Toy Soldiers

In my home suburb, Arlington Heights, they display holiday lights and scenes. This year they put up toy soldiers that made you think of The Nutcracker.

This was shot a few weeks ago during the morning blue hour and while it was snowing lightly. I really enjoyed these guys. They didn’t display them last year. The textures on his face is cool, and the glittery garland compared to the snow is a nice touch.

In my home suburb, Arlington Heights, they display holiday lights and scenes. This year they put up toy soldiers that made you think of The Nutcracker.
In my home suburb, Arlington Heights, they display holiday lights and scenes. This year they put up toy soldiers that made you think of The Nutcracker.

Just a word on editing. Some photographers insist on making snow always look white. I agree to this up to a point. In this case it really was blue hour. Where the sky is blue, and everything gets a blue tint to it. So, yes, the snow really does look blue in some cases. The soldiers are the subject, anyways, not the snow.

Frozen Waterfall in St. Louis Canyon

St. Louis Canyon in Starved Rock State Park, IL is probably about as interesting as geology gets in northern Illinois. There are sand stone canyons here with little waterfalls that eventually feed into the Illinois River. In the winter, they freeze over, of course. This makes for a really interesting contrast of textures between the rock and the ice.

This is an impressive state park and I hope to return several times this year.

St Louis Canyon water fall freezes in the winter to form a majestic frozen wall.
St Louis Canyon water fall freezes in the winter to form a majestic frozen wall.

In this photo I did a lot of texture enhancement with photoshop and ON1 Perfect Effects 8. I also added a little bit of a glow with that program, too. When I took the photo, I tried to get as high and to the left as possible and I was hoping to capture the lines and details in the rock.

I hope you enjoy!

http://fullperspectivephotos.com
http://fullperspectivephotos.smugmug.com

There was snow once…

There was snow once…

What a difference a year makes. A year ago, we were moaning and groaning about the terrible winter we were having. Now, we don’t seem to be living that badly. This picture is from a few weeks ago when we did get snow. It seemed winter could still be WINTER.
Snowy Suburban life
But I am going to Starved Rock in Utica, IL this weekend. I’m hoping to get some ice waterfalls. The warm weather makes me doubt…

I plan on traveling there with my mom. We’ll be leaving from her house waaaay before sunrise.

I also hope to record some video, too. We’ll see how that experiment goes.

I’m also rethinking this blog, it’s format, purpose, and reach. I think I’ll be adding a we bit more to it over the next month.

New Years 2015 – Skyline Photography

I don’t usually like to get thick into the weeds when it comes to creating a photo. I do get technical, but I’m fully aware lots of people don’t like reading all that stuff.

I’m preparing to do a skyline panorama of Chicago. This morning I went to the Adler Planetarium to take these photos. It was 6 AM when I got out of the car. It was FREEEZING out, btw!

Here’s the photo:

Chicago Skyline from Adler Planetarium. New Years morning, 2015.
Chicago Skyline from Adler Planetarium. New Years morning, 2015.

I took about 5 images going from left to right. This one is roughly the center image. Whenever I do a panorama, I almost always at MOST move the camera’s field of view only about 1/3 of the frame.  Then I take another photo.

When I’m stitching a panorama, I’ll try it one of two different ways. First, I’ll try it in Photoshop. This is usually easy but also takes a long time for the computer to do.

The second method I use is a free program from Microsoft called Microsoft Composite Editor. This program is actually pretty quick. The knock I have against it is that it requires me to create 16-bit tiff files to my hard drive.

But the problem that I have with creating panoramas happens regardless of which program I use. A panorama program will stretch the image if you tell it to stitch to maintain PERSPECTIVE. The tends to stretch the lines so that they are all straight. Straight lines matter with architecture. But, it stretches out the sky, too. What is the problem with that? What used to be clean and clear sky is now showing pixels that I couldn’t previously see.

There are several things I can do to minimize that, but it takes a bit more work. It would be lovely if there was a tool that minimized this problem all in one step, though.

So, that’s my riff on panorama stitching. If you found it interesting, let me know.