Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Vista to Remember

Kimberley Ski Hill Panorama #8, originally uploaded by jake orr.

One of the things I really like about photography is that there are so many different types to get into. My last two entries have been regarding night photography which I was super excited to have a go at. There are still a lot of other kinds of photography I have never even tried. I mean I may have taken a snapshot which turned out to be macro-like, for example, but I've never seriously taken the time to get better at macro photography (not to mention I don't own a macro lens, but that's a topic for another day).

Last week I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by my wonderfully photogenic companion, Christina, on a trip to Kimberley. It was amazing. We were treated to wonderful weather the entire time which made photos all the better. One of our days in Kimberley was spent on a trip to the local ski hill. I brought my camera and actually took the time to make use of it while we were there. I'm really glad I did, because along with some good pictures, I also got some great practice at panoramic photography.

Now when I say panoramic, I'm not talking about what I used to do by setting on my old point and shoot camera to 'panoramic mode'. The kind of full on, as wide as you want photography that I'm talking about is done with a combination of multiple photos spanning a scene and a little help from Photoshop. Photoshop has has a feature called photomerge which takes a set of pictures and does its very best to stick them together into one. And let me just say that its very best is pretty damn good. It even tries to blend them together to make it look like one photo. Tweaking the photos before and after to really help the photo come together is something that I'll have to practice. As you can see in this photo, the sky isn't the exact same exposure everywhere. It's a little brighter on the left side of the photograph. Doing eight different panoramas was time consuming, but great practice to get better at the technique. If you want to give it a try there are a lot of basic tutorials online and other than that, just fiddle with things. Try the different photomerge modes and such. And hey, have some fun with it!

I've really found that with any new type of photography it takes practice to get better at it. Even on my single day of experimenting with panoramas I found that my last shot was better than my first. Working on your photography and really seeing it improve into something you like to look at and something that you're proud of is an amazing feeling.