Ultraaaa wide

Recently I have been commissioned for to shoot for a dental hospital. It has surgical facility and all the associated laboratory facilities. Any person coming to the hospital with a dental problem can get all his needs attended to under a single roof.

To get on to the theme of this topic, this type of indoor shoot sessions need to be preplanned and made execution-ready with a certain thoroughness and seriousness. This would apply to all shoots that need to backed by a weighty commitment. I fixed an appointment with the client a week ahead, to firm up on the schedule and locations of the shoot. I also had a long discussion with the client about how they want the photographs, and for what purpose they want, in an attempt to understand what are their intentions/ideas are and the use the photographs are going to be put to. I came to know during the conversation that they are putting up a website to show to the world the facilities/competencies they have. It was, at this point of time, important to understand the level of lighting that needs to be maintained at the time of the shoot session. The choice/trade-off was between using auxiliary/sophisticated lighting at extra cost or use existing lighting/minimal equipment and bring out the best possible pictures under the circumstances. Needless to say, the customer wants pictures that would be used in a marketing showcase, be it in digital form or print form(web, brochures etc.).

I surmised that the shoot can be done only by ultra-ultra wide lenses and I selected Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L II as my boy along with Canon EOS 5D M III as my recorder and Canon 50mm prime f1.8 for few portraits of the staffs. This shoot is not really an artistic portrait, you don’t have to look out for exotic views or angles as the photographs are meant for the general public (patients too). Simplicity and neatness are the key elements.

Simplicity

During the shoot I stick with one rule “Either keep the room’s vertical lines parallel with the vertical lines in the frame or horizontal lines in the room parallel with horizontal lines in the frame, if possible keep both. But definitely not without either, which will make something extraordinary or ugly. Even when you shoot this cautiously you will end up with a  noticeable amount of both barrel and pincushion distortions .

Lightroom comes in to rid the pictures of all the distortions and it does automatically if you select Auto for most of the lenses. Manual intervention is required for all the ultra-ultra wide lenses for manual correction might be necessary because automatic correction based on lens profiles are not very accurate when distortion levels are too high.  It is necessary to be careful while making corrections for distortions. You have to careful while correcting though.

Both of the photographs here have been corrected in Lightroom. Here is a quick peek into Lr Lens Corrections. The Lens correction panel has been further divided in to Profile, colour and Manual. The first sub panel “Basic” is the front control of the next two panels. If you check the check box all the auto correction will be applied by Lr. Even after the auto corrections, if you feel to fine tune it you have to click the respective panels. When shooting jpeg some older cameras might not provide lens information in the image file and in such cases we have to remember the lens used and later choose it in Lightroom’s Profile subpanel,  if it is present there and then Lightroom will apply the relevant corrections to the image.

Neatness

If you are not satisfied with the Lr’s Chromatic Aberration correction, you can do it manually by clicking the eye dropper directly on the image where the CA appears. You can easily find it out by viewing the image on 1:1 and for further fine tuning there are sliders. Finally the manual adjustments for lens distortion correction. The distortion slider fixes the pincushion distortion if you move the slider towards left, it fixes the barrel distortion if you move towards the right side. The vertical and horizontal slider fixes or adjusts any vertical/horizontal perspective correction if any, you wish. Rotate slider is to use it for any level correction or slight distortion too. Scale slider is to either stretch out or to squeeze in the image for any reason which may be because of the distortion correction you have applied or too much of perspective correction applied. Aspect slider is to enlarge or squeeze the image in one axis for some creative purposes and can be useful to fix images from certain heavily distorting lenses that stretches the image along one axis causing it to look skewed. Finally Constrain crop, I keep it checked all the time, so you don’t need to see the portion which is not going to be part of the photograph due to the corrections being applied. On a lighter note once the “Constrain crop” is checked here, the “Constrain to Warp” in crop tool is also being checked automatically.

It is not advisable to use the vignette here and I don’t use for the following reasons – a. The controls here are minimal – only Amount & Midpoint, these controls are  required to eliminate only the vignetting produced by the lens,  and so it is not very flexible when we want to create artistic vignetting effects b. If you have cropped the photograph and you have applied some vignette, you are not going to get the full result rather you might get some unimaginable result, because the vignette you apply here is for the full image, it won’t consider the crop you have made via crop tool.  I suggest you to use the Effects panel and use post crop vignette where you have more controls.

Heading back to Lens corrections in the Basic sub-panel at the lower level there are Level, Vertical, Full, Auto and off options. They are to correct the perspective corrections which I am not using because of following reason – I do my crop as my first correction in the develop module, while I crop I have to do the level corrections and if any perspective issue I switch to the Manual section in Lens correction panel as for the above photographs. So I am in no need to use the auto function, but I have heard from my friends that Auto does a neat job in most cases.

If you are interested in reading more about CA click here and have you heard about mustache / complex distortion or if you want to read more about distortion click here and write your thoughts in the comments section.

Cheers, Happy photographing.

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Histogram

Why histogram is inevitable?

Before that what is Histogram?

“The horizontal axis of the graph represents the tonal variations, while the vertical axis represents the number of pixels in that particular tone. The left side of the horizontal axis represents the black and dark areas, the middle represents medium grey and the right hand side represents light and pure white areas. The vertical axis represents the size of the area that is captured in each one of these zones. Thus, the histogram for a very dark image will have the majority of its data points on the left side and centre of the graph. Conversely, the histogram for a very bright image with few dark areas and/or shadows will have most of its data points on the right side and centre of the graph.”

Histogram is the one and only tool to show the image’s exposure details, after you do all your composition, lights, metering, shutter speed, aperture, optics etc., you have only histogram to get checked. Even if you lack one stop of light in your image, assuming you going to fix it later in processing you are going to boost noise by pushing the histogram towards the right. Do it on field not via screens (Real good photographers do not want to process their image, they want to fix it in fewer clicks,and that too because of digital, if that cannot be done in few clicks they will throw the image, get out and get a another satisfying shot). And that one stop of light has the most details, more than the details than the rest of the 4 stops (A digital camera’s dynamic range is 5 stops and some more, but for better understanding I have taken 5 stops).

Here you go, divide your histogram in to 5 equal vertical parts (one stop each); the right most one got 50 % of the data in the image, and the next one got 25%, and the further next one got some 13% (middle one), and the next one 6 % and the last one stop at the left most got 3%. Next time when you check your histograms in field, if you are one stop down than you have lost already 50% of the data. When you push your histogram towards right, possibilities are there to clip the highlights, never do it as there are no software can recover those details and there cannot be one. It is not possible to bring back the detail where there is nothing; yes that is what will happen when you push right much.  Next time look at your camera’s LCD to check the histogram not the shot you just took, though looking at the image is helpful to check your composition and composition only.

For aesthetic purpose one might want to bring down the exposure sometimes even up to 2 stops selectively while processing, but no worry you are not going to bring noise by bringing down the exposure slider and that is why you have to push your histogram towards right when you are at field. There is no guarantee that you will be having a stunning photograph or even a moderate one, if you have exposed your image towards the right without clipping. A perfect exposure does mean that the image is well exposed, nothing more and nothing less. Photography is not about technical expertise, it is about your sensibility on the things in this universe.

There are two types of histograms, one is luminosity histogram and the other one is RGB histogram. I have talked about luminosity histogram; I will talk about the RGB histogram at a later point in time.

For further reading about Histograms and pushing towards the right here. Read about photography here.

RAW image capturing in 12 bit mode is assumed here.