panorama

2 June 2015

Phra Nang Beach panorama

Posted in: landscape, panorama, thailand|

Featured photo – Phra Nang Beach panorama

This is another image from Thailand – it shows panorama of Phra Nang Beach during early morning hence the beach was pretty empty and there were just a few boats (around 12 – 2 pm there are sometimes quite a few).

Phra Nang Beach panorama
(more…)

22 May 2015

30 million views on my photo

Posted in: astrophotography, landscape, panorama, thailand|

30 million views on my photo

IMG_9327-Edit_3That is really insane but my photo, the one on the right, has been recently viewed 30 million times on Google+ platform because apparently Google decided to share this photo on their Chromecast service. To put this into perspective there are 38 million people living in Poland so almost that many people as my whole country has viewed this image already. Anyway 30 million is a really great & impressive result and what’s even better it’s still rising really fast (just yesterday, the photo got around 2.5 million new views!) so hopefully it’ll get past 50 million mark pretty soon πŸ™‚

Featured photo – Starry Sky over Koh Lipe island

For today I chose yet another image from Thailand (BTW I still have tons of great unprocessed images from there – anyone eager to help πŸ™‚ ? maybe small post-processing competition? ) – one I’m really fond of. It was taken on one starry night on Koh Lipe island in Satun province and even though Milky Way was too faint to be visible on the photo due to terrible light pollution over nearby islands the sky still looks quite impressive. Especially when viewed in large size so I recommend clicking on this image and see it in bigger size. In fact I think that I will print this image on large canvas. If you would like to, you can buy one from here.

I will take this opportunity to mention that if you would like to learn how to capture photos of starry skies like that, you can read my tutorial about that.

As you probably noticed it’s a panorama. I used about dozens of vertical frames to create it. What’s quite interesting is that I initially tried to use Merge to Panorama feature in Lightroom 6 but it failed completely with some useless message telling that it can’t merge – sorry. PTGui didn’t have any issues with it. It even didn’t work slower than normally despite the fact that dark photos are generally more challenging for merging. Generally in my tests PTGui still performs much better – it’s much faster than Lightroom panorama feature and produce better stitched results not to mention numerous useful features and ability to control stitching process. It isn’t that much surprising as it is a specialized software (I have exact same thoughts about HDR – dedicated software is still better than Lightroom’s one for me – expect some test soon).

Hmm thinking about this, it looks that I still haven’t reviewed PTGui on my blog. Will have to do that πŸ™‚

Starry Sky over Koh Lipe island (more…)

3 April 2015

My take on smartphone photography

Posted in: hdr, landscape, panorama, thailand, thoughts|

My take on smartphone photography

Up to now I wasn’t great fan of smartphone photography (in fact I avoided it as much as I could) as I was pretty sure the results would be of poor quality, blurry, with low dynamic range, noisy. And with my previous phone they definitely were. But this might change as I recently discovered that my Samsung S5 has quite a capable camera. Apart from using my mighty DSLR, in Thailand I took a looot of smartphone photos. A few of them left me really impressed by what those modern smartphones can do. Dynamic range is quite good, sharpness is very good and colours rendition is very natural. Even in low-light it worked quite well most of the time. There is quite a lot of noise but I still found the photos perfectly acceptable. The only thing I miss on Samsung S5 are manual exposure controls as the only setting I can change is ISO and exposure bias. I cannot set exposure time nor aperture to what I want. RAWs would be nice too but I can live without them (and they would eat phone’s memory pretty quickly I guess).

All that is really impressive. I recently read an article on PetaPixel which seems to explain why smartphone cameras are that good nowadays – it seems that 92% of phone users take photos with their smartphones and 36% find quality of camera to be key to decision of buying a phone! So many phone users actually think of their smartphones as cameras. For many it is probably the only camera they have.

I will start to think that way too probably because I don’t carry my DSLR camera with me all the time, but I do carry my phone so it’s good to know I have powerful camera in my pocket whenever I need it.

Here’s a little example. Below panorama was shot and stacked on my smartphone. It isn’t perfect but still looks quite nice. And it was created pretty much automatically. In Lightroom I just increased vibrance and contrast a little bit as I found the results a little bit too flat for my liking.

Railay Beach at Sunset

Daily photo – Railay beach at Sunset

When I had been initially planning my Thailand trip a few months ago I intended to spent whole 2 weeks in one place – on Railay peninsula in Krabi province – which is photographer’s paradise. But then I read that this place is becoming really boring after more than 2 – 3 days, that there is nothing you can do while being there. And I trusted those opinions and altered my plan (not that I regret as I visited another fantastic place). Lesson learnt: don’t believe in opinions of non-photographers.

Generally speaking this place is amazing and even after 8 days there I could find something new to do. I did a lot of swimming, some kayaking, I went on a few trips to nearby islands and spent some time trying local cuisine. If I would had stayed longer I would probably give rock climbing a try (BTW if you’re climbing there are a few nice vantage points on Railay peninsula from which you could take some amazing photos). And yeah, this place is just amazing for landscape photography as you could already see from some of my other posts like this or this. Sunsets look really beautiful when you have such amazing cliffs in a foreground (or background depending how you compose your shots).

