welcome to Café Ludwig

There are many nooks and crannies in this place, this corner is for chats and tips about cameras, enhancing,  manipulating and sharing photos, aimed at folks fairly new to the hobby. From the “front door” you can get to other topic areas and especially the galleries. Do visit the other corner of Café Ludwig for more on photos and photography.

Relax and read about your favorite pastime, you do need to bring your own cup of coffee.


Model Shoot

Model Shoot – Portrait Photography


“Hi, I’m Atra, your model for this portrait photography shoot.”

Black Vulture

“You call this a studio? Some dilapidated old lumber out here in the woods?”

“Well, the lighting is ok. Open shade works well on me.”

“So what is it you want? A formal full length portrait? That is a bit old-fashioned you know. You need a whole wall to show a print well. Most folks don’t have that much space.”

Black Vulture

What are you shooting at? Aperture at f/5 to f/5.6? That’s good for portrait work. Enough depth of field for my countenance and it softens the background.”

“And your focal length? 165mm, well that’s a bit long for people, but it works for us coragyps.”

“But look at those bright spots of light coming through the trees. They are distracting.”

“No, “bokeh” is not a good excuse. Move around a bit to get a denser background.”

Black Vulture

“Alright. How about an over-the-shoulder view. That shows off the great texture in my black plumage.”

“Go ahead, come in a little closer.”

Black Vulture

“But look at the background you picked now. There is a tree right behind me.”

“That’s bad, always bad for portraiture. Didn’t they teach you that?!”

Black Vulture

“A bit better, but this background is still too busy and distracting. How about we move over to that grassy spot?”

Black Vulture

“Now your cooking! We’ll make a photographer out of you yet! Soft background for me and still some indication of the natural environment. You know, I am a wild bird!”

“ Go ahead come in closer. I won’t bite so long as you look lively. Get my good looks large for folks to appreciate.”

Black Vulture

“What do you mean I blinked? I did not! I merely used my nictitating membrane to moisten my eyes so you get a nice catch light. That is important you know. Always focus on the eyes. And be sure to get a good catch light. Makes me look alive!”


“Well, you did ok. I think we can call it a wrap. Besides I am getting hungry and I was promised a fresh, juicy road kill as payment for this gig.”



GNPA-logoFernbankScienceCenter-logoThe above portrait of this good looking coragyps atratus, black vulture, was accepted for the “Native Animals of the Southwest” Exhibit at the Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia, April 18 through July 10, 2015.



© 2015 Ludwig Keck


On the Hunt

Photographers are a crazy bunch. They are dedicated, opinionated, persistent, enthusiastic, and always looking for things and places to photograph. They can make captivating images of mundane trash and find new ways to show thrilling sights. They drag their gear into difficult places, at odd hours, and take unreasonable risks to get their shot. They turn their cameras on most anything, why, even on each other!

Here then, my pictorial ode to my fellow photographers. You may smile and chuckle and wonder what they captured. Why do they do all that? The last photo in this collection should answer that question.

So why do we stick to our hobby? It’s fun!


© 2015 Ludwig Keck

ICE-2 Distortion and Correction

This is my second look at ICE 2.o, the Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor version 2.0. In this article we will take a look at distorting and correcting images and more.

ICE-2-D C-11

If you just open ICE you get mostly advertising. This front page is the only one soliciting. Microsoft Research has fallen on hard times, but at least they are still there and turning out superb tools.

The way I operate, I never get to see this opening screen, but I am getting ahead of my story. ICE-2-D C-05First some very good news. ICE 2.0 work perfectly in Windows 10, that is in the Technical Preview, but tit should work just as well in the final version. It does require a C++ Runtime Library. It tells you that and the installation is just a matter of clicking along.

Once installed, it can be called right from Photo Gallery. Yes, Photo Gallery, although now three years since the last update, works quite well in Windows 10. Not perfectly and not as smoothly as in Windows 7, but I have hope.

ICE-2-D C-07In this article I want to touch on how a composite image can be distorted, or more importantly, corrected in various ways. For perspective correction, straightening “falling” buildings, I have always preferred ICE. No ICE does not work on a single image, it requires at least two to generate a composite. It can easily be tricked by supplying it with two copies of the same image. When ICE is installed you can find it and pass images to it right from inside Photo Gallery. Click the Create tab, then More tools and it is right there.

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When ICE opens the images selected in Photo Gallery will be right there. Under Camera motion, select Rotating motion in order for ICE to provide the various projection options.

ICE-2-D C-12

The new version has a richer collection of projection tools: Cylindrical, Transverse Cylindrical, Mercator, Transverse Mercator, Spherical, Transverse Spherical, Orthographic, Fisheye, Stereographic, and Perspective.

It is real fun playing with these projection tools. For this article, with just the single image, I will just mention perspective correction. The image is manipulated by dragging it up or down, right or left, or dragging a corner to rotate it.  It is much easier to demonstrate than to explain, take a look at this short video (just a couple of minutes).

Click on the image or the link, whichever shows in your browser.



In the video you noticed that after I settled on the correction I also employed the new Auto complete option. This feature is called “content aware fill” in some other editing tools. In ICE it works to fill in the “dark” corners in a composite.

The screen shots here and the video are from ICE working in Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926. The video is shown unedited (except for the addition of titles front and back).

You can get an idea what a smooth working tool ICE is.

Here is the perspective corrected photo with some additional post processing done. Note how nicely the trees on either side were filled in. And of course, there is also a “café art” art version as well.


© 2015 Ludwig Keck

ICE-2 Auto complete

Originally posted on This 'n That:

Image Composite Editor – Auto complete

The Microsoft Image Composite Editor has been one of my favorite tools for years. Just a short while back I was lamenting its apparent demise, when, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new version was released. ICE version 2 brings many new features and the tool leaps back into the lead. In this article I will give you a look at one of the new features, “Auto complete”. Other photo editors have had this technology for some time, but I have not seen it working with such ease and quite effectively too.

Here are a couple of photos that I took years ago at Ft. Pulaski, Georgia. The photos were not taken with the idea of stitching them together, but they overlap a good bit – a requirement for ICE.



You can see that the angle of view also changed between the…

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Tags in OneDrive

Originally posted on This 'n That:

Tags are now supported in OneDrive

OneDrive extracts text from photos

For a long time photos uploaded to the former SkyDrive, what is now OneDrive, retained any tags associated with them, but they did not show and were of no use inside the online storage service. Then for a while the tags were shown but not further supported. This has changed. Tags are now prominently featured and supported in OneDrive. As the ads say, “but wait there is more”. Indeed there is an intelligent genie inside OneDrive now that looks at your photos and assigns tags and extracts text. Lest I get too far ahead of my story, let me back up and explain the new tag features in OneDrive from the beginning.

Tags are words or phrases “attached” to a photo file to tell what the photo is about. Tags help organize and find pictures. More formally, tags are…

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