Crowd Panos

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:

Evening Concert – PC Town Center  —  CLICK picture – with luck your browser will show it bigger

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.

Evening Concert – PC Town Center

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

Formal Portrait

Formal full-length portrait photography

A some-what fictitious approach to a photo shoot.

OK, GB, I am just about ready with the camera here. Are you ready on the set?

“Yes, I’m standing on the marked spot. Which is more photogenic, my left side or my right?”

Your right side works better, GB. That way you are looking away from the rocks behind you. That gives you visually open “breathing space”. However, your front looks a little frumpy and rumpled. May I suggest you turn your whole body about 90 degrees so we see your right side and your head in profile.

“How is this?”

Great angle. You are leaning a bit too much to the front. Makes you look like you are about to flee the set. Can you stand a bit more upright?

“Well, flight was on my mind, ha ha. This better?”

Much better. I like when you reach up higher, your neckline is more elegant. But now your feet are too far apart. That makes you look heavy. Can you put your weight more on one leg and move the other a bit forward. Either one, as you please.

“Hey, I am the talent and it is I who is supposed to be fussy. Are all photographers so bossy?”

Well, the good photographers make sure their subjects look their best. Now your right leg is just a bit too casual. Can you pull it back a bit?

“Picky, picky. Next you’ll complain about the light. All right, this better?”

Great Blue Heron, Pinckneyville Park, Berkeley Lake, Georgia

Oh, you look great now! We’ll call it a wrap. Thank you for your time.

.:.

© 2017 Ludwig Keck

The Unplanned Pano

Panoramas are fun, even unplanned ones

This old, long “retired”, gasoline station intrigued me. We were driving along in the rural part of Georgia, up in the northern part, when we came upon this sight. We stopped and I took a number of photos. Only when I was doing my post-processing back home did I realize that I had not taken a overall photo that showed the whole place.

Well, that what the “Create” tab in Photo Gallery is for. The first photo showed the building nicely, the third one included the fuel island, there were a number of other views as I walked around the place, and by the tenth photo I had gotten back close to the starting point and showed the pumps, including the ancient one.

Here are the two shots that together cover the whole place.

You can clearly see that I had not taken these photos from the same spot. Making a pano from these would be asking a great deal from Photo Gallery. And indeed it was asking too much. Here is what it could do. Amazing as it is, but the top left of the marque sign just didn’t match.

Old Gas Station - Pano

Old Gas Station – Pano

So on to the nest better tool, in fact the best there is, Microsoft Image Composite Editor. It too had problems, I tried the different planar motion settings and rotating motion. There were still disturbing stitching artifacts. So I did some perspective correction on each image and tried again. That was better.

Old Gas Station - ICE pano

Old Gas Station – ICE pano

A fairly good stitch but the building was way too distorted. Some more fiddling and this was more acceptable. There is a bend in the fuel island base, but I thinks it is not too bad.

Old Gas Station

Old Gas Station

Now with some cropping we have a pretty good photo of the whole place. It still amazes me what Image Composite Editor can do, even with images that clearly were not taken with stitching in mind.

Old Gas Station

Old Gas Station

 

Also see my post at Two Cameras – Two ViewsArtifacts: Fuel Pump


.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck

Monday Window – 1

Looking at and looking in

Jealousy – that’s the reason for this post. All the “likes” are going over to 2C2V. So I decided to chime in and do some Monday Window fun here. But, but, up in the header it says “chats and tips about photography”. This is a chat — not enough?  OK, I’ll think of some tip. Let me look through my archives and notes.

Ah ha, here it is. Some photos I took for a photography course. Take a look at this photo:

LJK_8715-XW1-1024

You can see the windows reflect the sky beautifully. When light is reflected on a smooth surface like glass or water, especially at shallow angles like here, the reflected light is strongly polarized. No, I won’t go into the physics. With strong reflections our photographs loot at the window, and not in the window. That can make for wonderful images, but what if you want to look in?

This is where the polarizing filter comes in. You rotate the filter so the polarized light is either strongly passed through or strongly suppressed. In fact the photo above was made with a polarizing filter on the lens. It was set to maximize the reflection. No turn it ninety degrees and here is the result:

LJK_8714-XW1-1024

Now much of the reflected light is stopped an we can look into the windows. You can see that it makes quite a difference, but it is not perfect.

What if you don’t have a polarizing filter? I did use the word “angle”. Yes, the angle at which you look at the reflecting surface makes quite a difference. Another thing that might be under your control is what is reflected. Bright sky will show up strongly. Seeing the reflection of a dark building might be so low that it is hardly noticeable.  So changing your position might make all the difference. Of course it all depends on what you are after, looking in or looking at.

Here are a couple of photos showing the difference your position can make.

Photowalk - Duluth, GA 5Oct2013

Photowalk – Duluth, GA 5Oct2013

Photowalk - Duluth, GA 5Oct2013

Photowalk – Duluth, GA 5Oct2013

Well, that’s my little tip for you. Hope you also enjoyed the pictures.


 

Also see my Monday Window series

.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck

Shadows in flash pictures

Bring out what’s hiding in the shadows

Pictures taken indoors with on-camera-flash usually have dingy, dark backgrounds. There is little that can be done about the behavior of light. An object at twice the distance from the flash will get only a quarter as much light. That means it will be darker in the picture.

There is no need to live with that problem. Post-processing, just a little bit of adjustments, can substantially enhance such photos. That is what the Shadows slider in Photo Gallery can correct substantially. With some judicious use of the Hightlights slider, and maybe a bit of adjustments with the others, a flash photo can be made to look quite good.

Here are a couple of screen shots to illustrate what can be done with a flash picture.

Shadows-01

This is the oroginal photograph, just the way it came from the camera. It looks like what you expect from a flash picture, the objects close to the camera, the table and chairs here, are properly exposed, things farther away look progressively darker.

Next the picture with some enhancements.

shadows-06

The Shadows slider was moved all the way to the right to make darker areas of the photo lighter. Sometimes such a drastic adjustment may turn out to be way too much, but for this picture it worked well. The Highlights slider is moved a little to the left to make the lightes areas a bit darker. The Contrast slider was also moved to the right jut a little bit to increase contrast.  Note how much lighter the far wall is, it looks almost normal they way you would see it.

Other photo editors have similar tools. Sometimes they have different names. In Picasa the Fill Light slider brings the details out of the shadows. The Shadows slider makes intermediate toned areas darker. Careful use and a little trial and error will help you get the best pictures out of your flash photos.

shadows-05

.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck