3rd May 2013, 05:41 AM
Here's a panorama taken a couple of nights ago showing the quiet end of Dubai Marina:
Probably best to click on the image, and then view at full size for a little more detail
3rd May 2013, 06:37 AM
3rd May 2013, 06:33 PM
Re: Dubai Marina
Very good quality image Phil. The composition works well I think.
3rd May 2013, 07:12 PM
Re: Dubai Marina
Agreed, Wonderful shot Phil. Perfectly exposed, you can look inside their windows. Great detail everywhere you look.
3rd May 2013, 11:54 PM
4th May 2013, 09:22 AM
Re: Dubai Marina
I am going to be very rude and not beat around the bush. I am now picking on you because I like your work so much.
It was sad to see you go and I gave you a good reason why it was sad to see you go. Now you are back in full force and I am glad to see you posting these wonderful images again.
To me these beautiful images mean nothing, zero, ziltsj. I am not learning anything from it. The only reason I am a member of this forum is because I would like to learn from others. You are one of those members others can learn so much from.
You dish up these magnificent images, eye candy. They are very nice to look at but I do not want to simply look at beautiful images, I would like to know how you did it. How did you get the exposure so perfect? How did you get the focus so perfect? How did you get the perspective so perfect? How much time did you spend on PP to get the image looking so good? I am well aware that the Nikon you use is a great tool in capturing such great images. My question to you is: how do you use it to achieve such great results?
Phil, are you prepared to share with us, the novice members, how you do it? That is what I would like to know, how did Phil do it?
I do not mean any offence with this post. I do not wish to offend anybody. What I sometimes feel is that members do not always wish to share the know how on capturing great images. What am I doing on this forum if I am not granted the opportunity to learn from the “greats” amongst the members, those whom have learned to use the tools of the trade to the best of their ability?
Sorry Phil, for picking on you. I just think you will understand what I am trying to say.
PS. I hope you realize that many of your images have commercial value and you should consider selling your work.
4th May 2013, 10:50 AM
Re: Dubai Marina
Andre, no offense taken, I think! You're saying that my images have commercial value, and then want me to share my secrets!?! I do sell a few images for stock and local companies but do not have the time to pursue full time unfortunately. With baby 2 on the way, I'm sure my wife would prefer my steady salary income to a new photography venture!
I've always given information on how I've shot images in the past. In Dubai there are many photographers out there, and I have given location secrets away too, which is eerie when you see a photo which is just like yours but slightly different in the local forums and press!
Workflow is easy, anyone can do this. For a scene like this the first thing I do is look at the scene as a whole and meter for the brightest portion of the image. In this case it was the overpowering lights around the bridge and building on the left.
Taking the images:
Once I have a exposure for the brightest part of the scene, I then pick a focal length that will cover the scene to give me enough detail and overlap between shots. Zoom in too much and I will not have detail in the top left of the finished panorama to stitch together effectively, risking either a lack of sky on the top left of the image or having to fill that in with copied areas of sky from the rest of the image - this is time consuming in pp and sometimes does not look natural.
In this case, I opted for around 50mm on my 24-70mm zoom. This gave me two rows of overlapping images, shot in portrait orientation, and around 5-6 images per row. focal length was 48mm, I think.
Obviously I am on a tripod and want optimum IQ, so I'm going with my base camera ISO of 200. For aperture, I wanted a aperture to give me optimum sharpness, so I'm generally in the f8 to f16 range. I'm not generally bothered where I am in this range, and I usually select based on my optimum exposure, not wanting it to be too long and needing an intervalometer for my longer shot. e.g. if my optimum exposure is 25 secs at f8, I don't want to go to f11 as I'll need 50 secs and a remote timer. As all my images were less than 30 seconds, I did not opt for a remote release but used my in camera timer (set at 2 seconds) to reduce camera shake.
Next up was focusing. Everything was pretty much at infinity, so I focused on one of the buildings and then switched my lens to manual focus to lock focus.
