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Composites

I don’t really like to do composites when I do photos. I edit a lot of things, but usually don’t use parts of other photos (not taken at the same location around the same time) to enhance the one I’m editing. That does not mean I never do it, but I like to specify in the description that it’s a composite. I just don’t like to give a fake impression, that somebody else can go to the place and get a photo like that directly.

So even today, as I will share with you a composite version of today’s photo, please know that it’s a composite and there was no time when I took these fireworks over Prague.

The whole length of the Charles Bridge

I took this panorama quite a while ago. But as with many other photos I never edited it until now. My photo library is huge and I like to randomly look through it and select older photos to edit. Of course this I do mostly when I don’t have that many new photos to edit. Also, since ones editing skills tend to improve over time, I think I can now edit photo I would not dare to do few years ago.

So this photo is a 2 tile panorama, each tile from 6 exposures. I did so many exposures, as some of the lights around the Prague castle are really bright. In the end I used every single on in the final editing. I combined the shots together in PTgui and then blended them in Photoshop.

The whole length of the Charles Bridge

And here are few details:

The whole length of the Charles Bridge

And as I mentioned, here is a composite image based on this Prague panorama. I did extent the top and bottom parts a lot, and then blended in 4 different fireworks photos. It does create quite a different photo, doesn’t it?

The whole length of the Charles Bridge

Winter wallpapers

It’s time again to add few new wallpapers to the wallpapers page. And since we have snow this year, all the new ones will be winter wallpapers. These are all in 3440×1440 resolution, so fit for ultra-wide wallpapers.

If you wonder why I like to share wallpapers in this resolution, there are three reasons. My main monitor has this resolutions, panoramas look great on ultra-wide monitors, and lastly, there are not that many available, as these type of monitors is not that widely adopted by users. Still they are great, and there being bigger selection of wallpapers for them is only good :)

Head over to the Wallpapers page to download them now.

New wallpapers

And here are the new ones.

Winter wallpapers
Winter wallpapers
Winter wallpapers
Winter wallpapers

The beauty of Winter

This is another panorama from winter Hallstatt, even if it does not look like one. I zoomed in quite a lot and also did the shots vertically, so it ended quite square like. In this photo of the center of Hallstatt, I really liked the contrast between the blue mountains and the warm colors of the lights. So I did my edit to enhance that, and so it guides the eye into the center of the photo.

This is a two shot panorama, each shot from 5 exposures. I needed so many exposures, as the light on the tower is quite bright and I wanted to get rid of the overexposed area. Basic edits done in Lightroom, combined in PTgui, blended in Photoshop.

The beauty of Winter, Hallstatt, Austria

Do you need the best camera?

I, probably as many other photographers, get the same questions all the time. Which is the best camera? Which one should I buy? Which one will make my photos better? (btw. the answers here are depends, depends and probably none) Since that is the case, I will share some of my though on this topic with you today.

Btw. If you goal is to show off that you have the best and priciest camera, that by all means get that. If that was the reason to buy, you probably don’t care about taking photos anyway, and it will just sit in some shelf somewhere.

When you don’t need a better camera

You often don’t need a better camera at all. To get better photos you usually need to change other things.

Is your composition good?
The most important thing about a photo is the composition. If your composition is bad, the photo is bad. And a better camera will not help you with this. Instead look for tutorials, guides, look at other photographers work and practice more.

Did you learn the basics?
Here I don’t mean just how to control you camera, but much more. Modes, histogram, focusing, choosing the best settings and so on. While the software in the camera is quite smart, you usually can get much more if you do things yourself. Even the best camera will not focus properly all the time, will not choose the best settings for what you need, and sometimes it can even make thing worse. I still remember the day when I switched to manual focusing. My photos became so much sharper instantly.

Do you edit your photos?
Continuing from the previous point. By post-processing your photos you can get much better results than directly from a camera. Try choosing a software you like and learning how to use it. Photoshop, Lightroom, Aurora or similar. Most are not that hard to get into and you can get them quite cheaply.

You maybe need something else
Maybe you don’t need a better camera, but an accessory. Again this depends on the type of photography. But maybe you need a sturdy tripod if you want to do landscapes. Or an external flash if you do portraits.

Do you need the best camera?

When you need a better camera

This is very depending on what you do. But here are few reasons.

You need higher resolution
This happened to me. As quite a lot of my photos end up being printer big, especially as wall sized posters, I just needed more resolution. I just can’t make a panorama of every photo. Also screen resolutions go up and up every year. 4k is equal to 8Mpix, 8k to 33Mpix. That is a crazy amount of pixels. And yes, there are upscalers, but they are not always the solution.

You need a faster camera
There are type of photography, where a fast camera and even faster focusing is a must. Sports photography is a good example here. If your camera is slow, you will not get the shot. It has to be able to save the photo quickly and focus even quicker.

Your work demands it
This is a bit indirect reason, but it can happen. For instance I bought a TSE lens, because I knew I would have to do over a 1000 interior photos for a client. So having this did make the whole work quicker and much easier.

Weather and dust resistance
Better cameras usually have better weather and dust resistance, and are made from stronger materials. You can see it if you compare a pro camera to a consumer one. There are much more resistant. My lenses fell on the ground, my camera fell, my tripod got bend and similar. Things happen. Everything works.

Do you need the best camera?

In the end, one has to decide for oneself if one needs a better camera or not. New stuff is always nice. But if you will not use anything from what the new camera will bring, what’s the point.

Focus blending

I wrote about focus blending a really long time ago, but as today’s photo is a really nice simple example, let’s shortly go over it here. With one part really close to the camera, the other far away, it’s really easy to blend them together if there is only water in between. The water will mostly not be sharp anyway, so you can just do one shot focused on the back and one at the foreground. Then just load both into Photoshop and using a simple graduated mask, blend them together.

I did the same for today’s photo, just with a small difference. I did it as a vertorama, where I changed focus between the shots. Some panorama programs will not merge a photo like this, but as I said, it’s easy to do it manually.

Snow covered rocks at the Danube

Behind the cameraIt was snowing quite a lot in Bratislava on Monday, but as the evening came, it all started melting. So I just had to go out to take few snowy photos before it all went away. I wanted a new nice photo of the snow cowered rocks at the Danube, and as the river is quite low right now, I got them.

This is a two shot vertorama, where I used two exposures for the top part (because I needed to tone down the bright lights of the castle) and one shot for the bottom part. Edited in Photoshop.

Snow covered rocks at the Danube
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