Hi, this is Jay P Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens we’re here in Iceland. Yes, we’re in Iceland. We’ve been having a wonderful time here the last few days. We’re on the Golden Circle going to several different places here in Iceland. This is a falls and I’m going to butcher it but it’s Gullfoss, Gullfoss, Gullfoss. There you go, Gullfoss, it’s a great falls. I’m going to shoot some panos here. I shoot always with my 50 millimeter lens. I’m going to shoot 50 millimeter and I’m going to stitch the images together. I love doing this. I get a nice flat perspective using that 50 millimeter lens. I’m going to shoot at f/16. I’m going to put six stops of ND on this because I want to drag the shutter and get a beautiful liquid looking water in the background.
So, I’ve got my new Atlas Pack that I’m pretty excited about having with me here in Iceland. I really love these things, because basically they are a backpack that’s around a camera bag. So you can put all your clothes and things in the back and put your cameras in the inside, in the front you can put your cameras, clothes and things in the back. It’s pretty amazing.
Because space is limited, especially when I’m walking around during the day, I carry these three filters. They’re a medium and a hard three-stop gradient. And so three-stop gradated means I’m going to go from zero to three stops. But I’m going to stack those on top of each other. Now I can gradate the sky a little bit, make that darker or lighter depending. Or I can just put them in front of the lens and use it just straight as six stops. That’s going to help me give us beautiful motion in the water down there because I’m going to try to get myself to at least a quarter of a second or one-fifth of a second. I mean, I just want as long as possible. I could stack another three-stop of ND on here which wouldn’t hurt this at all. But that’s going to give me that beautiful kind of running water, that kind of fluid looking water.
So there’s a basic setup. I will set my camera on timer. I want to do a two second timer because I will shoot these in pano pieces and I don’t want to touch the camera as I shoot each of these. I’ve made sure my camera is as level as I possibly can.
I find color can become an issue when you’re shooting pieces and you’re going to stitch them together in photoshop. So I’m obviously going to shoot this at daylight. It doesn’t really matter because I’m shooting it in raw. I’m going to go in raw and using my new, which is super exciting, Datacolor has their Spyder Checkr Photo. I’ve been wanting something like this from Datacolor for a long time. Something small I can set up there in my first frame, you know, while I’m shooting. I put it in my backpack. It’s easy to carry. I just drop it on the tripod so I have it. I can stick it in my first shot.
Because my camera settings, I have a very long shutter, because I want to make the water look really fluid, look really nice. But for this I’m going to go to f/1.4. I’m going to open the lens wide open. I’m going to shorten that shutter so I can hand hold this. I’ll hold it out in front so it’ll focus on it. I’ll get one shot. I’m going to go back to my settings, which I’m going to go back to f/16 at four seconds. And I’m going to get my first pano shot.
What’s nice about this, you’ve got a color chart and you’ve also got a black and white gray grayscale. So you can use either one. I mean this is nice because you’ve got an 18 percent gray swatch there. It’s actually a great way to work if you want to get a quick color. But if you want to see the color you can use the color chart. So you have those two different options.
I started something on this trip I haven’t done before. I’ve always put my hand up at the beginning of each pano so that I know that’s the beginning. I always put my hand up at the end so I know that’s the end. But sometimes I go from one to the other and I thought you know what, I’m going to start palm up means beginning. So I put my palm up, shoot the first frame, then I’ll do my four shots, eight shots, whatever number of shots I’m doing. Then I put the back of my hand for the end. So beginning, end, that way I know when I go up in bridge I can see my front of my hand palm as the beginning, back of my hand end. And that pano between are the shots that go together. So there’s my process. I’ve got six stops of ND in there so I can really let that water blur. My first shot’s going to be the palm of my hand. Then I’m going to get a shot with my Spyder Checkr Photo. And then I’m going to take my pano whether it’s two, four, six or eight images. And I take the back of my hand to finish it. And that’s my bracket. And I’m just going to shoot away.
Okay, we’re back from Iceland. We’re here in the studio. I want to put my panoramic views together. I shot several of them of Gullfoss which was a wonderful waterfall. I had my Spyder Checkr Photo with me all the time which was easy to put in because it was small. I used the color chart not the gray. I could have used the gray, but I used the color chart. And so I’m going to take these images now into camera raw and work on them in camera raw.
Before I started this I used my Spyder X to be able to calibrate the monitor. Because people get on there, they mess with my monitor. I just want to make sure that the monitor is calibrated before we start this process.