Next up was taking the images themselves. I knew my optimum exposure for the brightest part of the scene. In this image, as it was a nightscape, I didn't want my final image to be too bright, so I bracketed up to my brightest exposure reading. I shot 5 images for each position in the panorama, with exposures of -4, -3, -2, -1 and 0EV. Yes, you could shoot just 3 images at -4, -2, and 0EV - I don't know why, but I generally shoot at 1EV increments. My camera has a viewfinder shutter which helps considerably - it stops unwanted light entering via the viewfinder on the longer shots in particular. I use this during each shot in the panorama, and then flick it open to recompose for the next shot.
Once all the shooting is done, onto the computer work:
I'm using 4 pieces of software in my workflow - you can get away with just 1 for sure, but I think I've found my optimum way of processing these panoramas and it doesn't take too long.
1. Importing. I import all RAW files through Lightroom, and apply some basic changes. Lens profile, noise reduction (if required), WB changes (if required - I shoot with manual WB in camera in around the 3000K range for these panos but fine tune if necessary). Once done, I synch all the images and save as 16 bit .tif files.
2. Blending. I'm using Photomatix to blend my files. I generally use Exposure Fusion (as here) to get the look that I want for one image in the panorama, and then process the others in exactly the same way. This then gives me 1 x 16 bit .tif file for each part of the panorama.
3. Stitching. I'm using PTGui to stitch. This also has the ability to blend HDR/Exposure Fusion images during the stitch, but you lose control. So you can get by without point 2 above. PTGui aligns the images after you have imported and as long as you have good overlaps does a very good job. Once aligned, you can fine tune by selecting vertical control points. For example, the vertical straight line in the lozenge shaped building, separating the balconies, if known to be truly vertical, so I tell the software to make this vertical in the pano. It's best to assign vertical control points in each image of the panorama. Once done, I save and export as a 16 bit .tif.
4. Finishing Touches. I'm into Photoshop for finishing touches, which mainly include using some Nik Software Color Efex adjustments to add a little tonal contrast, sort out any WB issues if there are any, dodge and burn as required (generally not needed).
I'm trying to dig up my first attempted panorama, which is a truly scary image to behold. I did everything completely wrong and the results were horrific. As long as you remember to overlap, lock focus, lock exposure, be careful with that zoom ring as you shoot, and watch your WB, then with a little trial and error you can reasonably quickly get a reliably workflow going.
For this shot - shoot time = 20 minutes, pp time = 30 minutes.
Last edited by dubaiphil; 4th May 2013 at 10:55 AM.
4th May 2013, 03:41 PM
Re: Dubai Marina
It is much appreciated that you went to so much trouble, spending so much time in writing that essay. Have I learned something now? Yes – lots and lots.
Realising how much effort and time goes into a shot like that makes me appreciate the shot even more. Now it is not just another beautiful image, it is a masterpiece of patience and creativity.
Giving away secrets as to how a shot is done does not jeopardise your own position: that is what I believe. The artistic, skilful application of that knowledge is what makes the big difference. You can have all the knowledge in the world, if you do not have the skill to apply it, all that knowledge is useless. If we are no longer prepared to share knowledge we should ask ourselves what we are doing on a forum like CiC “A learning community for photographers”. Only my personal opinion. CiC needs people like yourself, to inspire and teach.
I am not going to ask you to go to this much trouble, explaining how you did it, with every shot you post. Maybe we should ask the Mods to introduce a special section where images with, “How I did it”, are posted. Maybe a section for the more skilful amongst the members, where images are posted with accompanying essays like yours. In a few days this valuable post of yours will be lost amongst other posts – it should be kept as reference for others to learn from.
Please Colin, Donald and Dave – how about it? Or perhaps there is something I am missing?
Phil, you should feel flattered if anyone else tries to impersonate your work, it should not be eerie. There are millions of Photographers around the world, only a few have made it to the top. There may be millions of imitations of the Mona Lisa but there is still only one Mona Lisa. How many images of Afghan girls have been captured, there is only one Steve McCurry portrait.
Again, thank you for sharing.
4th May 2013, 04:26 PM
Re: Dubai Marina
You can say that again....
Originally Posted by Donald