Sunday, January 13, 2008

In the Bathtub with NYT

The latest from the New York Times team of Ray Jones and Gabriel Dance. This time, they take us to two levels in the big hole at Ground Zero to take a look at the construction going on in lower Manhattan. The ambient sound is a good touch. Zoom navigation is a bit different here - they've opted to use a right-click (or control-click) submenu to control zoom, rather than keyboard+click shortcuts. I've asked Ray about the tripod being left in the image. As soon as he replies, I'll update. And I will post a nadir patch tutorial as soon as I can.

UPDATE: This from Ray via email: "Well, the tripod thing is something we'll do better next time. I didn't shoot any handheld nadir shots, and that was my fault. And I didn't feel comfortable just trying to clone the tripod away. So we felt it was best to just leave it. I think we're improving each time and it will take us a few more times probably before we nail everything. "

This project was the lead tout on the site for awhile over the weekend. That'll bring panoramas to the attention of more viewsers.

I find it useful in this kind of situation - deep shadowed areas and bright sky - to use a Photoshop action called HDR for Dummies written by famed panographer Jook Leung. (You've seen his Times Square at New Year's Eve panos).

Rather than bracket exposures (and risk lots of subject movement), I acquire two tiff files from each RAW image, one adjusted for shadows, one adjusted for highlights. The HDR action blends the two, allowing for a longer dynamic range. Kind of reminds me of split-filter printing on variable-contrast paper, back in the b/w darkroom days.

Your views on using this kind of blending in photojournalism? Discuss. Please feel free to add to the comments.