Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sweep Panoramas

I don't think I am alone in wishing that I had a digital panoramic camera similar to a Linhof Technorama 617. There are 2 problems that keep me from buying one. The first is the the price - $4500 and the second is that it shoots film. In 2000 I stopped using film and have no intention of going back to it. I have been making panoramic photographs since 1974 when I would shoot several overlapping photographs, print them and then glue them together. In the 1980s Fuji introduced a very nice panoramic film camera. I pasted a photograph of it above my desk. In the 1990s still unable to afford either a Linhof or Fuji panoramic camera, I began to work with in camera panoramic masks in 35mm and 4x5. In the 2000s I began to use Photoshop to make panoramic photographs. In 2011 I began using a Samsung Galaxy S cellphone camera which has in camera stitching. I liked how I could see the finished photograph on site rather than waiting to download the photographs to my computer and edit them with imaging software. On August 2 I wrote about mirrorless cameras in my blog post- "Beyond Digital Point-And-Shoot". In October 2011 I bought a Sony NEX-5 hoping to go beyond my cellphone panoramics in terms of resolution.

The resolution from this camera is everything I hoped it to be, but the stitching process could be much better. Much of what I shot with my Samsung phone is impossible to shoot with my Sony camera. I really love this Sony camera. It is one of the most versatile cameras I have ever owned. Perhaps creating a stitching algorithm that meets my standards is impossible. I use this camera handheld. Quite often when I sweep across a scene it cannot capture it and I get an error message. Photographing moving groups of people is close to impossible. The people will often appear with 2 heads, 4 legs or other bizarre although sometimes delightful configurations. I get about 5% of what I try to capture compared to about 70% with the phone. The prints are finely detailed and absolutely beautiful. I would like to see a camera or stitching software where I can get 50% of what I try to photograph.

 © 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Epson Watercolor Radiant White

I began using Epson Watercolor Radiant White paper when it was first introduced. I find it to be a good paper for getting an idea as to how well a file will print as a very basic exhibition quality print. Since I started using it I have used it as both an exhibition paper and as a teaching paper for college photography students who are learning to make exhibition and portfolio prints. It is not a substitute for high quality exhibition paper.

What I find most interesting about this paper is its ability to produce high quality prints from inexpensive printers. Using a cheap printer and a low quality ink set I assume results in prints where the colors will fade quickly, but the resulting print initially looks as good, and sometimes better than prints from an Epson 3800 or Epson 4880 with the same paper. The pints from inexpensive printers I have seen are prints that have been made by my students over the past 4 years using inkjet printers that came free with the purchase of a new computer. Two of the printers were over 5 years old. I have not and do not plan to experiment in this area, but have concluded that this is an exciting area for people to explore who are new to printing, but are not yet ready to spend $1000 or more for a printer that produces museum quality pigment prints.

 © 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

After Basic Photography

A question that many students have at the end of any Basic Photography class is what is the next step. For some students the answer is to take more classes and get a BFA and MFA in Photography. Every student and every career photographer values feedback from an audience. We are living in a time where it is easier to reach a large audience than ever before thru sites like Flickr, Alamy, Facebook, Tumblr, PhotoShelter, 500px , Twitter and Linked In. Alamy offers a sales distribution system. PhotoShelter offers a model to self market photographs. All of them offer very real ways to have your work seen by others. The image editing programs Aperture and Lightroom offer a clear alternative to Photoshop for photographs that do not require photo compositing. Photography has become a more democratic medium thru mobile phones and tablets. It is now possible to shoot a good quality photograph, edit it within the device with the apps Snapseed for Apple Devices and PicSayPro for Android Devices and upload it to Facebook or Flickr all in just a few minutes. © 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved