Month: April 2015

Lightroom 6 Panorama Feature

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Three image stitch in Lightroom 6 from the Canon G16.
Three image stitch in Lightroom 6 from the Canon G16.

One thing that I love to do is shoot panoramic images. I have an XPan Panoramic film camera and for digital I have a number of tripod attachments that allow me to shoot sequences of images for stitching. What I also do a lot of is shoot “informal panoramic sequences” where I hand hold the camera. I enjoy this but to be honest, I seldom get around to stitching these. I will go as far as grouping the images into a stack in Lightroom but then having to export them to Photoshop or Hugin in order to do the stitching is a little bit too much effort for me.

This is where the new stitching tool in Lightroom has taken me by surprise. I didn’t expect to like it very much but in fact I love it. All you need to do is select the images you want to merge and then chose “Photo Merge| Panorama…” from the Lightroom pop-up menu. This provides a dialog where you can select from one of 3 methods of merging the images or select the auto option. There is also an auto crop option to produce the finished image. Usually I am not a big fan of any tool that starts with the word “Auto” but these actually work very well.

The other surprise about the panorama stitching (besides the results being excellent quality) is that you can merge vertical image sequences as well as horizontal. By vertical I am not referring to the camera being held in the portrait format but shooting a sequence where you start at the bottom and move the camera upwards vertically. All this is done automatically before the resulting image file is created and saved into your Lightroom catalogue as a DNG file rather than as a TIFF or JPEG. The DNG format then gives you lots of flexibility to edit the image further.

This is a very well put together solution and for those who are interested I have posted a demonstration video on my Lenscraft website. If you are not already a member, do sign up as it’s completely free.

Now I need to find some HDR image sequences to try out the merge to HDR feature.

Installing Lightroom 6

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Sony RX10, Nantes, France
Sony RX10, Nantes, France

Last week saw the launch of Lightroom Creative Cloud 2015 or Lightroom 6 as most people seem to know it as. On paper the upgrade didn’t look too dramatic with the exception of a new “Merge to…” option which could produce HDR images or Panoramic images. Despite this limited benefit I decided to install the upgrade as being a Creative Cloud subscriber, it costs me nothing.

The install appeared to go smoothly except that the software wouldn’t start up following installation. A friend who was also installing the software at the same time emailed me to say that he was having the same problem but had been advised to sign out of the Creative Cloud and then sign back in again. This appeared to work for him but when I tried it the software still failed to start.

Eventually I decided to remove the install and repeat the installation. Unfortunately the second installation failed with an error. I tried repeating it but it continued to fail. I restarted the PC but still no luck. In the end I waited until the following day when the Creative Cloud desktop tool reported that I had Lightroom CC 2015 installed (which I didn’t).

I decided to uninstall Lightroom and then repeat the installation. This worked fine and the software was installed without further problem. When I came to run Lightroom I had the same problem as the previous day where nothing would happen. I repeated the process of signing out of the Creative Cloud desktop and then signing back in, but again no luck. At this point I thought I didn’t want to waste any more time so opened up a chat session with the Adobe support team.

After about 15 minutes of waiting the strangest thing happened. The new version of Lightroom sprung into life without me doing anything and asked which Lightroom catalogue I wanted to upgrade. One this completed the application opened and has been working fine ever since.

And as it worth the effort? Yes it was.

As for the image, there is no connection with the article other than to say it was converted from a RAW file using the new Lightroom CC.

Friday Image No.54

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Canon G16 - 4 image stitch in Lightroom 6.
Canon G16 – 4 image stitch in Lightroom 6. Processing in Nik Silver Efex.

For this week’s image I thought I would share a Panoramic. This was captured as four images using a Canon G16 compact camera. The resulting stitched image is approximately 21″ x 12″ at 300dpi. The stitching was done using the new Lightroom 6 (Creative Cloud 2015). All I can say is that I’m now addicted to panoramic photography. Lightroom makes it so easy to group and work with images and the resulting file is in DNG format giving lots of flexibility.

I’m very impressed.

 

Don’t do this if you shoot film

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Rollei IR400 film rated at ISO 6 and developed in Rodinal 1:100. Hasselblad XPan + 30mm lens.
Rollei IR400 film rated at ISO 6 and developed in Rodinal 1:100. Hasselblad XPan + 30mm lens.

