Sunday, August 18, 2013

Revisiting the Panorama Art and HDR of Chunchi falls

It has been long time since I composed panorama shots. Earlier when I was extensively using pocket camera SX210IS, I used to compose many panorama shots. It had option of panorama bracketing which made things very easy. I am not using pocket camera to that extent and left it at home town for quick shooting. Nowadays even mobile camera has HDR and panorama options. However, EOS550D does not have one. The only option is to have Ultra Wide Angle lens. But the UWL lenses are bit expensive to buy as of now. I need to wait some more time until I pile up some budget to buy it. Till then only option is to be contended with 18mm focal length.

During my visit to Chunchi falls, I encountered many beautiful landscapes en-route. They were delightful to watch. It is at that time when I felt 18mm also not enough to compose the beautiful landscape in a frame. Finally decided to compose panorama shots manually and hand-held. My prediction was at-least 80% of subject would be properly aligned in final composition (40% area each from center axis). At some places, 6shots were taken and at some I went till 9 shots.

The problem with this approach is varying lighting. Hence one has to fix up the white balance as well as depth of field properly before proceeding with bracketing. I fixed the white balance to cloudy and probably depth of field to f/11. I also made sure that focus point was infinity. This technique is difficult to apply when things are moving and they are in frame always like sea waves or waterfalls. Hence I did not compose any panorama of waterfall site. I have tried panorama of Kaup beach many times but changing wave position misalign final image. However in the images I composed nothing was moving except clouds. The clouds move out of frame after sometime and also were moving slowly. Hence panorama was pretty much easy. Hope you will enjoy the pictures. I will try out few more in coming days. Enlarge and view to have real feel of the pictures.

The panorama shots were stitched together with beautiful open source software, Hugin panorama creator. It is also available for windows. It has got many features like exposure correction, manual control point selection etc.. I am yet to explore more on the features of software.

This image was taken from parking place of waterfall site. It came out to be bit tricky. It consisted of 6 shots out of which first one had less exposure bias. In final image, the left half turned out to be too much under-exposed and right half was proper. I had to turn off the exposure correction in software and increased the exposure bias of first image to match with other images. Finally the composed image turned out well. My main interests were the hills and channel.

This image was straight forward. My only expectation was to keep both bulls and hills in the frame which I was able to achieve.

This came out really well. I am happy with hills, clouds and road in image. The only problematic portion is that road should have not clipped in the middle. It is not software's mistake but mine. I should have framed images properly.

There was nothing to capture as HDR in Chunchi falls since lighting was perfect. Still I tried HDR shot. The composed image really came out well. The final image has more colors than the normal LDR shot we take. Only concern is, the waterfall filled lesser portion of frame. The greenery of trees is spread well throughout the image which would not have been possible with normal shots and also rocks have showed up natural color. The picture was taken from view point located at a distance from waterfalls. No RAW this time too :(


Camera: Canon EOS 550D
Lens: 18-55mm kit lens
Focal Length: 28mm
Focus: Manual
Aperture: f/25 (You know why!)
ISO: 100
Picture Style: Neutral
Metering: Center weighted average
No of images: 3
Exposures: -2,0,+2 (1/15s for middle one)
ML Firmware: v2.3
Softwares: Luminance HDR (Fatal operator), GIMP

As always, feedback and critiques are highly appreciated.

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