Search Results for: fisheye

Some scenes call for a fisheye and fun!

I spent a wonderful sunny afternoon photographing with my friend Jim on the slopes of Mt Diablo. The sky was blue with high-flying clouds, the slopes were green and alive with flowers. On the trail, the California Oak trees towered above. Some scenes just call for a fisheye lens.

California Oak © Harold Davis

California Oak BW © Harold Davis

It’s often not realized that an iPhone transfer can be used bidirectionally if you want to use one of the creative iPhone apps on an image made with a “big boy” camera.

To make the “for fun” variations below, I copied the color fisheye image (shot with my Nikon D850 and the 8-15mm Nikkor fisheye at 8mm for the circular effect) onto my iPhone. The effects were generated using the Fancy Filters category of the Photo Lab app.

Tree Drops © Harold davis

Kaleidoscope © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone

Happy Fisheye Family

Every once in a while a photographic gadget comes along that is simply so silly, and such a kluge, that I have to try it! After all, photography is about having fun, and not just about making “serious” images. In that spirit, I ordered a set of auxillary lens for the camera in my iPhone from the always-fun Photojojo.

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The set of lens arrived via UPS in an envelope with a plastic dinosaur. I’m not sure what message the dinosaur was intended to send, but it was kind of fun—part of the point of the affair. The set comes with a telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens that unscrews to reveal also an extreme macro lens, and a fisheye lens. Note that the zoom facility within the iPhone itself is purely digital, and doesn’t provide any optical differentiation; hence, the desirability of a set of auxiliary lenses that do work optically.

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The way this accessory lens set attaches to the iPhone is that you stick a magnetic disk that has glue on one side onto your iPhone around the camera optics. If the idea of gluing something to your iPhone gives you the creeps, then this isn’t for you!

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Each lens is magnetized and snaps onto the magnetic side of the disk. This works reasonably well. So far, I’ve had most fun with the fisheye lens, shown in these images. The kids wanted their iPhone fisheye picture taken while they mugged for the camera, and I used a tripod to make a self-portrait.

Who knew that the audio cable of an iPhone can also double as a cable release? Maybe you do, but I didn’t. To make this trick work, with the camera app active and the ear buds plugged in, press the “up” volume button on the ear buds wire (indicated by the + symbol).

Well, if this all sounds pretty jerry-rigged, it is truly not the sturdiest setup in town. But it is fun while it lasts, and look at it this way: they laughed when Leica first introduced the 35mm camera, and also called it a “toy.” In photography, toys have a way of sometimes outlasting “serious” gear.

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Wonder whether I’ll be using these photos as blackmail when my kids are older? Me too. Here are some other fisheye shots of Katie Rose and the family from a few years back, shot with a conventional camera and the Nikon 10.5mm digital fisheye.

Posted in iPhone, Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Cockeyed Fisheye Landscape

Bend in the River

Late one spring afternoon I was scouting the bucolic farm country of rural Sonoma County. From Whitaker Bluff under scuttling clouds I photographed this cockeyed fisheye view of the bend in Siempre Creek and the curvature at the horizon. It’s unusual to shoot a landscape where the distortion is so obvious—because of the fisheye lens, and because I positioned the camera sideways at an angle—but I think in this case it works.

Speaking of landscapes, my new book Creative Landscapes: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques is now shipping from Amazon (although the official publication date of the book is still several weeks off). If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think.

Posted in Bemusements, Landscape, Photography

Lensbaby Fisheye

Leucospermum Fisheye

Leucospermum Fisheye, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a close-up fisheye of my Leucospermum Scarlet Ribbons. I photographed the flower with the Lensbaby Composer and the new Fisheye Optic.

The image you see is a hand-HDR composite of five exposures, all at ISO 100 on tripod. Each exposure used the f/22 aperture ring. Exposure time ranged from 1/4 of a second to 1/30 of second.

Posted in Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

Fisheye Family

Fisheye Family Katie

Fisheye Family Katie, photo by Harold Davis.

I sometimes enjoy the creative challenge of being constrained to a single lens, and it is certainly a challenge to create portraits with a fisheye lens. Fortunately, my kids get the humor of the thing, and play along.

Fisheye Family Nicky 2 Fisheye Family Mathew
Fisheye Family Julian

Fisheye Family Nicky

Besides the obvious distortion and curvature, the key thing to bear in mind with a fisheye is how much close foreground it includes. In the landscape context, this implies that you better have something interesting in the foreground of a fisheye composition (consider my Between the Earth and Sky as an example).

Moral: if you are taking portraits, you need to get the lens really, really close, like an inch away.

For more fisheyes of my tolerant kids see Cruel & Unusual Lens.

Posted in Bemusements, Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Biggest: Correcting Digital Fisheye Distortion

What do you do as a photographer when confronted with the biggest tree on earth, stretching up so high that it can’t possibly fit in a normal frame? I say one way to go is to use an extreme wide-angle lens, like the Nikon 10.5mm digital fisheye I used here. This lens is specially formulated for digital, and cannot be mounted on a film camera. It has no aperture ring, so f/stops must be set in camera. It projects a smaller image against the sensor to overcome Nikon’s 1.5X focal lens magnification factor—and still be truly wide angle.