Here’s another photo from Railay, taken during sunset. The place was rather busy at that day so there are a few people in the frame but anyway πŸ™‚

Railay Beach at Sunset

And finally EXIF info for this image:
Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review)
Lens: Canon 16-35 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 20 mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure time: 1/8 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1.0 EV
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.7, Photoshop CC 2014, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Detail
30 January 2015

Lanzarote – Land of Volcanoes

Posted in: Canary Islands, landscape, panorama|

Daily photo – Lanzarote – Land of Volcanoes

Today I would like to share panorama photo I took more than 2 years ago on island of Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Below panorama shows Timanfaya National Park, located in southern part of the island. Many of the volcanoes in the park are still active, despite last big eruptions took place in 19th century, and in fact whole park is very geologically active. Due to this activity just a few centimeters under the ground temperature reaches 100 Β°C. And at about 10 meters it’s already 600 degrees! Walking there is like walking on a ticking bomb. But the views are extraordinary!
After reading above you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that alternative name of the park is Fire Mountains (MontaΓ±as del Fuego).
 
BTW make sure to click on the photo to view it in large size as it looks much better this way!
Lanzarote - Land of Volcanoes

Camera Info

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK II
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 65 mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure time: 1/160 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 200
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: no
Filters: circular polarizing filter
Technique: panorama
Software: Magic Lantern, Lightroom 5.4, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Detail
22 January 2015

Cenote in Mexico

Posted in: hdr, mexico, panorama|

Daily photo – Cenote in Mexico

HDR panorama of one of the many cenotes in Mexico

Today I would like to share this HDR panorama taken in one of the cenotes in Mexico. I already shared one version of this image in the past… but I like this one a big more.

Finally some EXIF information:

Technical details:
Camera: Sony NEX-6
Lens: Sony 10-18 f/4
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure time: 5 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 200
Number of exposures: 55
E.V. Step: 1.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: panorama, long-exposure, manual blending, luminosity masks
Software: PTGui, Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Adjust
13 May 2014

Panorama of Warsaw

Posted in: architecture, hdr, landscape, panorama, photomatix, Photomatix Pro, warsaw|

Daily photo – Panorama of Warsaw

Today I would like to share HDR panorama from Warsaw, Poland.

Original panorama is very wide and has almost 200 megapixels but unfortunately I had to crop it on the sides to make it look better on my blog. Otherwise it didn’t look nice here. I also recommend viewing it in large by clicking on the image below.

Panorama of Warsaw

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review here)
Lens: Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS USM (read my review here)
Focal length: 221 mm
Aperture: f/7.1
Exposure time: 0.4 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 200
Number of exposures: 5 x 20
E.V. Step: 1.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.3, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity
17 April 2014

Gorgeous Sunset in Warsaw

Posted in: hdr, landscape, panorama, reflection, warsaw|

Daily photo – Gorgeous Sunset in Warsaw

For a few days this week I had been planning some sunset photography in my home town but everyday it was raining and there was no sunset at all – just some boring ugly grey clouds covering whole sky and terribly flat light. But yesterday despite it was raining almost whole day just an hour before sunset the weather changed. I saw sky finally! There was hope! So I packed my gear and went to the Vistula river bank and waited for the sunset. And there it was with some amazing reds, blues and purples. It was really worth the wait!
And today the sun is shining since morning so hopefully there will be another gorgeous sunset. Yes, hopefully.
For below photo I decided to take a HDR panoramic photo to show almost whole sky. I also decided to close the frame on both sides using a bridge on one side and river bank on the other. This resulted in a nice panorama with 2:1 aspect ratio.
If you’re interested in learning more about HDR photography, make sure to read my free HDR tutorial eBook.
BTW it was the first photoshoot I did with my ‘regular gear’ after testing my Sony NEX-6. And you know what – dimensions and weight of my Canon 5D MK III are now difficult to accept πŸ™‚ it’s so heavy! But I can at least take a lot of shots with it on a single battery πŸ˜‰
Sunset in Warsaw

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review here)
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 24 mm
Aperture: f/7.1
Exposure time: 1/8 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 5 x 6
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masking, panorama
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.3, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity
9 March 2014

Beach at Night

Posted in: astrophotography, landscape, long-exposure, mexico, panorama|

Astrophotography – where Sony NEX-6 is not enough

As you could read in my review just a few days ago, Sony NEX-6 camera is a really great mirrorless camera that can be used in many cases instead of much heavier DSLR. Where it didn’t work for me, however, is astrophotography. Or I should rather say landscape photography featuring night sky as astrophotography is something much more complex that usually involves photographing distant galaxies and stars.
The noise produced by NEX-6 sensor, which is rather low, is still too high in most cases – at least for me. Also I don’t own any good and fast prime wide angle lens for NEX system at the moment, and quite frankly I don’t intend to buy one (as my primary system is still Canon). And even if I did, I’m not sure if that lens could beat my excellent Canon f/1.4 L II. Which I really love for images it produces.
And as you can see here I really like this kind of photos. Stars make the images look surreal or out of this world.

Daily photo – Beach at Night

Despite what I said in the paragraphs above I still made some attempts in capturing night sky while I was in Mexico. I had to, as the sky there was absolutely gorgeous with thousands of stars (I don’t remember seeing such clear sky in a long while). I was about 100km from Cancun where number of hotels was much lower so there wasn’t that much of light pollution.

And today photo shows one of these attempts. It is a bit similar in concept to one of my other photos, Have a rest under the sky which I took in 2012 on Fuerteventura island. I just regret that I wasn’t able to capture more stars in below image. Maybe next time.

BTW if you would like to learn more about star photography, make sure to read my free tutorial.

Beach at night

Finally some EXIF info:
Technical details:
Camera: Sony NEX-6 (read my review here)
Lens: Sony E 10-18 f/4
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure time: 30 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 1600
Number of exposures: 7
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: long-exposure, panorama, luminosity masks
Software: PTGui, Lightroom 5.3, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity