Resolutions

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and are welcoming in a new year. I’m ready to get back in the swing of things. It seems that every year I make more resolutions and uphold fewer. Oh well. For photography, I enjoyed the hiatus. I reviewed countless photos, deleted piles, and worked on figuring out where I was in craft. For this year, I have a few photographic resolutions:

  • Slow down, shoot less: this one is really a quality over quantity area. When I find something I want to photo, too often I over encompass. I try to squeeze every possible photograph from a subject sometimes resulting in finding folders with fifty pictures of a bucket in a street.
  • Focus and finish: I can also get lost in the moss of processing, unnecessarily processing a photo five different ways to return to the original. This resolution has multiple prongs, though. I need to also have a more focused workflow such as camera calibrations and setting up RAW defaults, save PS actions, etc. The “finish” part also ties into subjects. Last year I left behind some interesting photos by shifting attention to fresh material too soon.
  • Experiment more: Self-explanatory and I think pretty much a stock resolution for any photographer.

Having tagged those resolutions, there is no doubt the blog will change a bit this year. There may be less posting, but hopefully of better quality and more interesting. I plan also to focus weekly on a few areas such as a landscape, a portrait, an abstract, etc. Last year I tried to stay chronological to what I was working on, always attempting to post photographs taken the day of or just a few behind.

So, now the above photograph. I’ve been messing around with the Brenzier Method lately (also known as the bokeh-panorama). The method is quite popular in portraits and wedding photography. Reviewing some wedding photography was where I first observed the technique. For those unfamiliar, it is a technique where you set your camera lens to a wide aperture (1.4 ~ 2.8 typically), and take numerous photos of a subject, systematically moving around to get more of wide-angle panoramic. And just like panos, they are then stitched together via software. There are a few other tricks like making sure the exposure and focal point remain constant. The end effects can be quite stunning, getting both an interesting depth of field but also a wide-angled view. I experimented with it in a portrait setting, and then one day, I decided to try it in a more landscape setting with a larger fixed target. The first attempt didn’t pan out well, but did produce some different looks. Then I went a bit against the focus rule, and started moving my focal point between shots. I did this from a tripod to make it less chaotic. I started with a focal point on front of the pier near the water. I then panned the camera to the right and reset my focal point further down the pier. I did this all the way down the pier. Then I started going around the pier, trying my best to move the focal point back into the vicinity. In the end, I stitched 25 images together. (Lesson learned: manually set everything, and shoot in med to small jpeg. I originally shot in RAW with manual exposure, aperture and white balance. Needless to say, it took about thirty minutes to stitch the photo and the file size was 2gb!). I did this with a 50mm @ f1.4.

There were a few glitches in focal point with some splotches of blur here and there on pier. There were likely some photos I could have dropped out the stitch that were not needed. I tried it on a few others and will post them this week if they worked out.

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9 thoughts on “Resolutions

  1. Fascinating concept. I’ve not heard of this technique before. Interesting that it’s used for portraits – the models would really need to be still. That’s a nice image above – interesting focus and great wide perspective.

    • Thanks, Mike! I thought the same thing when I first heard how one was composed. The note is that, yes, the models have to stay very still (so not many bokeh panos on kids!). However though, if you hit the first few shots on the couple, the couple doesn’t matter once you start framing up the spaces around…only have the blur from the shallow DOF does. Here is a tutorial that explains it better: http://blog.buiphotography.com/2009/07/the-brenizer-method-explained-with-directions/. But also, the above is not a true application of this technique as I decided to move my focal point around to try and get the large pier completely focused used an aperture of f1.4.

  2. Pingback: Two of My Boys: Bokeh Panorama « Michael Tuuk Photography

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