If one is lucky, the fisheye lens will even pick up a starburst effect from the sun, like I did here in front of the General Grant tree in Sequoia. By the way, I know Sherman was a great general, and succeeded in raising Atlanta and marching to the sea, but I’d have rather they named these wonderful trees after less warlike folk. Maybe the Martin Luther King tree?

The problem with a fisheye photo, of course, is that for better or worse it will show the curvature distortion that is typical of extreme wide angles. Nikon attempts to combat this with a filter in their Nikon Capture software that is specifically designed to uncurve the curvature caused by this 10.5mm fisheye lens.

As another aside, even if you own a multi-thousand dollar Nikon dSLR, you still have to go out and buy Nikon Capture with a street price of about $100.00. I think this really stinks, since Capture has a few capabilites such as this 10.5mm digital fisheye distortion correction, and the ability to automate camera functions from the computer, that really should be considered integral to Nikon’s product line. There’s also a filter in Capture that automatically removes the dust that accumulated on the sensor protection (you need to take a reference photo and send it to the software.)

Capture is really part of Nikon’s digital camera solution, and should be provided with higher-end Nikon digital cameras—and Nikon should give up trying to think that anyone will use it instead of Photoshop.

Here’s another version of the photo of General Sherman run through the the Nikon Capture filter to correct the extreme fisheye distortion. I don’t think it makes as much difference as one might expect. However, I didn’t choose the option that said to correct areas where there was no image available. This would have had the effect of uncurving the image more (also, making the elements within it seem smaller), and I could have cloned in trees into the missing areas.

Biggest Un-Fisheyed

View this photograph larger.

Posted in Bemusements, Landscape, Photography, Photoshop Techniques

Fisheye-Lens Dog

I’m trying out my new toy, an AF-Fisheye Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 G ED lens for my D70. This is one of the first pictures with it.

One of our neighbors has this dog on approval from the Milo Foundation. He (the neighbor, not the dog) says they haven’t given the dog a name yet until they decide to keep him. I hope they do, I think he is very cute.

The fisheye lens is kind of cute, too – and will take some getting used to. I’m looking forward to using it in situations where I want to capture an entire wide scene.

Extreme wide angles are problematic on digital SLRs because the capture arrays (sensors) are smaller than on film SLRs. The magnification factor is 1.5 for Nikon and 1.6 for Canon. This is good for telephotos (your 200mm lens becomes a powerful 300mm equivalent on Nikon digital) but bad for wide angles (your nifty 20mm has become a so-so 30mm equivalent).

This fisheye is specially made for Nikon’s digital cameras, and gets around this problem by opticially reducing the image size within the lens before it even hits the camera’s sensors.

I’m having fun playing! More fisheye photos:


Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Eye of the Tower

In mid-February of this year, I photographed at the massive Tower Arch in the back country of Arches National Park, in Utah. Time was short because the winter day was coming to an end, and the four-wheel road back out to Moab was demanding even in good light. This was one of my last images of the day, photographed using a fisheye lens, looking west and south through the opening in the arch.

Eye of the Tower © Harold Davis

Eye of the Tower © Harold Davis

When I processed this image, I was mindful that the scene seemed very dynamic at the time because the weather was rapidly changing. I wanted to keep this sense of natural movement in the final image, with the clouds as a contrast to the solidity of the rock.

Here’s the exposure information: Nikon D850, 8mm-14mm fisheye at the 14mm rectangular fisheye setting, seven exposures with each exposure at f/29 and ISO 64, exposure speeds from 1/15 of a second to 2.5 seconds; tripod mounted; RAW conversion using ACR, and exposures hand-blended using Photoshop. 

Posted in Landscape, Photography

Exciting Ride to Tower Arch

So there were four of us, or six if you count me, myself, and I: also my old friend Eric, my German friend and colleague in x-ray photographics Julian, and Loki the Australian sheep dog. We happy few drove in Eric’s Blue Ganesh, an off-road modified high-clearance Toyota 4-Runner with under-armor plates, video front and aft, a pop-top sleeper, a snorkel like an elephant trunk, and a hobbit-like stove pipe bringing up the rear. You’d have to see this vehicle to believe it.

Eric, who had just completed a certificate course in off-road driving, was of course at the wheel. A fact I was glad about as the off-road trail I had picked turned radically into a stone and mud obstacle course, and Eric proved the usefulness of having a split differential. Who knew that each wheel functioning on its own could make such a difference when climbing a wall of rocks?

At the end of the bone-jolting ride a short walk led up and over and through the kind of stone maze that I love to traverse, and at the end of the walk there was Tower Arch, photographed here looking back through the opening west at near sunset using a horizontal fisheye.

View through Tower Arch © Harold Davis

View through Tower Arch © Harold Davis

Exposure data: Nikon D850, Nikkor 8-15mm fisheye at 15mm, eight exposures from 1/60 of a second to 2.5 seconds, each exposure at f/29 and ISO 62; tripod mounted. Exposures combined and processed using Nik HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop.

