Raymond Pool – Sun Rising Above Trees

A 3 image Panorama of the Sun rising above the Raymond Pool early in the morning at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. Shot with a 14mm lens on a m43 Camera and assembled manually in Photoshop. It seems like panoramas with a wide angle m43 lens are more successful if you manually assemble the panoramas in Photoshop. The auto align seems to go to wild extremes.


Raymond Pool @ 14mm, shooting through an opening by a tree

Meeting House At Night 4 Image Blend

My second version of the Meeting House Image. This time a 4 image blend exposed for different sections, then combined in Photoshop. All at 24mm. I also tried 12mm, but the Meeting House looked too small in the frame. First I exposed for the brightly lit building. Then an exposure for the darker trees and foreground lawn. Then 2 exposures for the few stars that were visible at this angle. I used a technique of greatly over exposing the sky on one of these, then using levels in Photoshop to pull out a few more faint stars so they stood out more. Then combining those two layers. I also made a reverse mask of the bright building so I could replace the area around the building steeple with the dark sky with stars and darker trees. Then I manually layered and masked my layers to where I liked all the elements of the image so they looked like it was somewhat balanced.
The exposure for the stars was 30 seconds, the longest time so not to show movement. But being in NJ, I had to try a few times because a jet would fly through and leave a streak of light from the lights on the wings. Which in some ways looked interesting, but not what I was after. But it is New Jersey with constant planes going overhead, so maybe I will add it later.

Meeting House 4 Image Verical Panorama

This is a 4 Image vertical panorama of the Meeting House in the condo community we live in now. It is a multi-use building for the whole community and it reminds me of areas I used to like to photograph in New England when our children were small. They liked Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts among others. I tried a variety of ways to photograph this building to see which way I liked it best plus it gave me an opportunity to practice or try different effects and combinations.

For this image I shot 4 images, handheld, vertically at 24mm. I used a lot of overlap on each image because I was shooting at 24mm (vertically). It helps having a lot of overlap in the images when using a 24mm, it seems like Photoshop handles it better and you get less “distortion” in the combining of the separate images.

On this version the clouds were amazing, so I continued up to include a lot of clouds & sky.

It seems like the more you do of these panoramas the more you learn and have a higher success rate. Also if you are just walking around and traveling “light” with just one lens, it gives you more options for photo subjects.

Davidson’s Mill Pond Park HDR Vertical Panorama

We were going to go to a National Wildlife Refuge today but were not sure if it would be open because of the Government Shutdown. So we went to a local County Park to take a walk. It got up to 55 degrees here in NJ after weeks of very very cold weather, sometimes in single digits.

I did not find a lot of photo subjects, but by a smaller pond, the sun was high in the sky reflecting in the ice covering the pond. I thought it would be fun to try an HDR bracketed series of both exposures and images for the pano. I liked the reflections on the ice in the pond and stopped down to f/16 to get a nice starburst on the sun. Shooting multiple images vertically and horizontally with overlaps for both the panorama and Shutter speeds for the HDR effect.

Images shot @ 24mm, f/16, bracketed series of different shutter speeds for the HDR effect and series of compositions for the panorama.

More Panoramas

A series of multi-image panoramas photographed at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, NJ. Shot with a m43 camera @14mm. Featured image was 4 images, shot horizontally in sections, handheld, going from ground to the sky. Assembled in Photoshop. I find the m43 images take a little more care when assembling in Photoshop. Some need a little more “tweaking” or fine tuning than larger sensor cameras. But overall they are fun to use. A lot lighter to carry when you are wandering around looking for subjects to photograph. I still prefer my larger Canons, but sometimes it is nice to go “light”.


2 horizontal shots – stacked vertically in Photoshop. m43 format @14mm



A series of horizontal images, shot overlapping, from ground to sky. Assembled in Photoshop. m43 format @14mm

