Wintry Willow

By the end of this weekend I’ll have the first part of my Nikon D800 review ready. The review I’m working on is important to me, as it forces myself to get to understand all the options and functions and to be able to fully benefit from all its features.

However, in the mean time I want to share a recent picture (taking with the D800) with you, as I don’t want my blog to become too technique and equipment heavy: After all, trying to create and share captivating images is what it’s really all about for most photographers; whether you’re a professional , enthusiast amateur or just a happy smart phone snapper. Equipment is just one of the many factors in the creative process.

The image below was taken early April. After record highs in March, we suddenly got a late cold snap, including a snow storm (click on the image to enlarge).
It was pretty windy, constantly blowing the willow branch up and down out of the frame. To get a good shot with my macro lens, I used a relatively big aperture (by macro standards anyway) an ISO of 800 to get a sufficiently fast shutter speed. Technically I don’t find the image that great, but the content makes it appealing to me: In this area you won’t often find snow on top of flowering willows.

And since I can’t help myself from being very excited with the performance of the D800, check out this 100% crop of the same image (click on the image to enlarge):

I should mention that I did some basic sharpening and noise reduction, but still: The detail is amazing and that at ISO 800. Before I’ll review the image quality of this camera, I’ll be covering the build and handling of the Nikon D800 first in the next post this weekend.

Panorama photography

In today’s post we’ll have a look at a type of photography that is very popular these days: Panorama photography. What is panorama photography? In theory: Capturing images that show a lot. In practice: A type of photography in which multiple overlapping images are stitched together, creating one large image. Where this was very difficult to do in the film days, nowadays, with digital files, it’s relatively easy with specialized software. With panoramas, we tend to think of wide, horizontal landscapes, but panoramas could also be vertically stitched images, or images stitched together both horizontally and vertically, sometimes creating a 360 degree view!

Hugin
A while ago, my friend Julien showed me the free photo stitch software by Hugin. With Hugin “you can assemble a mosaic of photographs into a complete immersive panorama, stitch any series of overlapping pictures and much more”. Before I got to know this software, I had never taken the time to really dive into the world of panorama photography. Since I learned that I didn’t need expensive software (like Adobe CS5) to create panoramas, I started reading up a bit more and actually trying it.In this post I’ll share the great challenge of panorama photography with you. Before I do that, you should understand why you would do panorama photography to begin with. It will be from a dslr camera point of view, but most concepts can be applied to other systems as well. Continue reading