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Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Digital Deluge

Make technological advancements work for you

Click Images To EnlargeThis Article Features Photo Zoom

Buckeye; Canon EOS-1D Mark III with a 70-200mm lens handheld, three exposures merged in Photoshop using Photomerge.
A few days ago, I started using the new Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, a 21-megapixel camera. From the first few images I’ve made, the quality is excellent, but in accessing its digital impact on my operations here, I have a headache! Do I need faster and larger memory cards, additional hard drive storage or should I upgrade my older lenses to adequately maximize the camera’s digital potential? Yes, yes and yes! I know, such a tough problem to have.

I’m not very interested in all these technical details, but I also don’t want to miss out on making use of new technology that could have creative potential. And so I muddle my way through my options, tap the expertise of my friends, check resources online and generally waver toward some decisions. Sooner or later, I’ll break through the technical blocks and make this camera a creative and intuitive tool.

Of course, this happens to all of us in the beginning when we use new gear or software, and so patience, practice and a little research is required. The critical point here is to focus on incorporating advancements in technology into our creative process and not be distracted by having to have the latest and greatest whatever!

Given my general aversion to the technical minutiae of photography, I’ve sometimes been slow to try out new digital options, including software tools. I’ve managed to avoid two of Photoshop’s key features until recently—Photomerge and HDR. I’ve enjoyed seeing photographs using these tools by others for several years, but I’m finally seeing some creative possibilities for my own work.


It wasn’t until Marc Muench discussed the stitching of multiple frames with the use of tilt-shift lenses in a recent OP article that I started using Photomerge in Photoshop CS3. Since I own Canon 24mm and 90mm TS lenses, I gave it a try at a local pumpkin sale last fall and was pleased with how easy it was. I made three exposures with my camera; each exposure was made as I raised the lens-shift motion upward to include more of the pumpkins. I planned for an overlap of around 20 percent between each frame. Photoshop stitched together the three files easily. The result was a 300 MB file (unflattened) that gave me resolution that would rival scanned 4x5 at all but mural-sized enlargements.


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