American White Pelican Panorama

Another Group of American White Pelicans photographed along the Wildlife Drive at the J.N. Ding Darling NWR in Sanibel Florida. This was a 5 image panorama, handheld, shot with a 300mm f/4 lens, with a 1.4X teleconverter. When doing a pano like this, do not use auto exposure, especially with white subjects, because the exposures can vary, giving you different exposures which are harder to blend together. You then have to try to balance all the exposures before assembling the pano. Most people use a tripod for doing Panos, but I tend to do more handheld. The Pelicans are still moving, even slightly, so I still have to go in to the layered Photoshop file and erase some of the moving overlaps before the final “blending. The auto features usually works fairly well for the final “flattening” of the layers in your file. The hardest part is choosing which “mode” of auto align to use in Photoshop for the initial lining up of the layers. You might have to try a few of the choices and see which one works best for your subjects. It has a lot to do on the angle you are to your subject and also the focal length of the lens you are using. In Photoshop, under EDIT, go to auto-align. Then you have a few choices. It is a trial and error to see which method works best for your image. Auto align usually works fairly well, but sometimes “Cylindrical” works well for what I shoot also. It really depends on the focal length of the lens you are using and the angle you are to your subjects. Then go to Auto Blend to “blend” them together. The other choice here is “Stack” which is used for  combing a set of images you shot for more depth of field, for a sharper image across a wider area, in simple terms. Under Auto Blend also check on the Box – content aware fill transparent areas of your merged files. This fills in empty areas with what Photoshop thinks is missing, and works fairly well. This happens more with wider angle lenses because of the changing angle of horizons, skies and foregrounds have different perspectives as you are shooting from left to right. This comes in handy especially if you are hand holding your camera or shooting with a wide angle lens. Also Once you flatten your image, I sometimes crop from the top and bottom to make a better “composed” image. Sometimes shooting panos, you are shooting “Taller or Wider” than you want your final image. So cropping in helps the composition. The above is just a simple overview of shooting panoramas, you can find lots of info online.

Great Egret Wing Positions

While I was photographing at Ding Darling NWR in Sanibel, FL, this Great Egret flew by where I was photographing White Pelicans. It flew in front of me from left to right. As I was adjusting my files I thought it would make an interesting image showing the different wing positions as it flew by.  I did not have the camera set at a high frame rate, but I thought it was still interesting.

In Camera Raw I selected the whole series, made my adjustments and opened them in Photoshop, each on its own layer in the original file. I selected the blue background and inversed the selection to select the Egret on each one. I made a new file that would fit them all in horizontally. I selected a blue sky color from the first of the series and a blue sky color from the last of the series and graduated the color from left to right for the background sky. Then added a slight bit of noise into the sky.

Now that I had my sky background, I went back to each Egret image and selected the layer of each Egret and put that Egret image in a new layer, in sequence to show the wing position sequences. If I was at a higher frame rate I would have gotten more wing positions, but I still had fun putting it together.

Dandelion Short Image Stack

After a rain, I was looking for macro subjects in the yard. I found this Dandelion with a couple of little water drops on it. It was not a full “ball” on top so you could see inside to the center more easily.

I tried a 2 shot stack @ f2.8 for the featured image and a 4 shot stack for the image below. Both were shot handheld with a Sigma 150mm macro.

Dandelion 4img stk v2

4-images stacked in CC 2017 Photoshop, 150mm macro @ f/8

BWR Observation Platform – 24mm

While we were at the Wildlife Refuge, I was looking along the Observation Platform to see if I could find something interesting to photograph. As I was walking down, I looked back and thought the platform itself was interesting. Plus I had a fairly Dramatic Sky to work with. Then I tried a series of effects in Photoshop, blending color and monotone into 1 image. If nothing else it kept me amused for a while trying different colors, tones, masks & combinations together. Plus it was fun to see different effects and how they work together.









Sun Reflection Peaking Through Clouds

This landscape was taken at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge Maryland in Dec. 2011. Heavy cloud coverage hid the sun, but the colors shone through the clouds and reflected in the water. Usually we photograph Wildlife at Blackwater NWR, but you can also get some great landscapes with water or wooded areas. I also especially like the colorful sunsets with birds flying through them. This image was taken with a Canon EOS 1D MkII with a Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5 – 5.6 @ 12mm, 1/1000 sec, f/16, effective focal length 15.6mm,  aperture priority -0.67 exposure compensation. Below are a series of B&W versions using Nik Silver Effects plug-in in Photoshop. The next to last one is using a Black & White adjustment layer in Photoshop. The last is just an adjustment of contrast. I usually do not think to use B&W images anymore for myself, (too many long hours, years ago, in the darkroom for commercial clients), but I thought this image might be interesting in Black &White.

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