sky. It might all sound very complicated, but as for the panorama tool, it is super easy using the software and if you manage to hold the camera fairly still while shooting your photos, the software will take care of the rest.

No comments: