July 7, 2009
In simple terms, Photosynth allows you to take a bunch of photos of the same scene or object and automagically stitch them all together into one big interactive 3D viewing experience that you can share with anyone on the web.
Photosynth is a potent mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs, and the technology to bring that experience to virtually anyone over the Internet.
June 28, 2009
Painting with light is a fun technique that gives great results. It is called painting with light because this is what you are actually doing while taking the shot – painting with light.
You don’t need much to experiment with this kind of shot, just make sure you have the following items:
1. A camera capable of long exposures – film cameras will work OK, but if you really want to get the most out of the shooting session, use a digital camera. You will be able to see the results in “real time” and make corrections as you go.
2. A nice tripod. Since you will be doing some long exposures you want to make sure your camera sits still. If you don’t have a tripod you can make one in a few minutes (see this article or this one).
3. A flash light – and by flash light I do not mean flash as in a speedlight, but the flash light or what our British will call a torch.
4. A dark location. This one is tricky. If you are going to shot at home – a dark room will be OK. If you are going to shoot outside – make sure that you are not doing this under a street light, or where a car can come by and “paint its headlight” all over your shot.
May 30, 2009
It’s best to start with a photograph of a scene that’s viewed from a distance, above the subjects. Bright lighting (like the artificial light that illuminates models) is best.
I used this photograph of Columbus Circle, taken from the rooftop of a friend’s very nice apartment:
I followed the first part of Christopher’s directions:
Open up your chosen image, press Q to switch to Quick Mask mode, then click on the Gradient tool. Set the colours to the default black and white by pressing D, then switch them around by clicking on the double-headed arrow next to the colour chips. Next, set up the gradient as shown above. Make sure you select the repeating gradient type – fourth icon along, looks like a cylinder.
Choose where you want the focal point of the photo to be – usually about halfway between top and bottom – and click and hold at that point. Drag the line of the gradient tool upwards, then release it towards the top of the frame; it doesn’t hurt to be a little off the pure vertical. You should get something like what’s shown above. Press Q again to switch back from Quick Mask mode.
Chose Filter ▸ Blur ▸ Lens Blur to bring up the Lens Blur filter pane. It can take a little tinkering to get the settings just right, but try the above values as a starting place. The Iris section controls the shape of the virtual iris in the lens; a hexagonal iris is most normal, and you could try rounding out the sharp corners of the geometric shape using Blade Curvature. Rotation controls the angle of the hexagon. The Specular Highlights section adds little glints to bright areas, but it’s usually not a good idea to drop the value of the Threshold much below 250. Click OK to apply the effect, then clear your selection.
I tried following the second part of his directions, using the Curves palette (Image ▸ Adjustments ▸ Curves) RGB curve to pump up the colors in the image, but the effect didn’t work, probably because the photo was slightly overexposed. Also, it was taken on a cloudy day.
Instead, I adjusted the contrast using Levels (Image ▸ Adjustments ▸ Levels), and increased the contrast with the Brightness/Contrast tool (Image ▸ Adjustments ▸ Brightness/Contrast) to get the same effect:
* Link thanks to Photojojo
May 20, 2009
During the flight back from Belize I played around with the Retouch Menu on my new D-90, which saves the new, fixed-up version and the old “before” version. I’d never used this option before.
You don’t even have to open up Photoshop – retouch is lots of fun and a huge time-saver.
May 7, 2009
Swimming with the rays in Belize *
I took these shots with a cheap sports camera that probably had very old film inside. But I like the spooky blue-grainy effect.
April 30, 2009
Daily life in Caye Caulker, a small coral island (pop. 1,300) off the coast of Belize.
Taxi – The roads are paved with sand and the taxis are all golf carts
Fishermen’s Wharf – Pelicans gather to catch a free meal
A Frigate bird tries to steal the catch. Frigates are huge, gliding birds who rule the sky in Caye Caulker. Pelicans are excellent fliers at low altitudes, but they aren’t as speedy or maneuverable. When they got together, we saw some excellent dogfights.
[Financial district] – View from the roof of the Lazy Lizard – In the evening most of the town gathers at the Lazy Lizard cafe and bar, which offers excellent (and cheap) happy hour rum drinks and a great view of the sunset. There’s also a swimming and snorkeling spot, which is nice as long as you avoid the boats going through the canal.
View from the roof, to the north