Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moorea Lagoon – a photo essay

Moorea Lagoon – a photo essay

The lagoon in the South Pacific island of Moorea in French Polynesia is an idyllic vacation paradise. Please enjoy these images.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


A Travel Image Brief from Interface Images

How I captured this image:

This marvelous old man sits in his canoe at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An Vietnam an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century . He patiently waits for tourists to walk along the bank of the village lake saying with with broken English words "pictures for a dollar". A Travel Image Brief from Interface Images[/caption] I gladly gave him a dollar took his photograph and then took the time to turn my camera around to show him his photo on the LCD screen. I must have been the first person in weeks to do that because his face lit up with a huge smile and chuckle.

I needed his attention because my first photo was awful as he was looking into the sun with hot spots and blown out highlights on his face. Most of the tourists that visited Hoi An that day were from a cruise ship, a 2-3 hour drive away, so most snapped his photo at noon with glaring mid day sun and contrasty haze then moved on not realizing how their bad photo can be corrected easily. Having his attention and after waiting for the crowd to disperse I waved my hand in a circular motion to get him to turn his canoe around so the sun was behind him while I pulled out my 70-200 mm lens and moved further back to zoom in and create a narrow depth of field. To properly expose his shaded face and blow out highlights in the debris filled lake I guessed at a camera exposure value (EV) of +2.0 and spot focused in his eyes then recomposed.

An alternative was to stay close and use flash to lighten up his face but I would lose much of his wonderful facial feature lines and old character. A quick glance at my LCD confirmed the dramatic effect I was looking for as I sensed a "once in a lifetime" type of photo op was upon me. As I teach digital and travel photography worldwide I decided to bracket more shots at +1 and 0.0 EV to demonstrate the benefit of taking the camera off automatic, over exposing using no flash and zooming in for a narrow depth of field. Out of the 10,000 images in my Interface Image s online archives  this one is the most viewed image by far. This image is used frequently in my own photography and camera classes and workshops to demonstrate camera exposure value settings and is featured in my Online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips and Techniques Course .

Camera SettingsCanon 20D with Canon 70-200 IS L lens| Exposure 1/250sec @ f/8 | ISO 400 | Focal Length 200mm
Location: UNESCO World Heritage site at ancient Hoi An, Vietnam
Light and Composition Magazine announcement:: http://bit.ly/15K9YeF
David's Blog post: http://bit.ly/16bvDw3
Faces of the World Gallery: http://bit.ly/YTNDYW
Order Fine Art Print - Hoi An Fisherman by David Smith:  http://fineartamerica.com/featured/hoi-an-fisherman-david-smith.html

For more information contact David Smith  dave@imagebyinterface.com cell 604-818-7662  www.interfaceimages.com

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Easy Panorama Travel Images – Part 2

A Fine Art Print
A Fine Art Print

Easy Panorama Travel Images - Part 2                                                           © 2013 David Smith www.interfaceimages.com

Using your camera to capture panoramic images was covered in a recent Blog post: Easy Panorama Travel Images - Part 1. After capturing the multiple set of images with your camera, stitching of your panorama images is easy with today's stitching software. Note that some cameras stitch the images in camera or use a video capture technique without requiring a computer and software. This post covers software techniques.


Before merging the images into a panorama you need to decide on the final size of the panorama photograph and to match that size with your own printer or photo finishers capability. A common panorama aspect ratio (i.e width:height) is 4:1,5:1 or 6:1. A typical image resolution for printing is 300 pixels per inch so a 100 in wide x 20 in. tall panorama print (a 5:1 aspect ratio) requires a crop width of 100 in x 300 pixels/inch = 30,000 pixels and a height crop of 20 in. x 300 pixels/inch = 6,000 pixels. In short, 30,000 x 6,000 pixels. Simply select your crop dimensions for 30,000 x 6,000 pixels and set the resolution in the crop tool to 300 pixels/inch and voila you have a crop!
]Decide in image sizes before select the crop

