Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring, Part Deux

This is a continuation of the first day of Spring. I had been waiting for a sunny weekend day to scout out a suitable spot to take a photo of Vancouver's skyline. Now I know that most of you have seen the skyline viewing south towards the central downtown area but that is the view most tourists remember as the tour buses transverse Stanley Park and stop at the Totem Poles where visitors most often take their vacation photos. Less obvious is the view looking northward from the south shore of False Creek which I prefer as you will see the Vancouver is surrounded by several mountains. It would appear that we located in the foothills of a vast mountain range. Vancouver is surrounded by water on 3 sides so most often your commute to the downtown area will involve a bridge, a ferry or an AquaBus .

Although it looked like a sunny spring day, the light was flat. Photographers know that the worst time to take a photo is at high noon due to the poor quality of light. Back in the days of film, this was when I would switch to Black & White. Here is the scene as would appear to your naked eye

(Jpg straight out of the camera, no additional processing)

Normal perspective approximates 45 mm as equated to 35mm . In the days before digital and crop sensors, cameras were originally supplied with 45mm standard lenses. Then for some reason they adopted 50mm as the standard, which is slightly telephoto. Now a photo taken with a 50mm lens takes an angle of view of approx 39°, while viewing with your eyes you will see nearly 180° (slightly less). . So a mere single image cannot convey the beauty of the scene before you as a photo is just a small slice of what I want you to experience. I want you to see the beauty of Vancouver from a perspective you have not have seen before. I want you to view the mountains behind. The West End of Vancouver was once the most densely populated area in North American, and it may still be and construction has not stopped. It has now expanded to the north shore of False Creek into the area which was once the showcase of the world, Expo 86.

Now Lori (Beemergirl) made a recent comment regarding PP: Post Processing of images

beemer 24mar2011

I am in the habit of posting more than a few photos and I cannot spare the time to individually edit or further process every photo that goes through my camera. I also do not shoot RAW in the normal course of gathering photos to post. Perhaps if I had a photo blog and only posted a single photo and a small paragraph with a few descriptive words I could change my procedures.

I grew up in the film age and used mainly Medium Format Cameras and delegated digital for snapshots. Eventually this changed and digital progressed to the point where digital was overtaking film. I first discovered this when I took my 120 film in for processing and my lab no longer provided optically produced prints. Rather they scanned your negatives and produced prints on their LightJet printer. Now I had to add in scanning charges. For prints up to a certain size you could get by with smaller scans, but for prints in my normal size of 16x20 I needed to pay for the larger scans. So I put my professional film cameras away and stopped producing large prints for a couple of years. Now digital has progressed to the point where it out resolves medium format film . Now I have played around with Photoshop 5 and 6 many years ago and it was just too confusing so I gave up. This is not to say that I haven't purchased dSLRs but I just haven't gotten into the RAW mode. When you shoot JPG your photos have already been processed by your camera; sharpness, white balance, blah, blah.

Last year I decided to purchase my 3rd dSLR for my big trip as I wanted something for lower light levels, and I have been devoting lots of my spare time into learning about ICC printer profiles and also some editing. I purchased a new wide carriage printer so I can print at home. For the past few months I have been reading tutorials and experimenting with editing photos.

(A sliver of a view looking north from the south shore of False Creek)

This was taken with a 55-250mm kit lens, unedited. As I mentioned before, the light was flat

Here is the same photo with slight processing to warm up the colour temperature, and perhaps minor curve adjustment

(Slightly processed, change in colour temperature)

Now, I still haven't shown you the skyline view that I wanted you to see. From my vantage point here is an image taken with my Sigma 10-20mm UWA: Ultra Wide Angle lens

(Sigma 10-20 mm UWA lens EF-s mount)

I suppose you could crop out the skyline and post the image in a panoramic ratio but you would not have enough pixels at 300 dpi to make a large print if you so desired. Right now this image doesn't look very impressive but at least you can imagine the view and see the mountains behind.

