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Old November 18th, 2008, 08:02 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default Yemin Moshe and stitching in general.


For the past few months I've been shooting and stitching in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. The amount of output is technically shameful but I also commute to the UK to shoot weddings so between recovery time and getting to know my family again (!) I have very little time to shoot. Oh and I'm a lazy git!

Quick introduction. I love the 6X12 ratio. I started with large format but quickly realised that the amount of DOF needed necessitated a stupidly high aperture which in turn gave little resolution benefit (for all the faff that LF involves) and 10 second shutter speeds before filtration were pretty useless with moving subjects or foliage.

So I did what I should have done at the beginning, took one of my existing 5D's, a couple of lenses and started stitching. Most of what you will read about stitching is not true anymore if ever. Modern software means that the nodal point faff has been relegated to niche applications, even close up I've never needed it. You need less overlap than they say certainly don't need to measure it, modern software is pretty good with moving foliage, you don't need everything levelled up exactly in all planes if you shoot a bit wider to compensate for the crop and you can refocus between frames for huge amounts of DOF. With an RRS rotating pano head, L plates, a small camera and simple lenses I'm knocking out 30 megapixel files. Takes about a minute of shooting on site with the ability to use higher iso's (with a file that big who would notice!) and the stitching at home takes less than an hour and most of that is just me fiddling with the vanishing point for a natural perspective when shooting architecture. So very much easier and more stress free than using LF and with zero cost!

Anyway, intro over, I've had this image in mind for a long time. I've seen the windmill with the cactus in the foreground many times from the bus route leading from the Old City to the center of town. The windmill is of course much and over photographed, it's one of the Jerusalem landmarks as shown on countless paintings, embroidery and silver etching, etc. I've never seen it before with the cactus however, and almos never as a small part of the image in vertical.

I went scouting around and took a similar frame with my 5D and 50mm, the perspective I prefer for this project. A couple of days later I got up for a dawn shoot, paid the exorbitant taxi fare and started shooting. To shoot a 50mm perspective with this crop takes a 100mm lens but my new 100mm prime was off being focus calibrated and my 70-200L had just been sold to pay for my new Gitzo 2542. All I had was the rather inferior 24-105L but hey with that much resolution it's not as if you would ever notice the difference! BUT what I didn't realise was that unlike my 70-200L, this lens doesn't have a tripod sensing IS. Got home. Half the frames had 'lens shake' due to the IS and the remaining ones, while looking great in colour, the light was completely wrong for B&W. None of the contrast on the windmill that my test shot had. I'd been waiting for the light to hit the right of the tree but even when it did, and the light was beautiful, the windmill was still in shade.

So I went back at about 11am (the bus from outside my apartement goes past it which is useful) and took the picture by about 11.30am. The winter sun is less harsh on 'film' though it looks harsh too the eye but I never thought that the light would be right near to midday in middle eastern sun.

I give you 'Yemin Moshe'. 32 megapixels from a rectilinear stitch and possibly a story better than the picture. More from this project and most using stitching and the 6X12 crop here: far more to come when I get off my tuches and do some shooting!

Ben Rubinstein
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