Instead of the freeways we took the byways one recent afternoon. Route US78 east of Athens, Georgia, took us through rural areas, small towns, as well as Athens itself. Photographing from the back seat is quite a challenge. The countryside rushes by allowing just a few seconds to recognize an interesting scene. Signs, berms, fences, trees and power poles are constantly in the way. Then there are the wires, lots and lots of wires always hanging into the view.
My approach to photography is not to shoot rapid-fire sequences. I prefer to find the “decisive moment” when taking the picture, not afterward selecting it from reams of exposures. Shooting from a moving car makes that more the “frantic moment”, but I had fun.
This “style” is not for the contemplative artist. The technical aspects are a bit different. I used an aperture of f/8 throughout. My shutter speed was mostly at 1/500 second with a few at 1/250 second. I let the camera set the ISO for automatic exposure. Exposure was often unduly affected by the bright sky and I had to “dig out” some of my images from the deep shadows.
There was, of course, no way to compose a photo. I did not use the viewfinder. I used a wide angle setting, mostly 24mm on my full-frame camera, pointing the camera at my subject, panning with it as we drove by. Hoping that I didn’t rotate the camera too much and got my shot before some foreground object interferred. That also caused close buildings to “fall over” due the low viewpoint from the car window necessitating pointing the camera upwards. Perspective correction to the rescue. I like using “ICE”, Image Composite Editor, as it allows so many different was to reshape the view.
Here is a collection of my photos. They may not be masterpieces of landscape and cityscape photography, but they are fun mementos and unusual views from along our byways.
This post is shared on two of my blogs so I can reach more of my fans, maybe both of them!
© 2019 Ludwig Keck
Photographing Concerts and their Audiences
For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed showing the audience when photographing concerts. Invariably there is no way to step back far enough to capture the expansive crowd. Nor do I have a wide angle lens that can take it all in. My solution has been to make a panoramic image by stitching together overlapping views. Like this:
Sadly I can no longer link to a viewer that shows panos well, but with luck your browser will do a reasonable job.
The image here was stitched from eight separate exposures. Here are four of them.
Take a closer look at these four. You can see that stitching them faces some interesting obstacles. Yes, The photos show lots of noise. These photos were taken in the evening, night might be a better word. All at f/5.6 and 1/250s with the camera allowed to adjust the sensitivity (auto-ISO). My old camera doesn’t do so well at ISO 5000 to 25600. On the left end the light evening sky tricked the camera into underexposing the people and I had to boost the shadows – always bad for noise. On the right end the camera reached ISO 25600 and all the noise that comes with that. I do use some noise removal app for these, but that is another story.
In the minute or so that it took to get this set people moved around quite a bit. Some people even walked along in front. That is one huge problem for stitching. Another is more subtle. Look at the lamp post. In one image it is quite bent, straight in the last. That tells you my lens produces a good about of barrel distortion. These problems, and even exposure nonuniformities are easily solved my my stitching program, Microsoft Image Composite Editor, ICE.
On the bottom it says: Camera motion: rotating motion. Stitched 8 of 8 images. Spans 169.3° horizontally, 48.7° vertically. You can see how the program ballooned the images to correct for distortion, moved them up and down for best alignment and found were to cut from one to the next. Oh, there are stitching artifacts. In a crowd with everybody moving not even the best AI, for that matter nt even old-fashioned human intelligence, could get it perfect. ICE offers a number of different projections as you can see. For this I stayed with the default cylindrical projection.
The four steps at the top describe the major functions, Import, Stitch, Crop, and Export. In the cropping function it even offers to fill the areas around the edges with “context matching fill”. I did not make use of that for this pano.
The final step is to export. Sadly the Deep Zoom and Photosynth options are no longer of use. Time has marched on and Microsoft has given up on those tools. Even ICE is pretty much orphaned, although still available for download from Microsoft. I chose to export a full quality (100%) JPG image. You can see that it is 18098 pixels wide. That makes for a 98.78 megapixel image. I did go back and trimmed top and bottom, see first image above. The file size still came out as 99.6 MB. Yes, I did scale it down for this post.
Here is another pano. This one is made up of just two images. I am using this as the “featured image” so WordPress does not have to choke on the wide panorama.
Now for some other photos from this first Concert on the Green at the Peachtree Corners Town Center with the band Sister Hazel. The lead singer is Ken Block
© 2019 Ludwig Keck
Happy New Year!
© 2019 Ludwig Keck
Using Microsoft Office for Photoodling
The photo tools in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in Microsoft Office offer some wonderful ways of
wasting time honing creativity. In this article we take a look at selecting parts of images, and layering of images.
Here is a really fast and easy photoodle. A photo of a hibiscus blossom. It is an ok photo as is, but we’ll make it into a quick work of art.
When I plan to work up areas of the same image differently, as we will do here, I insert the “picture”, click on it, press Ctrl-C then Ctrl-V and I have copied and pasted a copy of it. When an image is selected, click the Picture Tools tab to show the ribbon with all the options.
My “base image” is blurred with the Artistic Effect “Glass“, and then darkened with the Corrections tool as you can see in the illustration here.
On to the copy of the image to demonstrate Background Removal.
As soon as you click on Remove Background the app attempts to follow the instruction. For many photos that works amazingly well, as it does here. The color overlay shows what will be removed. Here it missed just a couple areas on either side of the blossom.
Use the Mark Areas to Remove tool to indicate what is to be removed. Just a little line inside the area will do. The app looks for borders and removes the marked shade with a fairly wide tolerance. Here it took just two short swipes. Click Keep Changes and the job is done.
On some photos the background remover tool has to be directed a bit more. Here is another photo, this one rather busy. Again I duplicated the image. The second one, the one where I do my selection, will need to be mover over the first one. To allow that the icon nect to the picture is used to select the “Over Text” option as shown in the illustration here.
You can see it missed badly on this photo. There are a number of areas to keep and others to remove. With the Mark Areas to Keep and Mark Areas to Remove tools the job this accomplished in short order. As soon as you mark an area the selection is made. Keep using the tools until the desired part of the photo is selected. The parts under the color will be turned white.
Now back to the first-inserted images that will serve as the new backgrounds. For the hibiscus I selected the Glass effect as I explained above. For the old-man dancer I used Line Drawing as shown here.
Now all that is left is to drag the selected images over their backgrounds. That is straightforward. When the images align you even get the final proper positioning done and it is shown with indicator lines.
The final works of art have to be preserved with screen captures. Sorry there is no way to export the stacked pictures as an image.
Here are my masterpieces.
A bit of cropping and reprocessing into a larger image and we get this. How? That another story.
© 2018 Ludwig Keck
Photoodling in Office
Doodling in the office is not an uncommon way to idle away a few minutes. However, “Photoodling in Office” is a totally different matter. In earlier posts I explained the derivation of the term “photoodle” as stemming from “photography” and “doodling”, playful, unplanned and undirected manipulating of photos. Mostly this happens with the digital images from earlier camera work. Continue reading