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Out with the old in with the New.

November, December and January.

So it’s been a busy end to 2018 and a very busy start to 2019, things are looking good for 2019 with lots of planning being put in place.

The end of 2018 was very interesting and a new joint venture is on the horizon which is great for futurephoto and drone operations more about that in the coming months.

With the weather being poor and the dark nights setting in this allowed me to focus on family over the festive period and get out with the DSLR for lots of much needed portrait practice. (Check out the gallery here)

Another big help and something I have found to be great fun is the free GuruShots this is a photography game running competitions for various categories, its helped a great deal to see if my pictures are liked by others. With options to swap your pictures throughout the competitions factored in you, its proved to me that some pictures I like, other people like different ones better. Highlighting everyone has different tastes. The algorithm within GuruShots claims to give each picture the same amount of exposure time weather the picture was added at the beginning or the end of the competition. I can recommend this app as not only has it helped me think more creatively because to help your pictures along the way and throughout the competition you are required to vote on other peoples pictures exposing you too the other creative photographers out there. Scoring points and competing in more and more competitions sees you climbing the ranks from newbie, rookie, challenger, advanced, veteran, expert, champion, master and finally reaching the tops stop of GURU.

Why not join the fun and have a shot for your self. “You have amazing photos! play with me on GuruShots.”

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Who said “picture worth 1000 (thousand) words?”

Picture worth a thousand words image

The saying above is not entirely correct and there are many takes on the origins so here is my attempt to tell you who created it, and why it is still so relevant in today’s digital world!

Fred R. Barnard – is associated with first use of two phrases December 8, 1921 “One look is worth a thousand words” & March 10, 1927 “One picture is worth 10,000 words.” Frank was an advertising executive and he used these two phrases to promote and commend the use of pictures/graphics in advertising. He was quoted to say “he originally said it was a Chinese proverb so people would take it seriously”

The earliest reference of any phrase I could find was by the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote (in Fathers and Sons in 1861), “The drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book.” Source

It is still a piece of marketing genius if you ask me; he created a very true and meaningful phrase which can be proven in today’s digital world.

Marketing with picture’s

National geographic (Nat Geo)  is well over 100 years old the first magazine publication was in 1888,but for this old magazine it continues to be top of the charts for followers, they have over 88.8 million on the social media platform  Instagram, this is for good reason their pictures are awesome! The cross platform sharing photographers often do on various other social media platforms could also account to this. You can see their @Natgeoyourshot page!  or use the #yourshotphotographer has over 1.3 million posts.

May 2015 saw them reach the top spot with over 17 million followers where they have continued to stay , Dec  2016 over 64 million, Dec 2017 84 million, 2018 continues to grow July 2018 over 88.8 million followers!!!

The winner of the competition

View all pictures from their 2018 competition or you can upload pictures to their website after following an assignment they have selected for the month, every month 12 pictures are selected and posted to their Instagram page, if you are lucky enough to be selected the reach one picture could have is huge and would be a great way for some free recognition!

The secrets of a Digital Image!

Many  pictures tell a story and as with many photographers objectives they allow other people to be drawn to the picture giving them a sense of emotion to someone or something they may not get to experience otherwise. Images also help draw the attention of customers browsing online for their next purchase but we do not just have to have amazing pictures for the picture to tell 1000 words, the picture does not have to be viewed as a whole, there is secret Data associated with individual pixels not everyone knows about, EXIF files! Not all cameras have GPS but more and more do with that comes a location, geospatial information which can be associated to each individual pixel or the whole picture in metadata.

The histogram used by a photographer is another quite often hidden or unknown, the chart associates each pixel with a tone from which photographers can use to tell if the picture has the correct exposure.

Steganographic image – This involves hiding or replacing the least significant bit in an image with part of your secret message, the image itself with not look to different from the original, with the use of the key the image is now a secret message. This article goes into more detail

 

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Tiny World

This style was an impressive little photo I saw on a photography page when I was looking for 360 panorama’s. It is quite an easy thing to do with Photoshop after you have created a 360 panorama. The panorama takes a lot of work especially if you have a hundred or so picture’s to deal with at the beginning. But when the hard work is complete you tiny planet photography should take 4 easy steps:

Take your HDR panorama 360 like I have described in a previous post. Bring you image to Photoshop,

  1. Resize your image/pictures so it is a square.
  2. Rotate you picture so it is upside down.
  3. Apply the polar coordinates filter (Filter~Distort~Polar Cordinates) and make sure “rectangular to polar” is selected (ticked)
  4. Perform any post process you like to the picture and your done.

