Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Smartphone Apps for Boaters (33)

No matter which genre of smartphone you own or are thinking to buy. The apps that are available will have an influence on how happy you are with the phone. There are plenty of top quality apps that you can download. However for me There's always a remarkable sub-selection of apps that are totally free. 

The wonderfully named 'Android' phone seems to have cornered the market in the same way that VHS did with tape systems. Android's open source strategy is the main factor for its success. Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator apps available.

Anyone can take a photograph. This app will help to make you a better inland waterways photographer. 

Learning photography is unique. Often the moment you need to ask a question is the moment you are furthest from home. Now at home or on the go you can get the photography advice and tips you need no matter where you are with the PicturePerfect app. 

PicturePerfect makes learning photography and improving your skills easier than ever by giving you instant access to the Discovery Center’s comprehensive collection of tutorials. These quick and easy-to-follow lessons cover everything you need to know to master your camera. Learn the basics, including setting up your camera, to more advanced elements, such as achieving proper lighting and exposure. Tutorials are carefully categorized and organized according to skill-level, allowing you to find exactly what you’re looking for in just a few easy taps. PicturePerfect is optimized for devices with larger screens such as tablets but will also work on a wide variety of smaller devices. 

Make PicturePerfect your personal teacher and take your photos further!

  1. Find inspiration with a gallery of stunning photos from around the world.
  2. Learn photography by watching easy-to-follow tutorials in a structured course format.
  3. Get written tutorials and sample content to continue your learning offline.
  4. Get access to exclusive one-on-one personalized training with a pro.
Discover even more ways to love learning photography.

Monday, 24 November 2014

HDR photographs (3)

Continued from HDR photographs (2)

I have started messing around more and more with panorama pictures. This time rather than combining the images as you would in creating an HDR image one on top of the other. The panorama is made from overlapping the edges of images to create a sweeping image.

This time you take any number of pictures. But you need to ensure that you don't leave any blank gaps in between the individual images.   When I take a series of photographs I tend to sweep from my left to my right. I look for an object on the right hand side and place that towards the centre of the next image.

You also need to turn off any automatic exposure settings, so that the images are all taken using the same exposure settings. Here is one where the two images are slightly different and the joint can be seen.

Panorama images may might appear to be difficult to create. requiring some wizardry with a photographic editor.  But, it's more a question of choosing the right software application rather than being artistically gifted. I use Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) for creating panoramas because it is so simple and easy to use. 

Microsoft Image Composite Editor is an advanced panoramic image stitcher. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the application creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images.

So you might well be thinking what has creating panoramas to do with HDR photography. Well, I have been experimenting with photographing the same panorama scene at different exposures. then using HDR to combine the two panoramas. I have managed this with up to six images but it requires some manual tinkering.

It has taken a great deal of experimentation to get the technique right. However, sometimes getting the wrong result can make for unusual images. Which all goes to prove the point there is no such thing as a bad photograph.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

HDR photographs (2)

Continued from HDR photographs (1)

Against the Light
If you are stood inside a dark building with a bright light shining into and dazzling your eyes. If you look around and shade your eyes you will be able to make out some of the details. Your eyes adapt to the prevailing conditions. However, if you try to take a photograph nothing will turn out. The problem is not with your camera.  The issue is that the dynamic range (tonal values) of the scene exceeds what the camera is capable of capturing. 

Yet photography against the light can create some very evocative and mood rich images.  Here is one image looking directly at the sun. this creates deep shadows and plenty of reflections.
Shaded Sun

However, it is possible to improve the tonal range of your camera using HDR techniques. To take HDR images (High Dynamic Range) you need a camera set up on a tripod so that the images taken stay in register. Later, when the images are combined together, each overlays over the top of the other. If the images are slightly different the images may be blurred. (more on this later) 

Here is an image where the sun is shaded out by the trees and clouds. Thereby creating a rich strong sunset image where the reflections also play a big part.

However, some DSLR cameras (digital single lens reflex) can take, two, three or more images at different exposures almost instantaneously. My Canon 550D has an option where three photographs are automatically taken, at three different exposure settings. Some modern smart-phones such as the Samsung S4 also have HDR built in to the camera.

There are a number of bits of software that you can download for HDR combining and editing of digital photographic images. Some of the software can also correct images that are out of register. (often called ghosting for obvious reasons)

Fusion-HDR: This program allows you to enhance and combine multiple images. It is also able to separately align and correct hand held images. Best results were obtained using SUM operator rather than HDR operator.

Luminance HDRLuminance HDR is an open source graphical user interface application that aims to provide a workflow for HDR imaging. This software has built in automatic anti-ghosting.
Picturenaut: Picturenaut was born in the German photo community. It has been in the works for four years, with consistent improvements according to user feedback. It has always been freeware, thus setting the standard for making high quality HDR Imaging accessible and easy.

Continued from HDR photographs (3)