Posts Tagged ‘Rochester Cathedral’


HDR Photography

Monday September 27, 2010

I’ve just started dabbling in HDR photography, that’s High Dynamic Range Photography.

High dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wider dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight. [Wikipedia]

My basic explanation of the method is: take three photos, one at the correct exposure, one x stops lower and one x stops higher.  Then the computer software merges the three images into one and ‘tone-mapping’ adjusts the output to better display on your screen.  Check the Wikipedia pages for more detailed/accurate explanation of the process.  😉

The photograph below shows an unaltered, correctly exposed image of Rochester Cathedral.  The photograph below that shows a HDR image which was made with the first one and two additional photos, one at -2 stops and one at +2 stops (the three constituent photos showed beneath the HDR image).

In the software, you can alter tone-mapping to suit your taste or what you’re trying to achieve with the photograph.  The HDR image below was processed with Dynamic Photo HDR using the ‘High Contrast’ tone-mapping preset option.

You can view the HDR image over on Flickr.


Rochester – Gigapan Photos

Friday September 24, 2010

Went out on Wednesday with my camera and my Gigapan to take some panoramic photos from the top of Rochester Castle.

The two images came out quite well.  The shot of the Castle gardens is the result of 80 individual photos and the shot overlooking the Cathedral resulted from 98 photos – all merged and blended by the Gigapan Stitch software (the gardens image taking over 1hr 30mins to complete).

The resultant Gigapan images can be explored by zooming in and out and panning around them.  Follow these links to view them:

Overlooking the Cathedral ( Gigapan link)
Castle Gardens (Gigapan link)

From Rochester Castle (Gigapan)

Rochester Castle Gardens (Gigapan)


Gigapan – The Photography Robot

Sunday December 13, 2009

The bikes have got me back into photography.  When I go out on long rides I take my Canon Ixus 40 with me to capture the ride, the sights and the memories.  Then I bought my Canon G11 as I wanted more control – the same level of control I had when I used my Minolta SLRs in the past.

Now I’ve bought a Gigapan Epic – a robotic camera mount for taking huge, high resolution images.


Okay, here’s something cool:

The GigaPan Imager uses the same panoramic photo technology as the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, used to collect amazing panoramic images of Mars.

GigaPan Systems was established in 2008 as a commercial spin-off of a successful collaboration between researchers at NASA and Carnegie Mellon University that developed the breakthrough GigaPan System for creating high-resolution panoramic images. GigaPan Systems was founded to bring this powerful, high-resolution imaging capability to a broad audience.

The Gigapan system consists of the robotic mount, stitching software and the website which hosts the resulting massive images.

The mount itself ($300) fixes to the top of your tripod and then holds your digital camera nice and tightly in its special fixture.  There’s a small amount of setup to perform, so that it knows the field of view of your specific camera, and that’s it.  You then put your camera on maximum zoom, lock the focus, lock the exposure, then tell the Gigapan what to do.  It’s simple: you point the system at the top-left corner of your scene, then the bottom-right corner, and the Gigapan will then work out how many shots it needs to cover the entire scene.  Everything set, you start it off and it pans and tilts until its taken loads of individual photographs of the scene: x-number of rows and x-number of columns.

You then go home and download the images from your camera and into Gigapan’s stitching software.  This software really ‘uses’ your computer and all its processing and memory capacity to blend the photos into one huge image.  This can take a long time to compute, my initial (relatively small) capture took around 30 minutes – it’s complex and demanding for the software/computer to merge and blend these images automatically but it does it fantastically well.

Once it’s done its thing you upload to the website, into your account, and then it’s available for the world to see.

Initially it looks like a normal photograph, but then you move your mouse over it and you realise that you can zoom into the image, pan around and explore it – in a similar way to the way you navigate in Google Maps.  Find something of interest in the middle of the image? Just zoom in and take a look.  As you do, the Gigapan viewing software adds the more detailed images as you get in closer until you reach the full resolution, then just keep panning.

The Gigapan hardware was shipped to to me from the USA.  I ordered it late on a Sunday night (UK time), the Gigapan team shipped it on Monday afternoon and it arrived at 1045 on the Wednesday morning!  Really quick shipping and a high quality product.

It’s a great bit of kit and I’ve only just started playing with it.  The weather yesterday curtailed my trials but I managed to get a couple of giga-images captured: the Castle and the Cathedral.  I’ve just exported the castle image to a TIFF file and that image is 450MB in size!  It is a 261 mega pixel image!  Oh, and it took my computer 1hr 55mins to stitch it together – that’s 56 images in a grid of 7 x 8.

The images below are small copies of the exported TIFF files, if you want to see the Gigapan images then click the links below each photo and you’ll be taken to the images over on

I’ll post updates of my Gigapan experiences as and when they happen.

Click here to view the Gigapan image of the Castle

Click here to view the Gigapan image of the Cathedral

My Gigapan Epic set to take the images of the Cathedral


Early Saturday

Saturday March 14, 2009

Another early Saturday morning ride, this time to get some parcels from the Post Office.  The Dahon was the chosen vehicle for this and I slowly cycled into town.

I’ve had a bad neck this week, I must of pulled a muscle somehow, so the ride was slow and looking either side or behind proved to be painful.

Took a couple of snaps on my mobile phone camera of the Castle and the Cathedral on the way back.  These photos show the buildings from different angles compared to my previous photos.

(The camera on my Nokia E51 is not very good!).

Click on the images to view larger copies or pop over to my Out on the Bike set at Flickr.

Rochester Castle

Rochester Cathedral

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