Images Underwater Blog Latest Images Underwater plus other random blogging Mon, 24 May 2010 08:49:07 +0000 en hourly 1 Wall Art Sun, 23 May 2010 10:55:38 +0000 Administrator A couple of shots / prints that I have done recently.
These have been printed in canvas with Galary wrap (edges covered) and go nicely in the new Nusery room.

Hope you like :-

p.s. The originals are very large files 2366×1189 and 3051×1074 so will print BIG, nearly medium format.

Richard B.

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Portrait – Post Process Sun, 23 May 2010 07:41:35 +0000 Administrator Hi All,

Promised in shutterbug to go through some of the Post Process (PP) work on recent portrait.
This is a fairly “standard” set of portrait touch up work with the exclusion of skin smoothing which I haven’t done here.
Please keep in mind that there are lots of ways to do this, this is just the way I do it.

Original Image

EXIF etc..
Canon 350D, Sigma 50mm
1/1000 sec, f1.4 (Av mode), ISO 100
Flash off camera on 2ft bracket mounted on camera right, zoomed to 105mm. High Speed Sync (Camera normal 1/200 sec). 1/2 Cut CTO (Orange) gel.

First step I duplicate the layer and switch it off, there by preserving the layer.

Then I duplicate the layer again and use a partial soft light blend, this helps gently boost the saturation and contrast. I think this step is the single easiest and most effective step (in a subtle way).

Now next step is to move into the face and most particularly the eyes which are the key to any portrait.


We have already done the duplication of lay with soft light blend now lets sharpen the eyes.
Use a soft lasso to copy the eyes to a new layer then use the unsharp mask to sharpen to a point you like (be careful not to much.) You can also adjust the effect by controlling the overall opacity of this new layer.

Now lets touch up the whites of the eye.
New layer, with soft white brush, in soft light blending mode gently paint the whites in, adjust the opacity to get desired effect.

Now lets help the color of the eyes, create a saturation layer and mask, only highlight the iris and boost the saturation.

Now lets do the same trick for the whites of the eyes to the teeth.

Now lets just help the background blur a touch.
Select with soft lasso, copy to a new layer and then big Gaussian blur.

Then adjust the levels / curve if needed. (Not in this image.)
Add a watermark and job done.
This is what the Layers look like.

An this is the final image.

However you will notice that the effects are very very subtle, and may not be easily noticeable in these Low Res files. I believe that this level of subtlety should be your aim for effective PP.

Any comments, questions, critique always welcome etc

= = = = EDIT = = = =
I have been asked about the camera bracket used, here it is.

It allows the flash to be about 2 foot off to camera left, not a massive amount but when close abotu 45 degrees, much better option than just on top of camera and still works with a changing dynamic subject.
This is triggered by cable and not my STE-2 (Infrared) controler as cable is 100% relaible. Also you can see the Orange Gel on the flash.

Richard B.
Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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More playing with Panorama’s Tue, 18 May 2010 04:31:15 +0000 Administrator Hi,

I’m loving these panoramas at the moment. Same source images but a more post processing and then some fighting with html to post and this is what you get.
Hope you like.

Just ordered a proper spherical panorama head so stand by for more !

Richard B.

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Panorama’s – How it’s done Thu, 13 May 2010 09:55:44 +0000 Administrator Hi,

Hope you like my Panorama’s in my last post, I promised more info on how I did it so here we go.
I’ll go through this one the really wide shot, however all follow more or less a process.

Just ONE word PTGUI okay I’ll explain more.

- Firstly the Panorama.
These are a mix of a multiple shots stitched together to give the wide field of view. This shot is 11 shots, 2 at 10mm and 9 at 20mm and covers over 270 degrees. The mix of focal lengths is done to cover the extreme ends where there are no suitable reference points to use stitching.
I have outlined each one here so you can see the stitching lines.

- Exposure.
We are shooting at sunset and directly into the sun and then completely away into the shadows. This presents multiple problems and a camera can not cope with such a wide range of light levels.

This would be a “normal” exposure into the sun.

