Friday, April 27, 2012

Time-Lapse Photography – First Experiment

Few weeks ago I have ordered intervalometer for my camera to try my hand at time-lapse photography. As is the case with most photographers that try this technique for their very first time, my first subject was moving clouds. I tried straight time-lapse and HDR time-lapse and was blown away how dramatic HDR sequence was! On second look I have realised how often I have seen HDR time-lapse clouds on television, especially in opening scenes for a golf tournaments. People that do not know about HDR photography just see great looking dramatic images without realising that there is quite a bit of computer “magic” involved. Photographers that are familiar with High Dynamic Range technique know how much work and especially time it takes to come up with a 10 seconds long sequence. Every HDR frame takes 3 images (normal, underexposed and overexposed frames) and every second of movie takes 24 frames.
24 x 3 x 10 seconds = 720 exposures. Yes, 720 photos for 10 seconds “long” movie.

This video is 4 seconds long and was taken with 1 frame evry 4 seconds.

HDR time-lapse.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shooting Outdoor Close-Ups in Dark

Technique to separate main subject from busy background.

Few days ago I was shooting blossoms of our peach tree but I wasn’t entirely happy with the outcome – the background was way too busy. Cutting one branch and bring it in the studio wasn’t an option and neither was placing some background behind the branch with blossoms. One fool-proof option opened to me was to wait till dusk and shoot with flash. And that is exactly what I did and results were not bad at all. I know that I should have used tripod but this was more about technique then producing a book quality image. It is too late now to re-shoot the peach blossoms, they are way past their prime, but I will use this technique for more outdoor projects where I want to separate main subject from the background.

Original image shot in RAW, 100 ISO, 1/125 sec @f/5.6, auto-focus with pre-flash assist, off camera E-TTL flash with prism lens and diffuser, 1st curtain, Flash Exposure (FE) -1 stop. For razor sharp image I would have to use tripod and strong light for focusing.

During RAW conversion to JPEG I adjusted levels and blacks so that background was more or less black.

After conversion I opened the image in Photoshop and cloned away the remaining background. Then I cropped and tilted the image. I was left with just a peach branch with blossoms against black background. Total time spent in Lightroom4 and Photoshop was less than 10 minutes.