Kumlubük On A Perfect Spring Day
There’s an awful lot of rubbish written on the Internet and especially in this journal. But if you’ll pardon a ‘serious’ comment for a moment I want to draw your attention to two comments I read in discussion forums recently.
The first was concerned with the relative merits of zoom vs prime lenses. Most of us know that zoom lenses improve all the time, but they aren’t a true substitute for primes. A good prime lens will produce minimal spherical or chromatic aberration. A good zoom will do its best but is likely to be vulnerable at some focal lengths. The comment I read suggested that today there’s no need to consider prime lenses since any aberration may be corrected post shot using software such as PTlens, which may be used as a Photoshop plug-in, or as a stand-alone product.
Whilst indeed PTlens is an excellent utility it’s not a true substitute for producing the correct image using a prime lens. For prints up to 10 x 8 inches no doubt PTlens is adequate, but for bigger enlargements a prime lens yields a better result, and with no post shot messing about. Further prime lenses tend to come with one or two stops extra to most zooms. In low light conditions my 50 mm prime lens will render a better image at f 2 with the EOS set at ISO 1600 than the Fuju Finepix E900 at f 3.5 with an ISO rating of 800.
The second comment I read concerned itself with wide angle adapters for compact cameras. The writer asserted that he would never use such an adapter because he could use PhotoStich, or some similar program to join several pictures together and make a panorama. And once again he’s correct stitching programs are designed to do exactly what he says, but the size and number of pictures they can accommodate is usually limited.
The first trick of effective stitching is to ensure firstly that the exposure is the same across all the frames. To achieve this it’s necessary to meter one area and then transfer the meter reading to the camera in manual mode, at least in theory! In practice even with the individual shots receiving the same amount of light some differences are noticeable in areas of block colour, such as the sky presumably due to the angle of the camera lens in relation to the sun, and or the way in which the sensor reacts to different overall levels of light falling upon it? It’s hard to say!
The second requirement is that the camera is level with the horizon and rotated on a uniform plane. This requires a tripod, and preferably one that includes a spirit level. It is possible to pad through several shots hand holding the camera, but variations in the camera’s angle of view are inevitable, and even minor differences can create discrepancies in the final joined image.
The picture of the shore at Kumlubük, [above], was made by ‘stitching’ five shots together in Adobe Photoshop. No other stitching software was used. All the individual pictures were taken with a handheld Fuji Finepix E900. The final joined image was then carefully blended and cropped. On this web site the result looks promising, but at full resolution blemishes are evident. Perhaps this picture would have been better joined as individual prints in the style made popular by the artist David Hockney during the 1980s. He called his method of making pictures joiner photography. His individual prints frequently had different exposures, and tonality. They were pasted onto a board before being displayed as works of art. Hockney makes no attempt to align his images in order to produce a realistic picture, instead the small prints are arranged to create the best aesthetic, or novel, value.
Hockney’s joiner pictures have been reproduced as posters and the originals are displayed in various galleries and collections throughout the world.
A Joiner Picture Of Kumlubük