Category Archives: photography

On this page:
  • Learning photography
  • 360′ virtual tours
  • A mannequin would be useful
  • Learning how to shoot
  • Food photography attempt
  • Taking portraits of people

Learning photography

My dad’s been teaching me how to shoot. =) Check out my pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sachac !

Covering all the bases Meow

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360′ virtual tours

How do real-estate websites show 360′ virtual tours of their spaces? I
spent part of the afternoon looking at software for possible business
use. Here’s how they do it, I think.

*Take photos.* First take super-wide-angle shots, rotating your camera
around a fixed point. A number of stores sell fisheye lenses and
camera mounts for this purpose. The mount for spherical pictures (all
directions, including up and down) is more complicated than the mount
for a 360′ panoramic shot. If you don’t mind distortion, then you can
use a regular camera and just take pictures facing different
directions, relying on stitching software to compensate a bit for the distortion.

*Stitch the pictures.* Camera designed specifically for 360′ or
spherical shots may be able to capture the entire scene in one image.
However, if you’re using a rotating mount or you’re taking pictures in
different directions, then you’ll need to combine the images into a
seamless panorama by using stitching software.

*Produce the brochure.* 360′ viewers range from simple ones that
smoothly scroll a panoramic picture, to more interactive viewers that
include floor plans and clickable hotspots in the image. Choose the
software that fits your intended purpose and budget.

Some companies that sell 360′ software:

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A mannequin would be useful

When I have more space, I think a mannequin and some white cloth for a
backdrop would make these totally small-time clothing shoots a lot
more manageable. Shooting myself with a point-and-shoot’s self-timer
is way more work than it should be.

Maybe I should take all of my malongs home this Christmas, borrow a
mannequin from somewhere, and borrow the studio cyclorama so that I’d
have a seamless floor. Would be totally excellent for learning how to
shoot. <laugh> Who knows—I might even get into lights!

I foresee constantly tweaking clothes, and it would be nice to be able
to document that. Totally small-budget. No models, no model releases,
etc. ;) It’s not going to be high fashion or anything like that, but
it will be fun!

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Learning how to shoot

Yesterday, my dad took me along on his Manila skyline shoot. He talked
the condominium administrator to let him take pictures from the
helipad on the 42nd floor; him, and the ten other photographers he
invited! I tagged along to bond with my dad and to carry equipment.
It was fun.

That was the *best* view I’d ever seen. It was a clear day and we
really could see forever, from the mountains and hills near Antipolo
to the oceans beyond the bay. Because we were on a helipad, there was
that feeling of nothing being between you and the rest of the world.
Wow!

I shot people more than I shot landscapes, though. It’s easier to tell
stories with people. For example, I got a few good pictures of my dad
telling people stories over halo-halo. What a place to eat halo-halo!
With an unobstructed 360′ view of the Manila skyline and everything…

So yesterday, I learned how to shoot with an SLR. I discovered the
thrill of seeing a picture in your mind’s eye and figuring out how to
make it real. Today, my dad got me a point-and-shoot camera that’s so
much better than my current camera. I’ve been trying it out by taking
pictures of my patient and long-suffering cat. I’m looking forward to
using it for portraits…

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Food photography attempt

That’s what we had for Thanksgiving dinner. I borrowed W-‘s camera to
take the shot, as his was already all set up. This picture used the
room light and an external flash unit placed diagonally in front of
the pan. I like how the background is nice and soft, the roast is
detailed, and the mashed potatoes are cheery but not overwhelming.

If I could shoot this picture again, I’d add another flash behind the
roast in order to add more definition. I’d also find a way to minimize
the shadow cast by the front edge of the pan, perhaps by raising the
front-diagonal flash or increasing the toplight. I’d get rid of that
sprig of whatever that is in front of the lamb, too. I’d also increase
the depth of field by changing apertures so that more of the roast is
in focus.

W- and I enjoy cooking and taking pictures of food. We usually have
time to get a few shots in before hunger sets in. <laugh>

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Taking portraits of people

Ian Irving was kind enough to not only introduce me to a wonderful little cafe (Lou’s Coffee Bar at Runnymede and Annette) and share his insights on consulting and tech evangelism, but to also sit for a portrait by this amateur.

Good side-lighting. Yay dimples. =) I also like the background – the
exchange bookshelf at the cafe. I cropped this one really tight, which
improved the composition a bit.

Next time I take a picture, I’ll spend a little more time trying to
make sure it’s in focus.

Not bad for a quick shot, though. =)

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