Tag Archives: panorama

In Service of the Print

In the spring of 2013, I was preparing for my biggest road trip ever. I knew that I was going to take a lot of photos of 4 incredible destinations. I was trying to learn as much as I could about photography. I came across a Youtube video by B&H about HDR photography by Alan Kesselhaut (youtube link [http://youtu.be/v3CPavb2NWs] / Alan’s site: http://www.alankesselhaut.com/]. He said something 23 minutes into that video that struck me, that what we do in photography is “in service of the print.”  If you’re interested in watching the video, be prepared, it’s long, but very informative even if it’s almost 3 years old.

I recently made several prints. I made a calendar using several photos and three large prints of my photos. The calendar was great. I used Picaboo [http://www.picaboo.com/]. I knew nothing of them before I tried their service. I thought it was worth a shot to see if they are any good. I have to say they are GREAT! The photos had a nice glossy finish and the card stock for each pages is really sturdy. The binding wires are also good quality and makes for easy flipping of the pages. Based on this, I think they probably produce good prints with their other services.

The following are the prints I used for the calendar:

I am THRILLED about my large prints, however. I used Bay Photo [http://www.bayphoto.com]. I’ve heard nothing but good things from them. Now, I made a print on a piece of metal, but it was a SMALL metal print. But something happens with the large print. I requested a 48″ wide print of my photo of Chicago’s skyline that I like to call “Chicago on Liquid Lights”. This was printed on a “Pearl” paper. It’s priced a little higher than their “Metal” paper option. It is AMAZING. I can’t say that enough. The lights of the City of Chicago look simply amazing. AMAZING!

Chicago on Liquid Lights

My other photo I made was am 18″ x 24″ of the photo I call, “The L Runs Through It”. The paper and print I used was identical, the pearl paper. Again, I was absolutely thrilled with the print. The blue hour sky was amazing. The lights of the buildings were great, but the light representing the train’s long exposure was crazy good! There is something about the paper that reflects light in an amazing way. I don’t know how else to explain it.

The Chicago L going through the near north side of city center.
The L going through the near north side of Chicago just before it crosses the Chicago River into the “Loop”.

Another photo I printed was among the first photos I took with my NEX-7. It was a photo of a gate in Libertyville called the “Liberty Walk”. The gateway is just an alley between two buildings to get you to the parking lot. But the walls were made of brick, the cement walkway was wet, too. There were lights that had a starburst in the image. The brick walls were also wet, too. Again, the print looks great.

Liberty Walk

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

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.

The Chevelles – Happy Friday!

The Chevelles

Happy Friday everyone! Get out there and make IT happen this weekend. Hopefully you got a good ride to make it happen, too!

This photo was a panorama that I made from 3 handheld photos using my 50mm prime on my NEX-7. The cars were so close that I couldn’t really get framing I wanted with just one car, so I decided to include both of them!

The Sonic in Palatine IL has a classic cars show every couple of weeks. I happened on it this time with a couple of chevelles next to each other.
The Sonic in Palatine IL has a classic cars show every couple of weeks. I happened on it this time with a couple of chevelles next to each other.

Suburban Light in Arlington Heights, IL

So much has been happening over the last few weeks!  I have finally moved and just today I re-established my internet connection. It has been too long! Today’s photo is a panorama of the fountain in Arlington Height’s downtown district. They actually have a decent night life.

But these last three weeks has not just been about moving, but also about gearing up! I’ve been wanting to commit myself more and more to photography. I’ve had some successes here and there. It feels like I’m gathering more traction and slowly coming to realize an actual style of my own.

As part of this ‘gearing up’, I purchased a lens. This is the Sony E-mount 50mm lens for my NEX-7. It has been rated as the second sharpest *native* lens for this camera. I got it used for $200. New it’s worth $350. Many have said that it’s worth hundreds more compared to its competition.

So, I went on a walk in my new home town, hoping for some interesting things. I have to say that this fountain struck me. I knew that the water would come out looking real nice with a long exposure and I don’t think that the colored lights disappointed, either.