So I’m just going to take these three images into camera raw. I’m going to open those up in camera raw. And the first thing I’m going to do is I’m just going to sample the color on the 18 percent gray. And I’m going to and that just gives me a starting point. I feel like that’s fine. It gives me a starting point. I’ll sync these together. There’s a lot of work to be done here. This is a very kind of flat situation, the end of the day. The first thing I’m going to do is I’m just going to push up my exposure. So I’m going to bring this up somewhere in there just so I overall get my exposure up. It’s going to blow out in my sky, but that’s okay. I’m going to bring the contrast way up because I really need contrast. So I’m going to go up almost into the 60s here with contrast. Which seems kind of crazy. But it’s going to give me a much nicer look. I’m going to bring that exposure down just a little bit. There we go. All right, highlights, I’m not going to do much with the highlights. I can maybe bring them up a little bit. I’m going to definitely open up the shadows. I want to see into the shadows. I don’t want to go too far. It starts to feel like an HDR and I think that’s kind of annoying. Whites, I’m not going to bother with. Blacks, I’m not going to bother with. I am going to go in and I’m going to push the clarity up just a little bit. I’m going to push this up just about to 27 which is quite a bit. You know, you’ll have to look at it and see what you think, if I did that too much or not.Dehaze, I’m going to definitely do dehaze. Every time you do dehaze it’s going to darken everything just a little bit. And that’s why it’s okay for it to be a little bright when I put it together. So there’s a good starting point. I’ve got a decent starting point there.
But now I’m going to go in, I’m going to create a mask. I’m going to go in here and I’m going to select the sky. And all I’m going to do with this mask on the sky is I’m going to just simply take that mask and I’m just going to bring the exposure of the sky down. If I bring it down too far it starts to look really fake. So I’m going to just bring it up where it’s just down a little bit and that’s going to give me some nice color. I want a little blue in that sky. It’s hard. I could play with the color of that sky but I don’t think I’m going to like it when I do. It’s going to, no, I’m not going to mess with that. Keep that where it was. Okay, so now there’s my sky. Maybe a little bit of exposure down a little bit more on that sky.
All right, now the second mask I’m going to do. I’m going to create a mask and I’m going to just select subject and see what it does. And what does it do? Yeah, it gives me pretty much the falls in the foreground, which is good. Okay for this one I’m going to bring my exposure up. I’m going to make it a little brighter and that’s okay. I’m going to fix that here in a second because I’m going to bring that contrast up a little bit. I’m going to minus my highlights a little bit so it comes down just a little bit here. It’s getting closer for me now. I’m now going to close the shadows down to -24. And this is where I’m going to, I really think it’s going to work here. I’m going to, I’m going to pull the blacks way back. And now I start to get just a nice kind of minus 30. I will go to around minus 30.
So this applied my settings across these two images with the exception of in this image here when you look at the mask, I didn’t get, the mask didn’t really move over, the subject mask. So I had to select this and I’m going to just create, I’m going to redo the settings that I had on this one. It gives you a pretty good job. It picked up the sky just fine. But it didn’t pick up the subject mask. Sometimes I have to mess with these and just kind of clean them up. In this case that was the case. So I’ve selected, now I’m going to set these settings to exactly what the other one was.
All right, so there’s my two images. I’m going to go ahead and just export these. I’m going to save them as images. I’m going to call it Gullfoss pano number one or number two. Which I’ve already done. And I’ll export these into photoshop.
All right, I’m going to go into photoshop and merge these together. I’ll go into file automate and photo merge. And I’ll look up my images. I’ve got my Gullfoss 2 and I’m going to do version number three. So I’m liking what I’ve got here but I just sometimes want to do just a little bit of adjustment here at the very end. I’m going to do a curves layer.So I’m just going to go ahead and put a curves layer on here. And that’s going to give me the ability just to mess with this just a little bit. I’m going to brighten, open it up just a little bit and push the shadows up a little bit. So it feels a little bit brighter. I feel that that’s kind of nice. All right, I’m going to go ahead and save this as a jpeg just so I have a jpeg to be able to use. I don’t know why photoshop makes me do those two steps to give it a jpeg. And there we go, there’s my large jpeg.
So that’s the process for me. That’s how I take and use the Spyder Checkr Photo to just get me started. It is just a starting point. It gets my color very close and then from there I’m going to work on the image and do a lot of different things.I mean, this one was very extreme because it was such a dark day and it was so, I mean, just so little highlights. But I think I got a decent image out of it. And it just really helps to be able to have something to get the color in place and to be able to work from there. Let’s take a look at some other panoramic views. Here’s a panoramic I did with two images. This panoramic I did of the falls with four images. Here’s a panoramic I did with six images. See how that populates. It looks beautiful.
Okay, so there’s how we shoot, stitch and process landscapes using that Spyder Checkr Photo as kind of a guide to help us along the way. So I hope you enjoyed this. You keep those cameras rollin’ keep on clickin’!