Wonderful Silence

This one, and the photograph from my previous post, are from one of my wooded haunts near Lake Bistineau, an area that has suffered immensely over the last few years with an invasive water plant species and then our horrible drought (adding many wildfires). We’ve had a rather wet winter so some water has returned, but general interest in the area of lake goers or fisherman has dropped dramatically. That is also one of the main reasons I frequent the place. A few areas are gated and require fees to enter, but the bored and stolid park ranger always waves me by and tells me to have at it. On this particular morning, it was a beautiful, windless overcast and sodden morning. It was a nice change of pace from my three endlessly chatting little girls at home. I love them dearly, but every now and then good ol’ silence is adequate fulfillment.

I shot this stitched panoramic right after photograph I posted yesterday. I scaled down the breadth of landscape, taking between 10-15 shots. And again, I manually moved my focal point between exposures. I would have liked less blur in the foreground, but that image had a focus area I needed for the composition and I couldn’t figure out a good workaround in post. So there are a few kinks I still need to work out with controlling the depth of field. This one was also shot with a 50mm @ f1.4. For toning, I tweaked the greens and oranges in Lightroom to bring them out a bit, and hiked the contrast up a bit to get the trunks to darken. Then I applied a cross-processing filter from CEP.

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8 thoughts on “Wonderful Silence

  1. Brandon…I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried applying the blur as a post-processing technique to a sharp (as shot) image? I’m guessing you have and found it wanting, because it SEEMS (that’s the key word here–“seems”) as though it would be a lot easier to execute, with a much greater margin for error. Or perhaps the image you’re executing makes a wide DOF in one frame nearly impossible? (One potential solution to that would be a program like Helicon Focus, or some other focus stacking PP software.)

    In any case, please don’t take any of this as criticism, as that’s not at all my intent. I’m simply curious.

    • I had the same musings, Kerryl. It’s a tedious on site process in which I agree, might be better suited for post. And since you are dependent on software for the stitching, there isn’t a “purist” excuse not to (you are already at the process party!) Photoshop has a lens blur filter that can be used, but I haven’t been blown away with the results. I think it is because real “bokeh” blur changes over the perspective, with different levels of blur happening in different areas. The lens blur is kind of a one-swipe blur. However, like every PS tool, it isn’t meant to be a one-stop deal, so adding layer masks can render more natural lens blur. I haven’t ever checked out Helicon Focus, but I know Alien Skin and OnOne software both have a DOF/blur plugin, the Alien Skin one drawing pretty good review. Keep in mind, though, this wasn’t a true application of the Brenzier Method because I choose to move my focal point around. Here is a link to the traditional technique: http://blog.buiphotography.com/2009/07/the-brenizer-method-explained-with-directions/. The margin of error isn’t probably as strong when doing it that way.

  2. “Photoshop has a lens blur filter that can be used, but I haven’t been blown away with the results. I think it is because real “bokeh” blur changes over the perspective, with different levels of blur happening in different areas. The lens blur is kind of a one-swipe blur. However, like every PS tool, it isn’t meant to be a one-stop deal, so adding layer masks can render more natural lens blur. ”

    Agreed that a single blur swipe wouldn’t do the trick…I was thinking about applying a Gaussian blur to the entire image, adding a hide-all layer mask and then applying a radial gradient to the mask. The center of the gradient point would be the “sweet spot” for focus, and of course you’d have full control over how “rapidly” the blur effect would take over depending upon exactly how you applied the gradient to the mask. Regardless, it would seem to me that this would at least have the potential of mimicking an in-camera bokeh effect pretty well. Of course this is all in theory; I haven’t actually tried it or anything. Just food for thought.

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