I hope you enjoy!

Color Fountain

The Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, IL

Spring in Chicago is so unpredictable! Today it is snowing. I took this photo of the Bahai Temple last week, a day before it was solidly in the 80s! It was a nice day, regardless.

The Baha’i have an interesting take on religion. They use input from many faiths. You might even be able to view some of this on the ediface of the temple you see here.  There are only seven of these in the world and this is the only one in North America. So if you are in Chicago, take a drive north to Wilmette via Sheridan Road. You can’t miss it!

 

This is a three photo high vertical panorama of the Baha'i Temple in WIlmette, IL. This is the view of the front entrance at sunset. It is a beautiful temple and well worth a visit.
This is a three photo high vertical panorama of the Baha’i Temple in WIlmette, IL. This is the view of the front entrance at sunset. It is a beautiful temple and well worth a visit.

One other note, I’ve been really sporatic lately because I did move! My internet connection is going to be restored this weekend. I will hopefully be up to full speed starting tomorrow night! In the last two weeks, I’ve added a lot to my photographic tech and this is the last step to make it all work. Here are all the ‘new’ items. A new lens (50mm f1.8), a new computer (i7 w/solid state and nvidia graphics), a new IPS monitor, a new home, and new desk. Now that I put it all down… wow, it’s a big change!

If you use G+ you can view my account at http://plus.google.com/+adamdooley.

You can also view my account at Smug Mug at http://fullperspectivephotos.smugmug.com.

Night Owls at the Harold Washington Library

I really liked the Harold Washington Library.  It’s one of the more iconic symbols of Chicago and one of the primary protectors of Chicago’s history. Here’s a factoid for you: The Chicago Public Library system didn’t exist until word of the Great Chicago Fire reached the Queen of England and in response, she sent library’s worth of books to Chicago because she thought that Chicago’s libraries were all up in smoke. In truth, Chicago didn’t have any libraries to begin with.

The library has owls in place of gargoyles that line the roof. And as you can see, they are very nicely lit at night!

 

The Harold Washington Library in Chicago at night has owls instead of gargoyles guarding the rooftop.
The Harold Washington Library in Chicago at night has owls instead of gargoyles guarding the rooftop.

This picture was panorama of three photos in the portrait position each photo was an HDR processed bracket of three exposures. I hope you enjoy.

The Loop’s Gateway

I went to Chicago on the evening of Sunday March 23, 2014 and I parked by the Adler Planetarium on Solidarity Drive because it’s only $2/hr and the parking times go on until pretty late at night. (Although, the police try to get everyone out of there by 11 pm, but I have trouble finding signs that say when you aren’t supposed to park there.)  I walked from there to get a chance to see “Chicagohenge” which was coined by the folks at OutOfChicago.com. (It was a term to call attention to the fact that Chicago has East/West streets that will give you a sunset / sunrise during the spring and fall equinox because that’s when the sun rises and falls due east and west.) It was a little late in the year. But I think I will have a decent sunset shot later to show.

BUT! Chicago is wonderful feeding ground for panoramas and night photography! I walked pretty much due west to State Street from the museum campus, and then walked due north to Wacker to view the Chicago River. That is where I took the picture I am posting today. It was such a cool view. There was a sign there that said that it was the “Gateway to the Loop”. Indeed the view from this intersection when looking north is a view that opens up and shows the sky and the full scope of the buildings across the Chicago River.

This is a image stitched from 7 HDR processed brackets at State and Wacker in Chicago. Chicago lables this location as the Gateway to the Loop, but this photo is looking away from the loop to the near north side of downtown.

This is a image stitched from 7 HDR processed brackets at State and Wacker in Chicago. Chicago lables this location as the Gateway to the Loop, but this photo is looking away from the loop to the near north side of downtown.

I did seven brackets from left to right with the camera in a portrait position. I did the brackets by manually setting the exposure so I wouldn’t have different processing across the brackets. After processing the HDR brackets, I then combined them into a single panorama where I cropped it.