Fun with Fisheyes

I recently bought a Rokinon 8mm fisheye for my Nikon D7000. I’ve never used one before, and I thought it would be fun to try with my architectural photography. The lens has a full 180° field of view, which of course causes significant distortions. That’s perfectly normal and one of the attractions of a fisheye lens. However, I decided to try to correct as many of the distortions as I could with Lightroom 5.2. Below is an original photograph of the Suburban Station at 16th Street & JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia. The image has been edited to fix the exposure.

Original FIsheye Image

Original FIsheye Image

The road slants downhill from left to right, but it does not curve back up. The road and buildings show the classic curvature of a fisheye photo. The first step was to apply Lightroom’s automatic lens corrections. The Rokinon 8mm is not one of the lenses that LR knows about, so I chose the Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm. The next image has had this lens profile enabled.

Lens Corrected Image

Lens Corrected Image

All of the curvature has been corrected, but the subject building in the center is skewed backwards and to the right. The final step was to use the manual transformation controls. I fixed the perspective with the vertical and horizontal sliders, rotated the image until the road was correct, and scaled it so the image filled the frame. The final result is shown below.

Final Image

Final Image

The building in the photograph now looks the way it would if you were standing in front of it looking up.

For comparison, here is a similar picture taken with a 17-70 Sigma zoom lens set to 17mm.

Normal Image

Normal Image

Because of the narrower view, I had to switch to portrait (vertical) mode. Not only is part of the building cut off, but the adjacent buildings are not visible. I was standing in the same spot as in the fisheye image.

I’m very happy with these results and plan to process future fisheye images the same way.

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Treasure Hunt Challenge

Peter From and Lorena Masi organized a Treasure Hunt Challenge on Google+. Photographers had one week to take and submit a picture that met the requirements posted by Peter and Lorena. At the end of that time the photographers who qualified were given the assignment for the next week. I had a lot of fun coming up with ideas for each of the pictures, and I made it through all four weeks of the first challenge.

Steve

Steve

The requirements for the first picture were easy to get us started. The picture had to contain a person, a coffee cup, and a tree. My friend Steve posed after his daughter’s riding lesson. I have gotten compliments on the pose, which was his idea, and I suspect that he has done this before. For extra credit I chose a mug with a tree and a person on it.

Blofeld

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro Bloferd and I am the head of the notorious criminal organization SPHINCTRE.

The challenge began to get difficult with Round 2. The required elements were a person, scarf, and sunglasses. In addition, we had to use the color red in a creative way and the picture had to have a James Bond feel. I posed as the villain Blofeld with his cat. His white Persian wore a diamond collar while my tuxedo Norwegian Forest Cat is sporting a tiara.

70 's Lounge Lizard

I am a wild and crazy guy, and I like to date the foxes.

The third round was similar to the second round. Picture elements were a person, building, hat, and gloves, the style was retro, and the mood was romantic. I dug out one of my old disco shirts and carried my lava lamp and other props onto my balcony. It was only 30F but I didn’t mind because I was laughing the entire time.

80's Hollywood

I’ll be Pretty in Pink and Back to the Future. It’s Risky Business to celebrate with Sixteen Candles.

We were not given any requirements for the final round. The primary theme was Hollywood and we had to choose a subtopic from 1980’s, horror, and glamour. I joked that I had used my glamour shot for Round 3. I decided to do a mashup of popular movies from the 80’s. The movies were Pretty in Pink, Risky Business, The Terminator, Back to the Future, Sixteen Candles, Star Wars (V and VI), and the Indiana Jones trilogy. I think the (unintentional) shadow looks like Indiana Jones. Darth Tater is looking up at me, waiting for me to blow out the candles so he can slice the cake with his light saber.

June 2012 — Signs

The June assignment was Signs. There was a lot of variety in the entries, from big neon signs to street signs to handmade signs.

Radio City

Radio City

Tour bus going past Radio City Music Hall. I like reflections and this was a unique way to capture the sign.

Domino Sugars

Domino Sugars

Domino Sugars is a prominent landmark in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. I also like long exposures at night, and this is one of my favorite places to take them.

No Stopping

No Stopping

The Coast Guard may park wherever it wants. This is the last surviving ship from Pearl Harbor.

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May 2012 — Action

The assignment for May was Action. About the only thing that the entries had in common was movement.

Shirley

Shirley

An enthusiastic model at the Google+ Washington, DC photo walk.

Batala

Batala

Batala Washington performed at this year’s Kinetic Sculpture Race in Baltimore. I used a slow shutter speed to show the band’s energy.

Winsom Memory

Winsom Memory

Winsom Memory is a 22 year old broodmare who clearly enjoys her retirement. I used 1/30 sec and panned to show motion while keeping her face in focus.

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April 2012 — Macro

Macro was the assignment for April. Like most people, my entries were of flowers. However, my pictures were omitted because of a glitch. The Easter Lily was featured as the Digital Story photo of the day on Facebook, but it was left off of the monthly assignment page at TDS.

Easter Lily

Easter Lily

I like this Easter Lily at Longwood Gardens because of the ring of pollen.

Crocus

Crocus

Since the DOF is so shallow, I like to concentrate on the abstract nature of macro photos. This is a crocus in my yard.

Bouquet

Bouquet

Flowers in a bouquet. They’re only about 1/4″ across. The red flower is a carnation.

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March 2012 — Eyes

In March the assignment was Eyes. As you might expect, the majority of the entries were of people’s faces. However, there were some  novel entries as well, such as the winning shot of a stereoscopic camera. I decided to go with the obvious choices myself, plus a close-up of my reflection in Dixie’s eye.

Sophie's Eyes

Sophie’s Eyes

This is a close crop of a picture of Sophie that I took her first day with us.

Gavin

Gavin

I’ve been told that I should show more of this picture so people can see that Gavin is watching a parade. Actually, he’s standing beside his sister and her horse who are wearing similar head boppers. His eyes are saying, “Please tell me that I’m not related to these crazy people.”

Dixie's Eye

Dixie’s Eye

Dixie doesn’t mind posing when I want to try out new things. I took this photo with my new macro lens.

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February 2012 — Rule of Thirds

The February assignment was about composition, namely the Rule of Thirds. As I learned way back during my architecture days, things look better if they are off-center. The Rule of Thirds refines that and works like this. Draw two horizontal lines and two vertical lines on a picture so it is evenly divided like a tic tac toe grid. The intersections are four focal points where you should place the primary objects in the photo. Most image editing software will superimpose the grid for you when you crop an image, and some cameras will display the grid on the LCD or in the viewfinder. (My Nikon D7000 grid is 4×4 instead of 3×3 so I have to adjust a little.) In each of my entries I placed the primary object at one focal point and a secondary object at the diagonally opposite focal point.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles

The eagle at the bottom left point is very dramatic with his feathers spread and his talons ready to go fishing. His partner is scanning the river for his own lunch. I’ve also cropped the photo to show just the eagle in flight, and I like this version better.

Carnations

Carnations

I composed this shot with carnations near two of the focal points. The out-of-focus flower serves as a counter-point to the flower in the foreground.

Roses

Roses

The sharp and vibrant rose bud at one focal point is balanced by the hint of rose blossoms in the background.

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