Monday, 15 February 2010

Maybe this week I'll nail it

This is really frustrating. I've been trying to take a panorama of Mauna Kea's shadow and the summit itself. It takes several shots because we're talking more than 90 degrees here but it is very challenging. When the shadow appears the light is changing rapidly, as is the shadow, so you have the take all the photos very quickly and in low light that is difficult enough. I'm also trying to take at least two photos in each spot to capture the dark and bright spots and it's harder than you might think.

So far I haven't succeeded and have also managed to find some bugs in the (cheap or completely free) photo software I have - I'll try not to put my fist through the screen. The picture above is the latest attempt but you can see the seams and all sorts of weird effects and it's driving me nuts!

Well, the forecast is for a few more nights of clear weather so I'm going to be trying again this week. The wind is forecast to be very high though, so don't be surprised if you hear about some astronomer giving up in disgust and kicking his tripod over the edge of Mauna Kea...

8 comments:

Andrew Cooper said...

It would not be the first tripod we have picked up the next morning when coming up for day shift!

Tom said...

The camera will likely still be attached - keep a look out, you might get a freebie!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I admit that I can't see the seams or artifacts you mention, even in the enlargement. I do see a picture I like. :-)

JestrBob said...

I don't see any problem, Tom. I have used various programs to make panos and Have a decent start at a unpublished series of articles for my blog of how to stitch together. My wife says I usually bite off more than can chew and one of the sets of images was less than optima. One needs some work to smooth out the fringes, I should have cropped at the 20% lines rather than at the 15%line.

Depending on the lens/camera set up I would take at least twice as many photos ( try shooting in portrait orientation ) and cropping out manually about 15% from the left and right sides of the images and then stitching together. This reduces the amount of edge distortion in the images.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jestrbob/4062036623/in/set-72157611673037137/

is one such picture I did and it covers about 120 degrees. It still needs work (I consider it a WIP)

The same set has a composite photo made of Akaka Falls on the other side of your wonderful island. I used 7 images to create the final shot.

Take your time and get the shot right. I can understand wanting to bracket the shots but take your series as fast as you can. You a good ball head and remote release, and you'll get the shot.

At least you'll have another day to try to get it perfect. I usually have one shot only it I travel very far from home.

damontucker said...

How's this one... I left my camera at the Ziplines.

Thank god Devanny picked it up who gave it to someone else who lives closer to me.

Soon enough I will be back w/ my $100.00 camera.

In a way... I was thinking this was god's way of making me buy a new camera.

Nice picture as always Tom. I'm jealous of you folks that get to step out of your offices to views like that.

Tom said...

Click on the picture for a larger view and you'll see a seam on the right and the shadow is bent!

Bob - the problem with taking time to take this panorama is that the light and shadow is changing continuously, so you get problems if you do that. The key is to take the panorama as fast as possible. That's not helped with high winds and frozen fingers!

Damon - the camera I use cost $300 - you can take great shots with a cheap camera (and a $30 tripod from Walmart!). You just have to learn how and that's also cheap!

Tom

Anonymous said...

Tom, I left you a note regarding panos and PTGui in another one of your blogs... but I didn't mention that PTGui also supports processing a set of HDR pano photos. Obviously if you can shoot a fast set of each images off a stable platform (tripod) you'll end up with the best results from both an exposure, and alignment standpoint.

Again, good luck!
Dave (Kailua-Kona)

Tom said...

Dave,

Thank you so much for the help and advice. I've been up about 40 hours now with about an hour's sleep because of today's event (I'm sure you know what I'm referring to!). I'll try and respond with my excuses tomorrow but I do take in what you've said and I understand your points fully!

Sometimes I think I should have named my blog "photography on the cheap" though!

I'm glad you told me it supports HDR. Does it also support blending/fusion (like photomatix and hugin)? I much prefer that to HDR, it's much more natural for one that rarely uses a split or graduated neutral density filter.

Feel free to drop me a line one day - my email address can be found via my profile. I think I might learn some things from you!

Tom

PS. Are you konadave?