a teatray in the sky

it’s raining [zombies] in baltimore baby

Posted in 30D, National Parks, Photography, Shenandoah National Park, Software, Virginia by firthefirst on March 26, 2010

… but everything else is the same.  still a pile of stuff to push out before 4 PM (after that, hitting the weights).  so since I didn’t have a lot of time to put something out, I dug around in the archives for a bit and came up with this.

those of you who check out my facebook galleries on occasion may have seen this previous attempt at capturing the blue of the blue ridge mountains from skyline drive in Shenandoah National Park:

it’s not that I didn’t like this first attempt, but something about it always seemed a bit wrong to me, and I feel like it mostly had to do with orientation.  there are some subjects that demand a unique perspective from which to view them.  but sometimes it makes sense to capture things closer to the way in which they are naturally perceived.  to me, the blue ridge mountains are all about layers, yet at the same time, not truly about compression.  which is what the vertical format does, it squeezes everything together.

the problem was a technical one.  I had taken a series of exposures (fully manual, albeit no tripod) with the intent of creating a panorama.  previous to CS4, I was limited to either CS3’s panorama stitcher or Canon Utilities’ PhotoStitch software.  when you talk about a rock and a hard place, this was it.

canon utilities photostitch is like Amber Heard in Zombieland.  one second you’re looking at a fantastic merge of a difficult sunset scene with moving water, and thinking, man this is hot, give me some more.  the next minute you wake up and you’re looking at an utterly failed merge of a made-for-panorama set of images, with lines, gradients, and ghost images everywhere, to the point where you have to beat it back with a toilet cover.  (rule #4: double tap)

photoshop CS3, however, was worse, and painfully so.  you might as well have printed the images, given them to a 5 year old with a pair of left-handed scissors and some elmer’s glue, and let the kiddo figure out how they should be merged.  (rule #2: beware of CS3)

so when I heard people talking about using Photoshop to make panoramas, it was a bit like hearing Pacific Playland was zombie-free.  no way.  but, turns out, Wichita was right — about the panoramas.  the lead image is a 4-image horizontal composite with a bit of darkening and color adjustment in post-processing.  this is one of the few images I’ve ever actually turned down the contrast on.  the key thing is, it’s done in CS4, not CS3, which is a world of difference.  as long as you’re using CS4, it’s one sweet ride.  (rule #32: enjoy the little things)

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