I decided to do a panorama using my 55-250mm telephoto lens, hand-held. This sequence was produced using 9 images. I metered for the scene then switched to manual mode so that all exposures were the same, which aids in colour balancing. There was a generous amount of overlap, perhaps as much as a third. Also the resultant stitched image was sharpened, curves applied, a slight warmth of colour temperature and contrast enhancement.

(Vancouver skyline looking north from False Creek)

My normal host for photos is Webshots but for some reason they limit the actual size that can be viewed even if you hit the Plus (+) key

so for the full image from Photobucket click here then click the "+" key


  1. I really like that pano! It's pretty cool to click on the link then hit the + key. You did a real nice job! Vancouver looks very nice and the mountains in the background are beautiful.

  2. I have to confess I struggle with the technical side of photography, always have. I'm more interested in the art and composition, or the subject, and if I can get away with a quick point and shoot then I will. Of course as you know, that doesn't work in many situations. It's when I can't achieve the results I want that I go back and muck out the technical details. It's always been my main weakness in photography...not mastering the tools. Much better to master the tools and get it right the first time.

    Wonderful cityscapes, but I love the pano the best - awesome!

  3. Wow. I really enjoyed this whole post. Very well-written. Even your flat images looked good to me! Maybe that's just because in my heart I'm a mountain girl and would love to live in a place like Vancouver with mountains and water, too. I'm much like Bluekat. I'd like to learn the more-technical stuff. And I do attempt to understand it. But I often take the lazy way out and just shoot using what I know.

  4. That is a really nice pano shot there Bob....even when you lock the exposure setting, its sometimes hard to get a good match; at least for me.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  5. Dear Bobskoot:

    I have often thought that Vancouver was one of the most beautiful cities in North America. I rate it on a par with San Francisco for charm, character, and individuality. I have been to Vancouver, six or seven times, as Stiffie used to own a condo on the slopes at Whistler. Your pictures bring back happy memories.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  6. Bob, loving what you're doing with the Sigma. It's become one of my favorite lenses. You do a nice job of presenting Vancouver. Love those mountains in the background. Awesome.

  7. Nice pictures and a nice lesson on photography :-)
    Love the panorama. Nice place you live in ;-)

  8. Mike:

    Photobucket is better for displaying Panos than Webshots as it keeps your original upload size and when you click on the photo it does not go to your album. Most people use wide angle for panos, this one was done telephoto approx 135mm perspective


    I am a hobbyist, I like to experiment and I find a lot of freeware to try things out. Everything I know I can tell you in 3 minutes


    Not many places you can go skiing, then an hour later be sailing in the ocean, or golfing. Just get an idea in your mind of what your finished product would be and ask away. Maybe I can help. I gave up on rotating headers


    I have a little trick I do when shooting the photos. You have to make sure you don't move the Nodal Point as it makes it hard to line up. Look at your scene first and meter for the "brights" (set whitepoint) and lock exposure for the other shots. sometimes you shoot left to right, other times you shoot right to left, depends on the scene.

    Jack r:

    The road to Whistler has been greatly improved. You will hardly recognize the scenery along the way. It's time for you to fly back. Squamish is going to be the next Whistler with their new ski resort and many golf course. Too bad they only have one road to get there.


    Thank you for coming by. I noticed you had a Sigma too, and were taking some night shots and experimenting with lighting. I have studio lights and have just purchased some wireless flash triggers.


    Thank you, I thought I would give more explanation as to how I produced the Pano. The main thing I did was to change the colour temperature to warm up the scene so it resembled a summer night

  9. First the technical: great job on stitching the panorama together. Don't see any curving or color drop off...but be that 1/3 image overlap. :)

    Second the emotional: wonderful images. Love the perspective from this direction. But the variation in color of each building because of curtains still makes me think windows are broken out. :)

    Great use of your talents and equipment. Thank You.


    PS. When shooting with the Canon I always shoot in RAW. Double edged sword. Always requires post processing and can never just plug the images in for slideshows or something. I have a friend that has it set to RAW and JPG at the same time. I haven't tried that yet, but should.