Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 14/08/2011

In Absentia – Day Two (the return of Absentia)

When the weather in the UK is at it’s best (it’s best not including in any form of precipitation) then England is truly a beautiful country – it’s no wonder tourists flock here.  One of my favourite pastimes when out with the camera was first driven by the limitation of the film camera I was using, the STX-1N I mentioned yesterday.  I know this might sounds a little incredulous but at the time I only possessed one lens for the camera, a 50mm f1.9 (odd f-stop) prime.  It was, and still is a great lens, and it’s limitations helped me develop more as a photographer, teaching me how to frame correctly.  It’s very easy in this day and age where zoom lenses are cheap and plentiful, to zoom into the subject and take the photo, but this may not be the best perspective or best photo opportunity available.

Often referred to as a standard zoom, the 50mm focal length is supposed to produce images comparable to how we see the world (apart from the Bionic Man of course) – the added advantage, when taking photos with a full frame camera (this is important in digital camera terms) is that there is little or no distortion to the final photo and so you join or overlap images together seamlessly.

It was this capability that I used to  great effect, to produce composite photos showing “the bigger picture” – literally.  I always ensured that the images were not simply side by side, so that the final image shape was a mass of angles (as opposed to Angels!)  rather than the normal rectangular photo dimensions.  Of course, what ever film can do, digital can (or try to) do better (I won’t mention dynamic range if you don’t) – and so photo stitching as it’s come to be called is a piece of cake with even the most basic of photo editing software.  The software will also auto-correct any exposure differences, pin cushioning, barrel distortion, premature balding, and gout without intervention from the user. This does, to some extent, take away some of the fun as well as creativeness of the process, and it’s possibly for this reason I’ve stopped taking as many multi-image panoramas.  Perhaps whilst on holiday, I’ll dust down the 50mm f1.4 lens I have and take some more.


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