Evan Gearing's Photography Exposition

Texas

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Daytime Panorama

I think this is my favorite panorama that I’ve done so far. I took this at the Tigers – Rangers baseball game on May 18th. It was a horrible game for the Tigers.  The Rangers beat them 7-2.  I was bummed.  However, my nephew Dylan, his friend Jared and Dylan’s mom, my sister-in-law, Annette were all pretty happy!  I think Eileen was bummed for me, but happy for the Rangers nonetheless.  As you have read, we all went up to enjoy the game and we all had a great time, except for the score of course.

Usually when I go to these games I only take my little point and shoot camera.  I can get some decent panoramas with that, but last time I tried it I got some really bad results.  So, I went to the Rangers website and read their camera policy.  Theirs is very similar to Sports Authority Field at Mile High in that you can bring any camera as long as it doesn’t interfere with other fans’ enjoyment of the game.  So, the big boy went with me this time with the intent on getting a nice pano!  So here it is!

This is not an HDR but it is a composite of 16 shots.  I took 15 for the panorama itself to make sure I got some great overlap for Photoshop’s photomerge process and then I took one shot of just the infield during a pitch and masked that in so as to capture the moment and make sure everyone on the field is focusing on the task at hand.  If you look at the largest version of the image on flickr, you can actually see the ball as it’s crossing from the grass to the dirt on its way to the catcher.

You see, usually when I take a pano from a sports stadium such as this, I don’t really pay much attention to what was going on down on the field because the I’m normally using my point and shoot and everything is usually moving as I take the shots. All that action gets jumbled during the photomerge process and turns out kind of messy.  Well I wanted to make the shot look normal on the field this time plus add a little interest.  I think it worked.

Oh, and one other thing that makes me happy about this pano is that when I did do the merge, the resulting image was already straight and level so I didn’t  have to do any warping!  That was awesome!  Just a little cropping and content aware fill in a couple corners!  I couldn’t believe it!  Especially from a handheld pano!  That’s rare for me because even when I use a tripod it comes out way tilted and I have to do lots of warping to correct some distortion.

Also this shot took a little work to process other than the merging and the masking of the infielders.  The sky that day was very hazy and I really had to crank out the structure slider in Nik Viveza to bring out the clouds.  I also used a little blue filter for the sky.  Then I added in some contrast, a little darken/lighten center in Nik Color Efex 4 along with a few other minor tweaks and here you go!

Lastly, I did take a night time panorama as well that I will put out some time.  I hope it turns out as nice as this one.  I have started on it a little bit and one thing that is different is that it’s not quite as wide as this.  Oh well, just something to remember for next time!

Click on the shot to see a larger version.  Or click here to see the largest on flickr.

BTW, the players on the field in the shot are as follows:

Tigers:
P – Anibal Sanchez
C – Alex Avila
1B – Prince Fielder
2B – Omar Infante
3B – Miguel Cabrera
SS – Jhonny Peralta
RF – Torii Hunter
CF – Avisail Garcia
LF – Andy Dirks

Rangers:
3rd Base – Elvis Andrus
At Bat – David Murphy
On Deck – Lance Berkman

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UPDATED: Birds Barbershop

I stopped along east 6th St this morning to try and get some more shots.  While looking, I stumbled across Birds Barbershop.  The inside has this black and yellow monochrome-like decor and the place was lit with globes of lights sitting on the counters.  It’s a great look!  It was closed, so I just pressed my camera up against the glass door in the front and fired away.  Maybe someday I’ll go in there for a haircut and tell them I took this shot.  Maybe they’ll give me a discount or maybe they’ll see the shot and accidentally give me a reverse mohawk.  On second thought…

UPDATE (5-20-19):  I just read that if you go into Birds for a haircut, they will give you a free beer when you leave!  I may have just discovered my new barbershop!

 


Shangri-La

Among other things, 6th St east of I-35 has its fill of bars.  Not as many as 6th St west of 35 and – I think I’m right about this – probably not as nice.  I don’t know what it’s like inside this place here and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to find out.  Can’t say I trust bars with no windows. Plus, I’ve stayed in a hotel called the Shangri-La in Singapore a long time ago and I doubt this place is as nice as that was. I could be very wrong though and I guess that will just have to stay a mystery to me.  But, I did like how the name was lit with the arrow pointing towards the door.