Posted in Photography

Garden Gate

Entering the Enchanted Garden © Harold Davis

Gardens are about more than flowers. An important component of any garden is how you get in, or if you get in at all. Gardens have entrances and exits, and, yes, gates. The garden gate helps signify the kind of garden you should expect: formal versus informal, exclusive versus inclusive, playful versus serious, and so on.

What does the garden entrance shown here, to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller garden, with the garden’s Spirit Path shown through the gate, suggest about the character of this lovely garden?

Garden Gate © Harold Davis

Top photo using a circular fisheye is intentionally overexposed to suggest an enchanted garden within; bottom photo (shown immediately above) is a panoramic crop of a horizontal fisheye indicating the extent of the wall surrounding the garden.  

Posted in Photography

Finding the Attic

Phyllis just reminded me via Facetime that Maine is “Stephen King” country. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I opened a door I had never noticed before (or always thought of as a locked closet) in the house the workshop organization is putting me up in. The door led to a rickety flight of stairs and an attic with many needful things, and the dormer window you see here.

Attic (via IPhone) © Harold Davis

The photograph above is via iPhone, processed in Snapseed and ImageBlender. The photo below is monochromatic HDR processed in Photoshop, and captured with my D850 and a 15mm horizontal fisheye on a tripod.

Attic Monochrome © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

San Francisco Reflections

Wandering with a friend in downtown San Francisco last week, I was struck by all the new construction, and how much things have changed. Over the past half-dozen years I have mostly wandered more exotic paths—Son Doong Cave in Vietnam, the Kumano kodo in Japan, the Camino de Santiago, and more—and have seldom set foot in San Francisco.

The place has changed, almost beyond recognition. What struck me most in the area around Salesforce Tower is all the modern, reflective windows, which sometimes provide echoes of a distant and almost forgotten past, now alienated and completely separate from the present.

Rage Against the Grid © Harold Davis

Rage Against the Grid © Harold Davis (1 Sansome St)

Time Travel © Harold Davis

Time Travel © Harold Davis (1 Sansome St)

We cannot enclose the clouds © Harold Davis

We cannot enclose the clouds © Harold Davis (1 Sansome St)

What windows do we want? © Harold Davis

What windows do we want? © Harold Davis (45 Fremont St)

At the conclusion of our walk, we headed across the top of the Broadway Tunnel to Chinatown, which in contrast to the slicker downtown seems pretty much as it always was, a bustling enclave of tourists and Chinese-Americans doing their thing.

Here’s a “sort of take the photographer’s life in his hands” fisheye of the eastern mouth of the tunnel. You can see the light trail of a vehicle that was too close and too fast on the right of my position, and my companion as a kind of “ghost” on the left hand side of the image.

Broadway Tunnel © Harold Davis

Broadway Tunnel © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Our Lady of Chartres

I recently was privileged to visit Chartres Cathedral with my group of Paris photographers. The upper two images were made inside Our Lady of Chartres with a fisheye lens and the camera on a tripod. You can see that the inside has been cleaned and looks almost new. On my previous visit, in 2013, some parts had been cleaned but the ceiling was untouched, and scaffolding was still up for cleaning and restoring the rest (as shown in the bottom image).

Our Lady of Chartres (color) © Harold Davis

Our Lady of Chartres (color) © Harold Davis

Our Lady of Chartres (b&w) © Harold Davis

Our Lady of Chartres (b&w) © Harold Davis

Chartres © Harold Davis

Chartres (2013) © Harold Davis

Click here for the blog story from my 2013 visit to Chartres.

Posted in France, Photography

Correlation versus Causality

In downtown Palermo, Sicily, at the intersection of Via Maqueda and Via Vittorio Emanuele is an ornate and baroque piazza, surrounded by four symmetrical structures with statues in niches. Dubbed Quattro Canti—“Four Corners”—it is actually hard to give a sense of the overall ornamentation overload of the location. Often closed to vehicular traffic, usually with one or more street musicians performing, Quattro Canti was a fun place to hang out. I kept trying to pre-visualize how to make an image that captured both the over-the-top baroque ornamentation of the place along with the sense of place generated by the symmetry of the four buildings, but in practice none of my ideas really seemed to live up to the reality.

Correlation versus Causality © Harold Davis

This image consists of two photos. Both were taken from the center of Quattro Canti with my camera on the tripod, and both used my Nikkor 8-15mm fisheye lens. The outer image was made with the lens set to 15mm, so it is categorized as a rectangular fisheye. The inner image, which is repeated twice at different sizes, was photographed at 8mm, so it is a circular fisheye image. And, yes, LAB color inversions were used to create the final.

Regarding my title, Correlation versus Causality, I am mindful of a story about Picasso. Apparently, he hated giving his paintings titles, and thought they should speak for themselves. Sometimes his dealers forced him to come up with a title. He claimed to use the first thing that came to his mind, and enjoyed listening to critics hashing out the meanings of the titles he had given so heedlessly.

Posted in Photography

Rotunda of Mosta

Here’s another fisheye lens view of the interior of the Rotunda of Mosta—where the bomb fell through during WWII without detonating, or harming the assembled congregation!

Rotunda of Mosta via Fisheye © Harold Davis

Posted in Malta