It is snowing outside, the temperature is hovering around freezing. I can hear the wind roaring through the trees outside, not only does it feel bitterly cold, it sounds it as well. I'm thankful to be sitting with my feet up against the radiator under the desk in my study.
What better thing to do than to carry out a bit of photo processing from the New Zealand trip. It's two weeks since we got home and I've still to stitch together some of the panoramic shots I took at various locations.
A short distance outside of Kerikeri, is Opito Bay, a cluster of houses around a shingly beach, and a sheltered anchorage for small boats. It sits on the northern side of the Kerikeri inlet which leads eastwards out into the Bay of Islands and the mighty Pacific Ocean beyond.
It was a bit of an overcast day, but bright which made judging the exposure difficult, a bright white sky and a thick canopy of dark leaves which made it quite dark below the trees.
I wanted to capture the detail in the trunks of the Pohutukawa trees which line the shore. Their gnarled trunks are a mass of amazing shapes and textures, covered in wispy lichen. The same trees were probably lining the shore when Captain James Cook first explored the coastline of New Zealand back in 1769.
I used the histogram on the camera to ensure I captured the maximum range of brightness levels that was possible, deciding I would rather preserve the shadow detail and lose some of the detail in the sky. The captured raw images didn't look too good but the histogram showed that I've captured the maximum range of brightness, with just the brightest highlights falling off the right hand end of the graph.
I always shoot in raw format to ensure the maximum amount of information is captured in the file. Raw files always look a bit 'flat' but with careful processing the details can be bought out.
These images have been processed using Capture One Pro 7 software. What I like about this software is its ability to recover details in both highlights and shadows. By selecting one image in a panoramic series I am able to make my adjustments to bring out the details in the raw file by moving the sliders. I can then copy those adjustments to all the other photographs in the series thereby obtaining a uniform result across all the images in the sequence. The files are then output as full quality jpeg files into Adobe Photoshop CS5 then stitched together to make the panoramic final panoramic images.