Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lightroom 3.3 and lens profile downloader

Tom Hogarty from Adobe has announced that Lightroom 3.3 is available from their research labs site. It fixes one bug that annoyed me for a while, which is that if you are still using PS CS4, Lightroom would not offer to render as a tiff. This meant that "Edit in PS" would not render the lens correction adjustments built into Lightroom 3. Another thing that Adobe did was to make available a standalone app to download lens profiles from their server. This includes lots of community profiles for lots of exotic lenses. Previously, you had to use PS CS5 to download the profiles. I noticed that all the ones I created and submitted are in there and are highly rated. Making profiles is very easy and my geeky nature couldn't resist generating profiles. One example is a profile for my highly valuable Tokina 11-16 mm lens generated on my D300. You no longer have to email me to get it, but you can download it directly from Adobe! It works great.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Can you stitch waterfalls?

When you use the stitching method that I do to create high resolution images, one thing to remember is that this works well in relatively stationary subjects. A subject that is not very stationary in general is water. However, when you do the soft water thing by using relatively long shutter speed, you can stitch the resulting images really well. The below image from Beaver Brook in Rocky Mountain National Park (truly a hidden gem - more on that later, too much backlog) was done that way:

Forest stream

This was right around sunset on a very cloudy day, so it was already quite dark in the dense forest and at f13, the shutter was already at 2 seconds. Perfect for such a waterfall. I took 9 images at 50 mm in 3 rows of 3 all 15 degrees apart in both directions and these are the individual images.

I purposefully develop the images in a bland, low contrast, low saturation manner in order to make the image easier to stitch without posterization, blown out colors and such. It gives me more freedom afterwards in other words. The images were exported to 16 bit prophotoRGB tiffs from Lightroom and stitched in hugin (far better than Photoshop for this purpose but much harder to learn) to give the result in the first image above. The field of view is equivalent to a 18mm lens on a crop camera or about 28mm on a full frame camera. Since the resulting image after stitching is more akin to a 4x5 ratio image (there is more overlap vertical than horizontal) It is more instructive to quote the focal length in 4x5 view camera terms, where it is akin to a 115 mm lens. Interestingly, this method allows you to dial in camera movements, and even (sort of) shift the focal plane around if you know what you are doing. It is cumbersome, but helped by the low weight of the total gear and the flexibility in post that you have. It is much harder to visualize the final result though than on a ground glass plate. You do get incredible detail though as the below screenshot demonstrates (click for full resolution:

Just check the guide image to see. Printed at this size, with the detail you see on your screen if you open the above screenshot, the print would be about 70 inches (i.e. 6 feet or about 1.8 meters) high, which is just astonishing I think. This is even more poignant since I did not stitch the image at the full resolution of approximately 70MP in hugin. You will never need it and Smugmug (my hosting service) only goes to 48 MP anyway.

This method is quite a bit cheaper than getting a 10k$ Pentax 645D (that's before the lenses). I would still love one of those though as that is a fantastic camera from everything I read about it.

Finally to answer to the post title is of course a resounding "yes."

Propane campfire!

I am planning to do the white rim (an out and back this time because of the mineral bottom road being destroyed) again in a few weeks with a group of friends. My buddy Craig is one of those guys that loves overengineering everything, and since we are not allowed to have wood fire in Canyonlands (you don't want people to gather the little bit of wood that exists there from dead trees and in summer there is big fire danger), he engineered a propane "camp fire". It's a little much but quite a cool sight! This apparently is revision 2 of this thing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Some silly signs I snapped with my cellphone (a super crappy blackberry)

What did they do to the poor door?
What did "they" do the door?

Disturbing truck (nothing but a tarp on top!)

One of our sunflowers and the stop sign at the end of the street.
Sunflower and stop sign

So that's how you "cover your mouth and/or sneeze" (I always like double entendres, even the non racy ones)
We're all in this together

Crazy, horrifying

Firefighters let a house burn down because the occupants did not pay their "subscription fee". Just horrifying. Undoubtedly they did not dare call it a tax, so they made "fire protection services" a voluntary subscription. I like Daring Fireball's take on it: "Not from The Onion." Certainly feels that way.