Decide on image size before select the crop[/caption]

Watch edges and key components before final crop is done

Watch edges and key components before final crop is done

Some online printing services may restrict image file size so your huge panorama file may not be accepted. Check the uploading specifications for your printer service as some may accept lower resolution (as low as 100 pixels per inch), compressed files or smaller dimensions for upsizing.  Alternately deliver the image file directly. Expect file sizes in the range of 10 Megabytes to 50 Megabytes and more depending on the camera megapixels, number of images used in creating the panorama, cropping, image resolution and jpg compression or quality settings used.
The screen snapshots in this post are taken from Adobe Photoshop CS4's "Photomerge" tool which is identical to Photoshop Elements (9 and up) File/New/Photomerge tool. Most scenic and travel panoramas involve subjects which are a long distance from the camera so shooting handheld and leaving the software default settings and options on the wizards works well. In some cases, particularly for closer architectural images, you may need to experiment with image layout and image distortion correction option settings to get a good merge. Sometimes just repeating the software process creates a better merge.


Select your panorama  series images using the "photomerge" tool
Select your panorama series images using the "photomerge" tool

The default settings work well with scenic panoramas. Experiment with various options as necessary
The default settings work well with scenic panoramas. Experiment with various options as necessary

When your subject is closer to the camera, within 50 feet or so, you can get parallax errors associated with the fact that the optical center of the camera is not the same as the tripod screw pivot point or center point of a handheld sequence. In such cases the camera position needs to move forward or backward  to minimize this type of distortion using somewhat expensive ($200 plus) adjustment mounts or like I do jury rigging off tripod center camera mounts with screws and metal pieces for a few dollars. To correct perspective distortion and correct buildings falling in (i.e. vertical lines are not vertical) in Photoshop CS or Elements use Select/All and the Edit/Transform/Perspective options then select and drag the tiny corner boxes for vertical true lines. Watch for an upcoming  Blog post this month  entitled "Easy Correction of  Perspective Distorted Travel Images" 


In addition to the easy to use panorama tool wizards in Adobe (www.adobe.com) Photoshop CS (CS2 and up) and Photoshop Elements (9.0 and up), software supplied with some cameras and other software solutions are available. Other panorama stiching software includes the free Hugin Panorma Photosticher (www.hugin.sourceforge.net), PTgui (€ 79 and up) from www.ptgui.com and panatour (€99.00) from www.kolor.com.


I have recently added a high quality World panoramic fine art print collection to my Fine Art America online print gallery including 360 degree views of the interior of Grand Central Station in New York City (in color and black and white) , snowy city skyline of Vancouver, BC, Monaco harbor in the French Riviera, Portofino in the Italian Riviera , Santorini caldera and newly uploaded Cape Town Skyline at sunset and the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.  Most of my panoramic fine art prints have been dramatically enhanced with the Adjust 5.0 "Spicify" plug-in (usable in most software products) from Topaz Labs.

Use the Select/All and Edit/Transform/Perspective to straighten verticals
Use the Select/All and Edit/Transform/Perspective to straighten verticals


You are welcome to post links to your online panorama images in the comments below or join and upload your travel images to my Facebook Group:  Travel Photography Tips and Photo Adventures. I will award complimentary lifetime access to my online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips &  Techniques Course  for the best panoramic image submitted before May 31/13.

About the author:  David Smith is a world travel photographer, travel writer, travel photo blogger, photo instructor and guest lecturer on cruise ships, photo conferences and corporate events.  He has visited 100 countries on 6 continents and is published worldwide.  Recent clients include National Geographic -Poland, Wall Street  Journal, Seabourn Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines,  Geo Saison and Frommers. Web sites:  Interface Images online archives ,  Fine Art Print Galley,  online photo training courses, Facebook page and Facebook Travel Photo group.  Contact

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