Assignment 47: Lose focus For this assignment, we want you to lose focus! The Orton effect is a popular creative style that gives images a bright, dreamlike glow. Abstract photographer Michael Orton first developed the technique in the 1980s in an attempt to imitate watercolour paintings. He did this by sandwiching two slides together of the same composition – one in focus and overexposed, another out of focus and underexposed – to create ethereal results. Today, we can easily replicate this effect using either in-camera multiple exposures, or with computer software . Although it is easier and more precise to apply the effect post-capture, it is fun doing it in-camera. Simply select your camera’s multiple exposure mode. The first frame should be focused sharply as normal, but, for the second, manually defocus the lens. The camera will then blend the sharp and blurred frames together to create one file. Experiment with how much you defocus the lens. SPECIAL KIT l Post-processing software, such as Adobe Photoshop TIPS l This technique particularly suits back- and side-lit scenes, including mist.
ABOVE Make sure the foreground interest complements the background. Here, the steps on the shore of this Italian lake naturally lead the eye to the town in the background
SPECIAL KIT l Wide-angle lens l Hyperfocal distance chart or depth-of-field smartphone app TIPS l Set your camera up high enough when using a close foreground so that you can see over the subject. l Consider shapes when choosing foreground.
To maximise depth-of-field with close foreground interest, use a small aperture and focus at exactly the right distance. The focusing distance that gives maximum depth-of-field is called the hyperfocal distance, and it changes with focal length and aperture. If you focus at the hyperfocal distance, everything from half that distance to infinity will be sharp. You can find the hyperfocal distance for your camera format (for full-frame or APS-C) and focal length/aperture combination by using an app such as PhotoPills or looking online for a hyperfocal distance chart.
If you are using your camera’s built-in multiple exposure mode, set the overlay or blending method to ‘average’ (or similar, depending on the camera make and model) to ensure the combined exposure is correct.
Assignment 16: Create a panorama Panoramic images have an enduring appeal, mainly because they most closely replicate our viewing experience when we look at a big vista: our eyes
panoramas are available – these make lining up your shots easier – but, unless you plan on creating a lot of them, any good, stable head will do. Serious panorama photographers will insist that images should be shot in portrait (vertical) format, which means you will need to shoot seven or more images to provide a wide enough view. It’s certainly true that you will get less distortion if you stitch vertical images, but for this assignment you can shoot in landscape orientation and post-process using the instructions overleaf. As long as you have no close foreground, you won’t run into any serious problems. This also has the advantage of requiring fewer images, and therefore there is less chance of the light changing dramatically in the time it takes to shoot your sequence.
SPECIAL KIT l T ripod l Table tripod head l Bubble spirit level (optional) l Levelling base (optional) l Post-processing software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom TIPS l Make sure your camera is absolutely level. l Shoot in manual exposure mode, so the exposure is consistent across the frames. l Allow extra space at the top and bottom of the image for cropping. l Don’t use a polarising filter. As the camera angle changes, so will the amount of polarisation, which will be uneven across the frames as a result. l Pan the camera between each shot, allowing an overlap of around 30% from one shot to the next.
scan across the scene, taking it all in. The adoption of the widescreen format as standard for TV and movies has arguably boosted their popularity further in recent years. Creating a stitched panorama is a two-stage process. First, you need to take a series of shots, then you need to combine them into a single panoramic image on the computer. Specialist software is available to ‘stitch’ images together, but excellent results can be obtained using the industry standard software, Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Photoshop Elements also has the facility to merge images. Specialist tripod heads for shooting
2. You will see the Panorama Merge Preview dialogue box. You can choose from three projections: Spherical, Cylindrical, and Perspective. Experiment to see which looks best. In this example, Cylindrical gives the best result.
1. Import your images and, in the Library module, select the ones you want to stitch – but don’t process any of them yet. Go to Photo > Photomerge > Panorama.
3. Select Auto Crop to remove undesired transparent areas around the edges of the image.
4. Use the Boundary Warp slider to warp the image to fill the canvas. This allows you to preserve parts of the image on the edges of the frame that may otherwise be lost when cropping.
Field notes Getting the tripod and camera completely level is the key to a good panorama. Use a tripod with a built-in spirit level to help you set up accurately – a levelling base (purchased separately from your
tripod) will make this even easier. Use your camera’s electronic level if it has one or use a hot-shoe mounted bubble level. A pan-and-tilt tripod head or a three-way geared head makes it easier to get your camera level.
5. Click Merge. Lightroom creates a DNG file, which you can then process as you would any other, using Lightroom’s tone controls.
6. The final, post-processed image is stitched together from four horizontal images.
Issue 83 | Photography News 31
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