Archive for July, 2011

Over the Next Week

Just a heads-up: the Lord has worked it out for me to be a guide on a young men’s Journey to the Heart over the next week. Therefore, I will be unable to post anything here on Lenspiration.com until after the 1st of August. I’d appreciate your prayers for discernment, meekness, and genuine enthusiasm for the things of God!

One must never focus on that which is temporal to the degree that it distracts him from investing in that which is eternal.

2012 Lenspiration-6153

Feedback Wanted

Believe it or not, though we are scarcely halfway through 2011, I’ve been working feverishly on the 2012 Lenspiration calendar. I’ve reached a point now where I need some feedback.

Even if you only have a few minutes, I would really appreciate your comments about what pictures to use. Here’s a link to the list of potential pictures: 2012 Calendar. Use password calendar2012 (all lowercase, without spaces). You can comment on each individual picture.

If the link doesn’t work, go to www.lenspiration.com, click on the "Client Portal" tab, and then click on the "2012 Calendar" album. Use the same password.

Looking forward to your comments!

Gallery Update: South Korea in Spring

South Korea in Spring

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Click on the above picture to view the new Lenspiration.com image gallery.

Clingmans Dome, TN

One of the last places we stopped on the way back from Texas was the highest point in Tennessee, a mountaintop in the middle of Great Smokey Mountains National Park. At 6,643 feet above sea level, Clingmans Dome affords a 360 degree view up to 100 miles away on a pollution-free day. A perfect spot for sunrise and sunset.

9468_Canon EOS 40D, 70 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 7.1, ISO 200

Because the summit is one of the more popular attractions in the park, it is advisable to arrive early. We didn’t have the opportunity of visiting the overlook at sunrise or sunset, but we did get there before 10:00 in the morning–before the crowds. It is also advisable to visit in the summer. Snow is predicted between the months of September and May, and the road that leads to within a half mile of the crest is closed December through March.  

9558_Canon EOS 40D, 17 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 200

Texas Shed

After Robert’s wedding, we stopped at a few places in Texas in the Dallas area. This old shed, now out of commission, was on a chicken farm that we toured. It was a drab picture originally, being taken in early afternoon. But I found a new Adjustment in Photoshop today called HDR Toning (Image > Adjustments > HDR Toning…) and thought I’d try it out. Perhaps I overdid it a little in this picture, but it’s a nifty way to make a single image (as opposed to a bracketed sequence of images) appear surrealistic.

9383_Canon EOS 40D, 17 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 7.1, ISO 200

Taking Panos

Over the past month, while traveling through the Appalachian mountains, I have begun experimenting with taking true panoramic images. Not one image cropped to a 3:1 ratio, but a series of images side by side that, when stitched together, create a true high-res panoramic. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful when both shooting and stitching panos:

  • Shoot your series of images vertically, not horizontally. This greatly decreases perspective distortion and allows you to include more in your pano.
  • Shoot on Manual mode after making a metering estimate. This way, you will not have slightly lighter or darker images in your series where in-camera metering may have changed the exposure from picture to picture.
  • Keep the horizon level and in the same place on every image.
  • I didn’t do this very well in the sample images below, but it’s always nice to show depth by including foreground objects.
  • Leave plenty of overlap between each picture in a series. I usually overlap by thirds.
  • Rotate the camera on the nodal point. The nodal point is basically the very front of your lens. So, instead of rotating where you are standing, mentally draw a line from end of the lens to the ground, and then rotate the camera on that. There are special tripods that do this perfectly, but complete accuracy is not necessary with programs like Photoshop. 
  • I have found Photoshop’s Photomerge to be incredibly accurate and saves a ton of time. I usually use the Reposition option and check Blend Images Together. Cropping and touching up are still necessary, but that’s nothing in comparison the time spent in manually merging.

Hope that’s helpful for anyone who hasn’t tried creating panoramas yet.

6333_Canon EOS 40D, 70 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 200

An overlook near Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC. That’s I40 down in the righthand corner.

_Canon EOS 40D, 17 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 11, ISO 200

View from Clingmans Dome, highest point in Tennessee. This 360 overlook is right in the middle of Smokey Mountain National Park.

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This panorama, from a South Korean mountaintop in April, is an example of self-stitching. Because of how difficult it was to keep the horizon straight, I took a few pictures in the sequence crooked, and Photoshop was unable to stich it together.

Pic of the Month: June ‘11

The Bouquet

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Perhaps I am becoming superfluous in my posts about the wedding, but so much happened on that day that I can’t but help it. After all, it was the greatest photography highlight of the month. :) I chose this picture because of how different it was than all my other pictures. And perhaps it is different because of how awkward it was to take.

As the assistant photographer, I was there to meet the immediate needs of the main photographer; and, well, the immediate need of the moment was for someone to hold the bride’s flower bouquet. “I guess I don’t mind holding it for you. . . . But wait! That prohibits me from taking pictures. Or does it? If I hold the bouquet just right, I can still get both hands on the camera. But now the petals get in the way. . . .” And that’s when it struck me that perhaps I could creatively include the petals.

Now my problem was getting the “petals” far enough away from the lens of the camera so I could focus on them. After a second or two, I found the fix. Holding the bouquet out as far as I could reach with my left hand (my arm underneath the lens to support the camera while my hand held the bouquet in such a way that positioned the flowers on the right for the best composition), I managed to achieve what I had envisioned. And that, just in time.

This entire process took a matter of seconds. But that’s only as long as ou need for creativity to turn hindrances into blessings.

You can view this album for more pictures of the wedding.