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Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Super-simple Pseudo HDR

Posted by Sumpm On April - 3 - 2011

We’ve all seen HDR photography by now.  Some of it looks absolutely awesome, while a lot is ridiculously over-processed.  Many photographers actually put time and effort into getting multiple exposures, while a lot of others (me) just take one shot and then fake it.  Why?  ‘Cause fuck it, that’s why.  I don’t have all day to edit a single photo, and I often take 10s or 100s at a time.  Fortunately, I just accidentally figured out a way to get more dynamic range, without the photo looking too horribly over-processed (in some cases).

When editing my photos, I typically use the Smart Sharpen tool in Photoshop, set to a value of 20, while leaving all other settings at default.  It works well for its intended purpose of compensating for a digital camera’s inherent lack of sharpness.  Then the other day, I decided to change a single value:  Radius.  I don’t remember the default setting, but it was fairly low.  I adjusted the slider to a value of 50.0, and suddenly my photo looked a crap-ton better.

Smart Sharpen

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I didn’t mess with brightness or contrast, curves, or even adjust colors.  I was so pleased with the results, I made a default action, so now I can just apply it to any photo with one click.  However, today I discovered something else… what if I do it a second time to the same photo?  The result is an HDR-ish(y) look, without all the effort.

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Unfortunately, it doesn’t work equally well for all photos; in fact, many come out looking completely retarded.  But for some, it works extremely well, without the super-over-processed look that some HDR photos end up with.  Obviously, opinions and results will vary, so use it at your own risk.

 

Artwork in CoMO

Posted by Sumpm On August - 15 - 2010

I saw this hanging on a mostly-duct-taped-together Ford Aerostar minivan in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  The guy has a good point, but needs to work on not appearing like a whack job.

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This beauty was seen on a stop sign near MU campus on 9th St.  Dubya would be proud.

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The Difference 10x Zoom Makes

Posted by Sumpm On July - 18 - 2010

While I was in NYC, I went to the top of Rockefeller Plaza to take photos over the city.  I had my Fuji S5200 with me, with it’s 10x optical zoom.  It doesn’t sound like much, considering you can get as much as 26x now with some point-and-shoots, but it’s still pretty decent.

The following photos were taken pointed in the very same direction, looking South over Mid-town.  The first is without the use of zoom, the second is at full 10x.  You’ll have to look closely at the first one to make out the building that’s in the second.

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I’d love to go back with a 26x Nikon Coolpix P100 sometime, although I doubt I’d be able to hold it as stable as the Fuji at 10x.

Statue of Liberty Photos

Posted by Sumpm On July - 18 - 2010

I spent a week in Manhattan last April visiting my sister and riding my bike all through the city.  One evening, my brother-in-law and I headed over the George Washington bridge to New Jersey on our bikes, then South to Liberty Park, to get photos of the Statue of Liberty.

The next morning, I decided I wanted photos from the front, but being cheap, and not wanting to stand in line for hours to take the ferry to Liberty Island, I opted for a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  My Fuji S5200 has a 10x optical zoom, so I was able to get a few good pics, even in rough waters.

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I’m hoping to go back there again next year, and I think I’ll spring for tickets to Liberty Island, and maybe check out Ellis Island while I’m at it.

Playing with Panoramas

Posted by Sumpm On January - 12 - 2009

I’ve taken the occasional set of panoramic photos, but I’ve never bothered stitching them together in Photoshop.  The reason?  I’m lazy.  I can’t even imagine the hours that must go into doing such a thing and doing it well.

Yesterday, that all changed.  I stumbled upon a little, free app called Autostitch, which promised to do all that difficult work for me.  I doubted it’d work, but I had nothing to lose, seeing as though it was free.  I tossed a set of 24 photos together that I took from the top level of a downtown parking garage, then let it render for 10 minutes or so.  When it was finished, I was astonished at the results.

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After a little manual cropping and level adjustments in Photoshop, I grabbed my camera and headed out to take a few more sets of photos.  I’ve been kind of bored taking photos since it got cold out, but I was so excited about finally being able to render full panoramic shots, that I ignored the sub-freezing cold and snapped away.  I have a feeling I’ll be doing a whole lot more of this over time.

Here’s a link to what I have so far (continually updated):  http://www.flickr.com/photos/one9us/sets/72157612444342150/

If you’ve ever considered making your own panoramic photos, give Autostitch a try and go take photos in a whole new way.

Link:  http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html

p.s.  By the way… a good tripod isn’t a must, but it’ll definitely make for better photos.

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