0 EV = Average but a bit wishy washy

The answer is to shoot HDR and bracket the exposures.
This means that for each of the 11 shots in the panorama there are 3 shots so 33 in total.
This is what the other brackets look like at the light and dark end.

-2 EV = Dark and lost the deck but nice details in the cloud

+2 EV = Bright and got the deck but loose the sky

These therefore cover all the exposure range and the computer then merges and compressed the range of light levels from all three shots to produce a single image with correct exposure.


To shoot these HDR brackets you have to use manual camera setting, scan the horizon to pick your 0 EV and then adjust settings to ensure that it will work (there was a lot of movement so had to have fast shutter speed).

Then once all shot feed them into the computer and start the slow work. Post process time 3.5 hours, about 1 hour setting and tuning the panorama, 1 1/2 hours for the computer to do the processing and then another 1 hour in photoshop to finally tidy up.

Here it is, and this one is the full res copy so if you’ve got the time and bandwidth click and have a look.

In case your interested, the ship is the Habari and she is a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) 330m long, 60m wide and over 320,000 tonnes DWT, amongst the largest ships in the world.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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Habari, Sunset Strips Thu, 13 May 2010 09:53:23 +0000 Administrator Hi All,

Or maybe I should say “anybody” as not sure there is anybody out there, however, I digress. On to some photos.

Some recent shots from a work trip I took and had to sail from Galle (Sri Lanka) to Fujairah (UAE) onboard one of the companies ships.

These are all stitched panoramas, and the sunset ones are HDR as well. I’ll post more technical details separately, however, hope you like.
(As always double click to download a bigger version, although not full res as they are BIG files.)

And one of outside, quality and stitching not good as taken from a moving / rocking boat.

And one of the aft end of the main engine, again not great as just shot with my little pocket camera but you get the idea.


Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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WWW – Links, Blogs and Forums Mon, 22 Mar 2010 07:22:04 +0000 Administrator Following a recent question I thought I’d put together a list of links with some of my favorite photo related web sites.
So here you go, hope you like :-

Shutterbug Dubai
A group of friends and I setting ourselves monthly challenges, the results and our critiques.

Local Photo forum, some good, some bad but local. A good source for finding out where to get hold of stuff out here.

David Hobby (aka Strobist)
Founder of the small flash movement, another great teacher with a very informative blog. Also there is a Strobist 101 and 102 series on the website for learning to light.

Joe McNally
The Guru of light. Has photo graphed for all the big boys but is also amazing at sharing his skills. Two amazing books also, “The moment it clicks” and “Hot Shoe diary’s”.

Chase Jarvis
Edge US based photographer, very good on the multimedia / social networking side, marketing himself. Recently shot the new SanDisk commercial (very cool) and posted a daily video diary about how it was done.

Zack Arias
Another stunning people photographer from the USA.

Canon Rumors
Good site with various rumors on new Canon (and some third party compatible) products, handy if your about to buy. Avoid that replaced the day you buy syndrome of consumer electronics.

Photoshop Disasters
Photoshop Oops from around the world. Learn by others mistakes and see how extreme some of the main stream model retouching is.

Leading Forum on underwater photography, some of the top UW photographers in the world float around here.

Big Picture
Blog from one of the photo editors of the Boston globe. Just truly amazing photos from around the world. Good source of varied inspiration.

A world class Post Processing expert, and one of the leaders in HDR David Nightingale.

Gulf Photo Plus
Local company who organizes annual photography symposium and courses, including McNally, Hobby etc..

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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Drip, Drip, Drip Tue, 16 Mar 2010 09:51:14 +0000 Administrator Hi All,

Wanted to do these for ages and have tried before with no luck, however think I have nailed it this time.

