Sometimes and only sometimes when living in a big city one can have just enough time to get to a vantage point for a photograph. Today was such a day for me. I had just looked at the weather radar and noticed that a large frontal system was rapidly approaching Melbourne. Moreover I had nothing planned so it was a case of quickly packing the camera gear and head off to the nearest bayside suburb to my place, normally about a 30 minute drive.
Upon arriving I had plenty of time to setup with the intention of taking a panorama of the storm as it approached. However the conditions were what would call hostile. Strong winds gusting up to 100Km’s and every bit of sand on the beach on the move. It quickly became apparent that if I did not want to have to buy new equipment then I had better keep the gear exposure to the elements to a minimum. For me I am still trying to get the sand out of my eyes. Out of all of the photos I really only found one that depicted the storm front really well. There are a few others that are ok but this one is the best.
Hope you like it.
Yesterday I thought that having a go at a panorama type shot might be a bit of fun. Now I did know that just rotating the camera on the head that I have would not work very well because of the changing position of the camera in relation to the landscape. However that is about all I did know. So it was to the web to do a bit of reading.
Now to my surprise I found out that what I needed was a panoramic head for my tripod. However that would cost around $600AU to get a head that will handle the weight of my gear. Well that wasn’t going to happen just yet (need to sell a lot more photographs to pay for that) So it was a case of doing a bit more reading, and lo and behold what did I find but a simple rig that I could make using my macro focus rail (Manfrotto). So of to the local hardware store and buy a piece of angle use for shelf bracing or the like (just don’t get one that has the brace as well as then you won’t be able to put the camera on it).
Now as luck would have it one of the holes in the bracket when screwed to the camera aligned very closely with the centre of my gear head rotation point and the lens centre. Part one achieved.
Next is to find what is called a nodal point of the lens. Whats that you say, well it is the point in the lens where fore ground and back ground object maintain the same relationship when the camera is rotated on its tripod for the panorama shot. A web search for parallax and panorama will bring up many much more eloquent descriptions than mine.
Now this is not a hard task just takes a bit of time or you can look up a database on nodal points for many common DSLR lens. Essentially it is do this:
Guess where the iris point is, set that at the rotation point of the head. Stick a piece of opaque tape on a window. Take two shots of a scene that includes the tape load into photoshop or your equivalent software and see how much the background changes relative to the tape. Then depending upon which way the movement is its a case of moving the camera closer to or further away from the rotation point. There are some great examples on the web about this but this one I thought was pretty good. Go here http://www.johnhpanos.com/epcalib.htm.
All in all after a bit of mucking around I found the nodal point and then went out to test it. The following shot is using a 16-35mm at 16mm’s in my front yard. I am pretty happy with the setup I made for $10. However one day I would love to buy a proper head.
Having seen some of Suigmoto’s work and been fascinated by the surreal quality of his seascapes I have spent some time looking for scenes that are similar but have their own uniqueness.
Recently I took a afternoon trip down to Sorrento principally to get a few shots from the back beach (looks onto the southern ocean). However on this occasion there was a bit of mist over Port Phillip Bay and with the sun low down the bay looked very much like those found in Sugimoto’s work. Now I know that many of Sugimoto’s works are long exposures on film and as I didn’t have a film camera with me nor the necessary techniques to do a 2-3 hour exposure I had to settle for using a different method. Additionally as I am not about copying each exposure must have something extra that is not in Sugimoto’s work, in these cases it is man made objects.
In this case I have used a ND400 filter (basically very dark glass) and looked to overexpose the image to a fair degree. Now whilst these shots are not as beautiful as Sugimoto’s work I am still happy with how the have turned out. As the evening wore on I could discard the ND400 and just go with a stopped down lens and ISO of 50.
Another photographer who’s work I admire is Franco Fontana, one shot turned out slightly like his work with strong dark seas and golden skies. Again nowhere as good but like all things having an eye out for the potential is part of the way in which ones photography will improve.
Hope you like them. The chasing Sugimoto set:
The one image akin to Fontana’s work.