Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ready, Get Set, Go!

Here we are back again to the homeland, after a tiresome trip back and fro. Surprisingly, my friends in Staten Island told me that once I've left New York, the whole weather got screwed up, and now they are waiting for some hurricane! Luck? Maybe...

I had many ideas and many reflections since I was there and till this very moment in fact. So much that I have a problem organizing my thoughts. Life, going on, societies and dealing with people - and of course the world of Photography.

Even though it had been days since my arrival back home, I think I still have some sleeping problems. Awake all night and sleepy at daytime, and would that help to work with the camera at night? It should, but I'm too lazy to do so!
Anyway, as soon as I settled down, I've plugged in my external HD and started to work on arsenal of photos. Even though my new laptop is relatively upgraded and faster (with 8GB of RAMs) yet working with my desktop PC is a must even though it is slower. However, during my stay I've used the laptop to create small panoramas and other still images, mostly in black and white.

Meditative Cleve
Of course, one of the first things I was handling is the matter of the panoramas, specially those that I've promised to send as a gift. Meditative Cleve for one, was down experimentally with my laptop during my stay just to check for the level of the light (and back then it was a Little Planet projection). After arrival though, I worked on a bit more to achieve the HDR panorama I'm seeking. My experience now says that even though PTGui can link images and achieve a HDR panorama directly from the RAW files (specially the new PTGui) but apparently it is still better to work with HDR files (i.e. HDR slides prepared with Photomatix for example and plugged into PTGui). This way, the list of the images is shorter and easy to handle the various angles (instead of dealing with more than 120 images you will be dealing with 40-45 images). Also, many problems concerning the exposure overlapping and the exposure curve - and some errors or smudged areas because of that - all of these problems are reduced when merging HDR files instead of single RAW images in PTGui.
In Meditative Cleve there was a tiny a problem during the shoot and that was after shooting the full panorama, I've asked Cleve, my friend's hubby, to take a pose. Because the altar was close to where I stood with the camera, I had to adjust the tilting angle to -30 instead of the conventional -45 degrees that I usually use in my workflow in every panorama. Only at -30 degrees, I was able to include the whole body of Cleve in one shot - otherwise, I would have to take several shots and tilting in different angles to include the whole body. Funny thing that later, and after one long day working on this panorama, I've realized that there was a blending error causing Cleve to lose part of his head and his right shoulder! And then, the work had to be done all over again with adjusting the blending options and then hiding the traces of my tripod again.
Because I didn't take all my equipments (naturally!) the nadir point in my panoramas are hard and easy in the same time. Easy because I don't have to worry much about it - I don't have the tools with me! But hard because working around it is a tough one specially if I want to achieve a QTVR.

The Victorian B&B Lounge

The easy way around this nadir problem is the typical logo and title at the bottom, or, rendering the QTVR file with limited vertical viewing angle (tilt). However, because the lower angles do show some pieces of the tripod head, I've decided to adapt to the logo approach to hide these traces as much as possible. Now, I end up doing a double file for flat panoramas, one with a nadir point to plug it into the QTVR machine, and a cropped one (like the one above) for regular viewing and printing.


In this travel I did take a lot of panoramas (relatively) and working on them will need some time. For the time being I'm just checking my chances for flat panoramas and QTVR as they are a priority to send as gifts as promised. Even though panoramas like Meditative Cleve is done in a vertical form, but rendering the QTVR is easy once the stitching file is saved and I will get back to it surely - but I'm hesitant if I should include Cleve in the QTVR or not (remember that I do have the full panorama without Cleve originally).
Anyway, here you can find a QTVR done for the Victorian B&B lounge and I have to say that I do really like the place and its simple architecture. Comfy, and not so complicated. Don't forget, you need QuickTime installed!

This QTVR is also available on a large file with 800x600 window which I plan to send over in a CD to my host, Danute Garlach, along with a print of the same panorama. Anyway, since I did take some panoramas outside, I don't want to rush and I need to check which panorama would work best as a gift.

Well, This is just the beginning now with this post. I'm trying to head back to my usual routine of posting every Thursday. I've done lot of single shots before leaving New York and after arriving back home, but I don't want to put it all in one basket.
The engine needs greasing, with hope now, I will start a new approach to life after this travel. Not sure how, but I need to knock down the clouds of melancholy and depression. I have to...

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