A couple of weeks back I had a clear out in my study. I have shelves full of books and decided to throw out many of the older ones. I also have stacks of old note books full of random jottings so I pulled out and ripped up all the used pages. It wasn’t until I came to develop some Infrared film from my trip to Malham that I realised I had ripped up all my developing notes – gulp.

This was not a good feeling but as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. In this case I found mine on the Massive Dev Chart website (http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php).

If you have never used this site it’s a great resource to find out development times for different film and developer combinations. But the real bonus for me was that they now have an App. Whilst I had to buy the paid version in order to record my development notes it’s a really great little app.

If you haven’t seen this before and you still use film, it’s well worth checking out.

Interesting Infrared Process

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Olympus EM5 Infrared with processing in Exposure 7 and Nik Color Efex Pro
Olympus EM5 Infrared with processing in Exposure 7 and Nik Color Efex Pro

I have been experimenting with the image from my new Infrared camera and identified a rather interesting look that can be achieved in Nik Color Efex Pro.

You can see the finished image above and shown below is the starting image following RAW conversion and white balance correction in Lightroom.

 

Starting Image
Starting Image

The next image shows the conversion to infrared black and white using Alien Skin Exposure 7. This is one of my favourite tools for Infrared processing as it includes sliders that allow you to control the halation effect (bright glowing areas).

 

Processed in Alien Skin Exposure 7
Processed in Alien Skin Exposure 7

The conversion from this image to the finished image was achieved using a few contrast adjustments in Nik Color Efex but the toning was achieved using the Glamour Glow filter. You can see the filter settings below.

 

Filter settings in Color Efex
Filter settings in Color Efex

I really quite like this effect as the halation glow is further enhanced and the toning can be controlled quite precisely moving from warm to cool.

In case you’re wondering how I got rid of the sun flare, I moved the Cyan slider to 0 in the black and white conversion process.

Friday Image No.53

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EM5 Infrared camera, Olympus 12-40mm lens. 2 image stitch with post production processing in Photoshop, Alien Skin Exposure 7 and Nik Silver Efex.
EM5 Infrared camera, Olympus 12-40mm lens. 2 image stitch with post production processing in Photoshop, Alien Skin Exposure 7 and Nik Silver Efex.

As you may be able to tell, the new EM5 Infrared conversion I had done by ProTech has really taken hold of my enthusiasm. As the days start to draw out and the sun becomes harsher it’s perfect for Infrared. If your love is landscape photography and you find the summer months a frustration, one of the best investments you can make is to have a camera converted.

This is a ridge above Gordale Scar in Yorkshire, England. It’s a two image stitch and the EM5 has performed wonderfully.

Have a great weekend everyone.

An Infrared Day

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Olympus EM5 Converted to Infrared with processing with Lightroom and Alien Skin Exposure 7.
Olympus EM5 Converted to Infrared with processing with Lightroom and Alien Skin Exposure 7.

As planned (and mentioned in my Friday post) I visited Malham in Yorkshire at the weekend. The weather conditions were forecast to be sunny with broken cloud so the intention was to shoot Infrared. I actually intended to shoot mainly infrared film on the XPan using my new 30mm lens. In the end I found myself shooting more with the newly converted infrared EM5. By the end of the day I was convinced the EM5 conversion was a great idea but I still had some reservations about processing the RAW images.

When I returned from my previous trip and first outing of the EM5, I found problems in trying to process the RAW files. For some reason I couldn’t achieve a good white balance with the RAW files in Lightroom. As usual they all came out blood red. You can normally overcome this by creating a bespoke profile using the Adobe DNG editor but for some reason I still can’t explain, I couldn’t get this to work for me. I even started to wonder if I had made a mistake choosing a 665nm conversion.

This time on my return I tried again to create a new profile and it worked first time. I then tried processing the images. Channel swapping to produce false colours seems much easier with the 665nm converted camera, but that wasn’t my objective. Instead I was trying to create a nice Infrared look that was more akin to the traditional Kodak HIE films but retained better definition. I wanted to create something of a cross between Kodak HIE and Ilford SFX (at least in my vivid imagination).

In the end I came up with a custom preset in Alien Skin Exposure 7 which works pretty well with most of the RAW files once they have been white balanced. I hope you like the results.