Friday, June 29, 2012

West Palm Beach 360 Degree Panorama

West Palm Beach 360 degree panorama, Copyright 2012 Robert Giordano

This is one of the first panoramas I've made with my new Nodal Ninja 3 panoramic head. For this shot, I used the Nodal Ninja to take 8 photos at 45 degree increments. The Nodal Ninja also allows you to position the camera to eliminate parallax.

I used Hugin to stitch the images together on my Macbook Pro. Hugin is free and very powerful but it has a little bit of a learning curve. There are numerous features I haven't even played with yet. After using Hugin, I ended up with a nice, wide, rectangular panorama.

Finally, I brought my "normal" panoramic image into Photoshop and used Polar Coordinates to create the image you see here. There are many tutorials on the web that explain how to do this, although I found some variation between them. At some point, I might do a complete tutorial of my own but I'm still figuring out some details and I don't like to teach something until I've mastered it myself. =)

Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/8 8s ISO 400 x 8 images.
Manfrotto tripod. Fanotec Nodal Ninja 3 w/RD16 Rotator.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Keeley Lynn Graveyard Shoot

Photo of Keeley Lynn in a graveyard, Copyright 2012 Robert Giordano

Today I did an impromptu shoot with my friend Keeley Lynn. The weather wasn't great but we wanted to do something outdoors. I knew of this little old graveyard off of the 17th St Causeway and I think it worked perfectly.

Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/5.6 1/125 ISO 400.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nikon D800 Sharpness Test - Tikidoll Sakura

Nikon D800 test photo, part 1 of 2, showing an area that will be enlarged in photo 2 of 2, Copyright 2012 Robert Giordano Nikon D800 test photo, part 2 of 2, showing the enlarged area outlined in photo 1 of 2, Copyright 2012 Robert Giordano

The two photos above are from one of the first test shoots I did with my new Nikon D800 camera. My friend Tikidoll Sakura modeled one of her latest outfits. The area outlined in the first photo is enlarged in the second photo. Click on the second photo to see a 1:1 view of this area. No additional sharpening was applied to the image. I say "additional" because some sharpening is done in the camera at its default setting.

Before I purchased the D800, I was a little worried about sharpness because 1) many people were talking about it, and 2) Nikon offered a second version of the camera, the D800E. Nevertheless, I bought the regular D800 and I'm glad I did. After examining the images from this shoot, I cannot imagine the need for anything sharper. You can count the individual threads in the straps of the model's garter belt!

All of this extra sharpness actually created more work for me. I found myself retouching tiny little spots and specks that you would never see when the image is resized for the web or even for small print. I could have applied a small amount of blur or one of my noise filters to clean up the image but I wanted to leave the overall image untouched in order to demonstrate the sharpness of this camera.

Although the sharpness of the D800 goes beyond my expectations, some users might have trouble getting super sharp photos. This camera will test the limits of your lenses. If you are not using one of Nikon's sharpest lenses, you will not get the same results shown here. Also, I manually focus all of my shots to get the best results. You might find the camera is a little less forgiving when you are focusing. Because the D800 is a full frame camera, your depth of field will appear shallower than a DX camera, for a given lens.

Nikon D800 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/8 1/125 ISO 100.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pineapple Grove, Delray Beach, FL

Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach, FL, Copyright 2012 Robert Giordano

Tonight, I was wandering around Delray Beach again. I was looking for something unusual to photograph but nothing was really jumping out at me. I've photographed Delray many times before and I have a number of long exposures with trails from car taillights and so on. I just wanted something different. Earlier, I was talking to a woman who was also walking around with her camera, trying to get some interesting shots. One of her shots was a palm tree in Pineapple Grove, that was wrapped with "light rope". While her picture was nice, I wanted something more. I walked over to Pineapple Grove to see if anything there would inspire me. First, I climbed up in one of the planters and literally hugged one of the palm trees, in an effort to get an interesting shot. I was looking straight up the trunk of the tree. Nope, didn't do it. Finally, I reached in my bag and took out my fisheye lens. I lay down in the middle of the courtyard, flat on my back, with my head firmly against the ground, and took this shot. People thought I was nuts. One man came over to me with his wife and said he had to know what I was doing. I showed him the picture in my camera and he said, "Oh wow!! That's amaing!" and showed it to his wife.

Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/2.8 1/4s ISO 800.