Category Archives: News

A700 on Ebay

DSC02410I’ve had to put my A700 up for sale on Ebay. It gave me sterling service for many years and it is a shame for it to sit unused. I hope it finds a good owner who will make the best use of it.

Upcoming Talk: Paisley Colour 29/11/2012

I’ll be speaking at Paisley Colour Photographic Club on Thursday 29th November 2012. I’ll be talking about Panoramic Photography, an updated version of the talk I gave at Photoworld Day in Edinburgh. I’ll focus a bit more on the creative aspect, rather than just the technical workflow. I’ll be bringing prints as well as projecting interactive panoramas to demonstrate the medium.

In other news, I’ve been booked for February 2014 to speak at Kilmaurs Photographic Club. Details to follow a bit closer to the date. I’m not used to being booked so far in advance, it must be a sign of how much I am in-demand :-).

Sunday Times Licences Pano

Silver Birch Grove, Anglesey Abbey

I’ve been contributing to 360Cities.net for many years and have over 150 panorama hosted there. They are all available for licencing and today I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my panorama of the silver birch grove at Anglesey Abbey has been licensed by the Sunday Times for their iPad edition. The royalty cheque won’t make me rich by any means but it is nice to have my work picked up by a national paper.

Panorama Photography Classes

I’m now offering one day classes in panoramic photography. It will cover the basic principles of panoramas, how to take the source imagery, align, assemble, and output the results. By the end of the day, you should be able to produce 360 degree cylindrical panorama or perhaps even a spherical panorama.

For those who already have the basics, I also offer personal tuition covering advanced techniques for overcoming difficult scenes, post-processing/remapping, and constructing VR tours.

Photoworld Talk Addendum

Thanks to all who attended the Edinburgh Photoworld. I hope that people were able to get  something out of my talk. I took a pano at the start of the day (left). The full pano can be seen here. More of my panoramas can be found here.

I have had requests for the links I gave at the end of my talk. Here are some links below, it’s by no means exhaustive, but hopefully they will be able to get you started.

I also run panorama photography courses for medium and advanced photographers. Please contact me if you are interested in attending a session. Small group tuition is also available.

Hardware

  • Nodal Ninja. Recommended manufacturers of panoramic heads.
  • Agnos. Italian manufacturer of panoramic heads.
  • Red-door. UK reseller of panoramic equipment.
  • 360 Tactical VR. Local reseller of panoramic equipment.

Software

  • Hugin. Open source free software for assembling panoramas. (multi-platform)
  • wiki.panotools.org. Information source for panoramic photography.
  • PTGui. Commercial pano software (PC).
  • PTAssembler. Commercial pano software (PC)
  • Calico. Commercial pano software (Mac)

 Viewing

  • Panozona. Open source, free software for constructing VR Tours
  • DevalVR. Free (non-open) local viewer
  • Gigapan. Share gigapixel panos.
  • HD View. Microsoft technology for displaying high resolution panoramas.
  • Zoomify. Software for zoomable display.

General Information

Out with old, in with the new

It’s been a busy week with new arrivals. My Epson 2100 died a few months ago with a clogged magenta channel, no amount of cleaning would restore it so I finally bit the bullet and ordered an R3000. I was sorely tempted by a 3880 but I don’t really do enough printing to justify such a large printer. The R3000 seemed to be what I needed, basically a baby 3880.

Once I managed to get it home, the process of setting it up remained. The old printer went into its box, I vacuumed up half a ton of dust which had gathered around it. I also took the opportunity to install a Blu-ray burner for backing up files, and put away an old PC which I had left lying in backup next to the new one. The new printer was trussed up in travel tape to prevent various parts from flapping around. I installed the 9 ink cartridges and it automatically primed itself in a 10 min performance of Cage’s lesser known work. Drivers were installed and we were ready to go.

Now was the problem of what to print first. The methodical thing to do would be print out something I was familiar with so that I could compare it with a previous print. Of course I didn’t do this but chose something new. I’d been starved of a printer for so long I wanted to see what it could do with one of the images which was piling up. I chose a night scene I took of the Canal du Midi at Homps. The print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl was pretty good, the density in the dark areas much better than what I had been getting with the 2100. The colours also seemed to be suitably saturated.

I then tried profiling the printer for Tetenal Duo Print 130gsm using SpyderPrint 4.2.3. The problem is using the right media settings, the plain paper settings didn’t really give a satisfactory result so I may have to experiment. Switching to matte black may also help (but I don’t want to waste ink, not yet).

Doing some large prints of panos will be the next test. I will try the Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl HDR version see if this gives a better result.

New member of the stable

The NEX-7 just came into widespread availability this week. I was walking past a local camera store and saw the advert on the window and couldn’t resist popping in to have a play. It proved too much for me to resist and I eneded up buying the NEX-7+18-55mm kit from a nearby store which had one to actually sell (the first shop only had the display copy).

What finally tipped me over the edge? The compactness of the body compared with the A77 is a great selling point. Even if comparable lenses do not differ that much in size between the two systems (E-mount and Alpha respectively), for the short primes I intend to use, the reduction in the size of the body is significant. The EVF is the same as in the A77 which I find to be very usable in most situations I have encountered. The accessory shoe will be useful in the studio for triggers. The inbuilt flash will be useful for the odd fill-flash now and again. I hope to be able to use manual focus lenses with adapters. I still have to get used to the Tri-Navi interface but first impressions are that it is a massive improvement over the NEX-5 which I have used in the past.

I hope to obtain the Rokinon 8mm/2.8 fisheye so that I have a very portable pano rig which leaves the A77 mounted with the 16-50mm/2.8 or large aperture prime ready for street/candid shots. The NEX-7 is small enough that I can bring it along as a backup without too much extra hassle. An LA-EA1 will allow me to mount my Alpha mount lenses when I don’t need fast AF (or any AF for screwdriver lenses).

Pictures below were taken with the NEX-7 fitted with the LA-EA1+35mm/1.8 DT SAM using peaking and magnified view, ISO3200, converted from RAW in Lightroom 4 Beta.

In the News

It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. When the James Weir Building at the University of Strathclyde caught on fire, I was nearby with my camera at hand to document the operation to bring it under control. A chance encounter with an editor of The Journal led me to share my photos with the student newspaper. They appear online illustrating the news stories and also forming a photo essay. A few photos may even end up in the print edition this week.