Waiting on Rain

Above is a “bokeh panorama,” spontaneously taken this afternoon. Here is the story on the photograph. My twins are proudly sporting their new umbrellas, umbrellas earned through a day of successful potty training. My oldest won an exotic (and pricey) leopard tortoise in potty training. The twins received umbrellas that were just a few dollars each…and were just as happy, if not more (you overshoot so far with the first child). We’ll they wanted to give the umbrellas a test run, so I told them I would take them down to the park and perhaps it might rain. There was, after all, a 5% chance on the cloudless day :). I brought the camera but didn’t plan on bugging them with it. I like to sometimes take them on outings with my camera and not march them around for pictures so that they don’t equate me holding a camera with being bossed around. When I turned on the sidewalk near this opening, I saw them standing there “waiting for rain.” I had my 50mm/f1.4 attached and knew I couldn’t get the circle area and the benches without much depth of field from where I was standing, but if I got any closer they would scatter. So basically photographing my kids is like photographing wildlife. Then the Brenizer Method popped in my head.

I snapped a photo of them first, and then noticed I shot at f2.8 instead of 1.4. For this method you usually want the lowest f-number available with below f2 the preferred. But there was no turning back so I snapped on, taking I think a total of 18 photos, and then stitched together in PS. I missed a bit on exposure with some blown highlights on the umbrella, of which Michael became a photo saver with offering up a processing tip on how to deal with this scenario, and it worked perfectly. You can read Michael’s post here about the recovery technique. In sum, if highlights are clipped, it’s because the color space couldn’t grab the data, leaving them colorless and “white.” If you change the color space to LAB in Photoshop, you extend that space and it allows you to put color back in, albeit it is a manual coloring ordeal. So where the umbrellas were white, I was able to paint back in some pink, and impossible task in RGB. Thanks, Michael! I then saved the photo, brought it back into PS, and then applied a cross-process emulation. I have done this technique before, but never at f2.8 (always f1.4). The smaller aperture didn’t bring out as much blur, but I like a few of the added details you wouldn’t get from f1.4.

16 thoughts on “Waiting on Rain

  1. Adorable!

    I’m with Sallyann, the tech details are too much for me. I make what I think is pretty good use of Lightroom 3 and my Nik plug-ins, but the fancy stuff is beyond me.

  2. Great image and work. The bokeh combined with the rich colour gives it a dream like feel, like you’ve wandered down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.

  3. Brandon, I think f/2.8 worked out great! f/1.4 may have reduced the depth but I never would have noticed a need for that had you not mentioned it (I still don’t see the need — looks good). Glad you found a good use for the LAB trick!

  4. This one’s a beauty Brandon. I struggle with using this technique (the bokeh panorama) not because I don’t like the results, but because I really don’t like the processing time. I don’t find CS3 is great with memory management and it often crashes on me when I’m trying to combine images like this. 15 to 18 images is my max – after that PS hangs it up.

    BTW, the Lab trick sounds like another DDT post…

    1. Thanks, Mike. What size are you shooting? If you are shooting over med jpeg for this, it can be harsh on the processors. But I agree, while not complicated, it can be consuming as another option is to batch 5 at a time, save as a .tiff and then batch all the .tiff files together. Yuck. I was thinking the same thing about the LAB trick. I’m trying to find a good example. The blown highlights on the umbrella were small and the recoloring hue wasn’t that noticeable although it worked. I’m hoping to get something together soon to keep the content flowing over on DDT.

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