This was first attempt :-

However this was not the effect I was after, this was shot into a shallow (1 inch) Pyrex dish and this is the water drop bouncing back, what I wanted was the classic crown :-

Settings :-
Manual Mode
Shutter 200 sec fastest standard sync, the motion is stopped by flash.
Aperture f5.6 (to give some DOF over crown and variations in impact point.
Lens 100mm Macro, manual focus.
Camera on tripod, motor drive and cable release.
One flash camera left, another one camera right on eTTL metering. Controlled by STE-2 controller on camera. Red gel on left strobe and blue gel on right and color bias controlled via ratio function on controller.
A bit (but not much) of PP saturation and sharpen tweak.

This is how it really looked :

The bottle is a 1 litre water bottle with a PIN hole, tried a small bradawl and made to big a hole.
The height of this is controlled with a piece of string.
The target is a white chopping board with a white background from the back of a tea tray.

Overall I shot 633 images, got 20 okay results and then these are the best, about a 1% success rate !.

p.s. Please humor me and click on the subscribe link on the RHS.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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Miniature / Small world Sun, 07 Mar 2010 07:48:03 +0000 Administrator Another in the shutterbug series, “Miniature / Small world”.
Following a friends “certified photoshop free” I thought I’d be brave and bare all!
These are all straight out of camera, not even a watermark, so DON’T steal.

“Out the toy box”
16mm, 1/13sec, F5.6, Av
Manual Focus (measured)
Tripod (yes inside the box)
Off camera flash top right.

16mm, 1/5sec, F5.6, Av
Off camera flash top center, to help texture.

50mm, f5.6, 2/5sec, Av
Total -2/3 ev.
Flash low left.

“Back Step”
50mm, f5.6, 2/5sec, Av
Total -1/3 ev.
Flash high right -1ev.

“Long grass”
100mm Macro, f2.8, 2.5 sec, Av
Flash top right

50mm, f5.6, 25sec, Av, ISO 200.
(it was dark hence 25s & ISO200).
Flash low right.

As always, comments, abuse and questions welcome.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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Nifty Fifty – got to love em ! Sun, 07 Mar 2010 03:45:39 +0000 Administrator After my earlier trials and tribulations I managed to find a Sigma 1.4 with out any back focus issues, even took my own test chart.
As you can see it auto focused spot on the target line.

And here is a snap trying it out, lovely depth of field, smooth creamy bokeh.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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Niffty Fiffty, buyer beware ! Sun, 28 Feb 2010 08:44:00 +0000 Administrator I have wanted a 50mm f1.? lens for a while and struggling with my options.

Canon 1.8
-ve : Only 1.8, feels like a kinder egg toy
+ve : Very very cheap.
Canon 1.4
-ve : Build quality hit and miss, not an ‘L’ lens, only 5 blades.
+ve : Canon brand
Canon 1.2
-ve: Very expensive and will it be worth it.
+ve : ‘L’ Series
Sigma 1.4
-ve : Not canon, Build quality hit and miss.
+ve : 1.4, 9 round blades, large front lens so will take my P filters
After much pondering I finally decided to go for the Sigma but to test it carefully, and boy glad I did !

The problem all fast lenses have is that at the max aperture the DOF is so small that the auto focus can be off, either front or back focusing. This isn’t normally a problem if your shooting at f6 as the DOF is quite deep but at f1.4 close up on a 50mm depth of field is only about 20mm so its critical.

To test the best way is to photograph a sheet of text at 45 degree angle so the text runs from in front of focus, at focus , to behind point of focus.
Set the center AF focus point only (but NOT manual focus) and shoot away.

This is more (or less) what you should get, but bear in mind these are hand held at high ISO.
The focus point is set on the AF-S 50mm 1.4.

More or less okay :-

Sadly this is the results I got :-

As you can see this is quite a way behind the autofocus point.

Needless to say I didn’t buy this lens, but it is very subject to manufacturing so every lens (sigma, canon, even L series) can suffer so YOU MUST TRY BEFORE YOU BUY. Next time you buy a fast lens make sure you give it a try.
In the mean time I’ll keep up my hunt for a niffty fifty.

p.s. You can also get very retentiveve with tripods, flashes, printed test cards etc. but I think lens testing and pixel counting is for people who can’t take photos so have to justify there “photographic existence with statistics.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


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