Simple but effective to produce another different view of your work.

Futurephoto tiny planet fraserburgh

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High Dynamic Range

HDR – High Dynamic Range

One of my favourite pictures to take is one in HDR (High Dynamic Range). For me in the beginning it involved one over exposed one normal and one underexposed pictures (Bracketing) some cameras and even drones have AV mode Auto Bracketing.

Why use AEB/HDR photography

Camera sensor limitations make it difficult to capture highlights and low lights (shadows) in one picture without something being sacrificed. A simple example could be when the camera settings for the foreground is under exposed but sky exposed correctly and when you adjust the sky becomes over exposed but foreground is good, so we can merge these pictures together taking the good pieces from both.

Examples of when to use HDR:

  • Architecture interiors,
  • Landscapes,
  • Sunsets
  • Night time – cityscapes.
  • Black and white – tone mapped can be great too.

E.g. with bright light in windows, a dark building without enough light, shadows, helps bring out textures

AEB- Common selections are 3, 5, 7. E.g. 3 pictures, one at 0 then one stop above and one stop below only adjusting shutter speed. (EV Exposure value another word for Stop) As time has progressed and I have become happier with my images I find 5 different pictures merged together gives me great results. I always make sure my images are taken in a RAW format, this gives me a more advanced post processing options. RAW pictures are a lot less processed and take up more space on a memory card so you want to make sure you have a good sized one with a fast transfer speed. This speed up the time the camera takes to transfer or save the picture thus letting you take the next one quicker.

Some things to keep in mind during Camera Setup and some preferred settings:

  • AEB – Auto exposure bracketing or aperture priority mode/A not fully manual can make things a lot better and allows you to keep the same depth of field in the picture. Aperture should remain constant and shutter speed should change to correct the amount of light hitting the lens.
  • Setup for 0 on you camera’s meter (Evaluative metering)
  • Manual focus to keep the same focus point while changing bracketing.
  • Having a nice calm day and not windy for your drone will keep things steady, if you are taken these pictures with a camera do not forget your tripod.

Once you have your required pictures you then merge these pictures together with software. Photomatix is my preferred software but other ways to do this are In camera (only JPG), Photoshop HDR Pro, Lightroom, Nik editing – Plugin, Photomatix Pro, Aurora, EasyHDR, Luminance HDR (free). Remember when merging your images together to look out for ghosting, this is when the images are overlapped together but the alignment is off causing a ghost like shadow.

The colours that come out are brilliant and these pictures really stand out from the crowd. Not only do you have a picture taken with a drone that is from a completely different angle that most people can manage you also have some very vibrant clear pictures. Commonly used or spoken about HDR styles:

  • Balanced
  • Painterly
  • Natural
  • Surreal
  • Enhanced

Tone-mapping can have similar end products as HDR but this is only one single photograph. Before editing the picture, make sure your single photograph has good detail. Single photographs can be underexposed and over exposed using software and merged together. The drawbacks from tone mapping are that this process does not use the whole range of your camera’s sensor. You will find a lot of phones which can capture HDR images will actually use this process.

I know there could be some strange acronyms or things mentioned throughout this post but as you develop, play and have fun with your camera or drone a lot of these things will become second nature. I had dabbled a bit in photography previously and with the help of Shaw Academy was able to understand the concept of bracketing and using RAW files a lot easier. You can find my review of Shaw Academy in one of my previous blog posts

 

  Futurephoto high dynamic range image  Futurephoto HDR image

Above are two pictures I took with my drone, they consisted of 5 bracketed picture’s and merged together using photomatix software.

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Blender, Inkscape, GIMP and DaVinci Resolve

free software


Four great pieces of free software that I think anyone performing any sort of image processing should have.

This is a program that allows you to animate and create 3D images. To me it seems like a massive program capable of many things. I only played with this for a few days but it was great combined with the use of Inkscape.. I used Inkscapes trace function to convert my logo image file to a Plain SVG file (2D) which I imported into blender and managed to create a 3D clip

It is not the easiest to get your head around but after some nice YouTube videos and playing around it definitely becomes clear that you could do almost anything with blender. For anyone looking to create some 3D animations to use with their drone advertising to promote your drone videos I would recommend blender.

In previous posts relating to HDR photography, 360 Panoramas and Tiny Planet pictures I mentioned the use of Photoshop. But you can’t forget GIMP this is another great free piece of software for editing images. I find the layout very similar to Photoshop and it is great for starting out and learning how it all works.

Links to the above mentioned programs can be found below:

https://www.gimp.org/

https://www.blender.org/

https://inkscape.org/en/