This is an HDR but I masked in the -2EV bracket to emphasize the lit up name of the place.  Plus, I did a little dodging and burning as well.  Is it too much?  Let me know and thanks for dropping by.


A Little Photo Fun (TOT)

I went to the Riverwalk down in San Antonio last weekend for something to do.  However, it was the middle of the day and I kind of thought that any shots I would take down there would be of rather snapshot-ish quality.  Oh maybe I could’ve gone indoors somewhere, but I didn’t have too much time and it was so nice outside that going indoors wasn’t really a good option.  So, I came up with a plan…  I got this plan from the Sky Mall catalogs that you see on airplanes in the seat-backs.  They have these photo collages that spell out college names made up of shots of regular objects found throughout the various campuses.  So I thought, why not try this on the Riverwalk?  This is my attempt at that and I made a little poster out of it using some techniques from Scott Kelby and a few of my own.  What do you think? Can you tell what is spells?


I-35 Upper Deck in the Morning Panorama

Morning traffic in Austin is a nightmare, or better yet, a “morningmare”!  It’s the worst.  The quicker you can get a jump on it, the better.  For that reason, I get on the road pretty early so I can beat most of it.  However, the rate that the city is growing, the traffic seems to get busier earlier and earlier.  Many years ago, Austin thought one way to combat the traffic woes was to put in an upper-deck on the expressway going through downtown that would have not off-ramps so drivers could take that option to help speed through.  It doesn’t seem to really help anymore.  But, just off the decks on the southbound side of I-35 near 38 1/2 street lies a new office building which went up and has an 8-level parking garage.  It’s free to go into and it has a great view of the decks.  That’s where I took this 7-shot panorama.

If you know what you are doing and have the right gear, panoramas can be pretty easy and fun.  For me, not so much.  But, I did learn a lot about panoramas after taking and processing this photo.  It still needs a little work, but for me, I think it works.  The things I learned are as follows:

1. To take a proper panorama, one must know the “nodal point” of the lens of choice.  The nodal point is basically the area “inside the lens where the light paths cross before being focused onto a film plane.”  That point is where you want the actual camera to pivot from while you take your shots for a panorama. That way, when it’s time to stitch your shots together, the stitching software can blend the shots together as accurately as possible.  Otherwise, you will get some wild and unfortunate problems from stitching to distortion (other than normal pano distortion, that is).  Also, to figure out the nodal point, you will need a proper head and/or bracket for your tripod.

2. If you can’t use a tripod or even if you have a tripod and not the right head or bracket, you can still take a decent panorama, but be prepared to fix a lot of stitching issues and perspective/distortion problems.  I ran into a lot of those with this shot, but a photographer out there named Klaus Herrmann, aka Farbspiel, who takes some great vertical panoramas (or vertoramas), has some great processing techniques that were invaluable.  His distortion correction video was a big help!  I learned a lot from that video and I also learned a lot from his “making of” videos.  However, if you watch those, be prepared to pause and play quite often because his techniques are quite extensive and he speeds up the vids about 10 times as fast as normal!  However, you can still get a lot out of them!  Those “making of” videos really helped me fix stitching problems.

3.  To take a good panorama, put your camera in portrait orientation, meter the main subject in the pano with your camera, note the camera’s aperture and shutter settings, switch to manual mode and input those setting accordingly.   Then take all the shots to compose the pano with those settings.  That way, you won’t have any blending problems in post-processing.

I guess those are the main things I’ve learned.  I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for visiting!


Expressway Upper and Lower Decks Vertorama

This is a vertorama (aka a vertical panorama) of I-35 in downtown Austin. It’s comprised of 5 landscape-oriented shots stitched together in Photoshop to make an almost 180 degree vertical view of what one would see if standing on one of the cross bridges. I think I could’ve captured this with a fish-eye lens as well, but alas, I don’t have one.  Lastly, I was hoping to make this an HDR, but I think this turned out nicely without.


Misty Texas Capitol

There’s a parking garage at 9th and Lavaca which affords one a great view of the Texas capitol.  It’s a great angle for a morning shot because the sun rises in the background.  I was hoping for that on this day, but instead the weather decided to be misty and drizzly.  I’m glad it was because I think I’m happier with this shot than I would have been had it been a clear day!