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  #1  
Old November 18th, 2008, 08:02 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Default Yemin Moshe and stitching in general.

Hi,

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: www.studio-beni.net/jerusalem far more to come when I get off my tuches and do some shooting!


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  #2  
Old November 18th, 2008, 08:06 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Ben,

Exquisite result. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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  #3  
Old November 18th, 2008, 11:11 AM
Valentin Arfire Valentin Arfire is offline
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Hi Ben,
thanks for sharing.

you have interesting and important pictures on your website, though I'm sure they really shine when exposed as prints of high resolution.

I think using bracketed series and photoshopping afterwards would have spared you at least one drive

regards,
Valentin
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Old November 19th, 2008, 12:36 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Quote:
I think using bracketed series and photoshopping afterwards would have spared you at least one drive
Not even close! I did bracket of course but you can't change the way the light is falling and the quality of the light in photoshop.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 01:20 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentin Arfire View Post
Hi Ben,
thanks for sharing.

you have interesting and important pictures on your website, though I'm sure they really shine when exposed as prints of high resolution.

I think using bracketed series and photoshopping afterwards would have spared you at least one drive

regards,
Valentin
Hi Valentin,

I think people should have a new look at the Fuji S5 which has 14 steps of measured dynamic range. The chance of blowing things out with one shot are very much reduced. If I was doing wedding work, this would be my camera fro B&W.

Ben,

Also in the bright sunlight with dark shadows on the stones of old Jerusalem, I think that the Fuji with it's special properties should beat any digital camera, as long as one uses a modest ISO setting.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; November 20th, 2008 at 09:18 PM. Reason: spelling!
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  #6  
Old November 19th, 2008, 01:48 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Asher. this photo was shot with a 5D, the stitching was made of unbracketed, unpolarised and unmanipulated frames shot at mid day in the middle east. You see any problems?

So why the heck would I want a 6 megapixel camera from a dead end system when I have so much RAW highlight headroom with my 5D files anyway?

Harsh light is not ideal for 99% of the shooting situations anyway, in most genres of photography, even if you have a sensor capable of handling it, it still isn't what you want. To sacrifice half the megapixels and that incredible 5D sharpness for 1%?

If it ain't broke don't fix it!

I'm a wedding shooter by profession. The highlight information has always been in the RAW files but processing to retain both highlight and have the faces with the proper brightness has always been the problem. Now with ACR 5 and LR2 the new dodge and burn tools (local adjustment brushes) have made that problem disappear period. The information was always there but now we don't have to go into PS to get it! Just processed my first wedding with ACR 5. You may only need the tools in 5% of the pictures where the contrast range is too great but when you do use it you realise that all the information is there and you can now get perfect files straight out of ACR. The idea of having to use an inferior camera system just to preserve highlights out of the box that my camera does anyway does not appeal to me in the slightest. Although I in my time shot many weddings with 6 megapixels, IMO 12 is the perfect amount.

The Fuji is good for a jpg shooter from a previous generation. With the D700 having 5 stops of RAW highlight headroom, 12 megapixels and an incredible pro body (sealing/AF/features)- it, together with a RAW processor with dodge and burn is without any doubt whatsoever the modern perfect wedding photographers camera bar none.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 05:48 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Trio from last night. All shot from within a 4 square meter radius with one prime lens. I love shooting in the Old City, a true treasury of photography.

__
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Old November 20th, 2008, 06:28 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
I think people should have a new look at the Fuji S5 which has 14 steps of measured dynamic range.
Perhaps you mean "stops" (although in fact sometimes the term "steps" is used for that same purpose - other times, for one of the subdivisions of a "stop" in which we are able to set some exposure parameter).

Do you happen to know under what "definition" that dynamic range was measured (or can you point me to some reference from which I might be able to divine that)?

As you know, there are various metrics of "dynamic range", and as is so often the case, which one is "meaningful" depends on what property of the system we are interested in.

Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old November 20th, 2008, 07:49 AM
Michael Fontana Michael Fontana is offline
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Doug
you might grab some data, here DXO-MArk...
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  #10  
Old November 20th, 2008, 02:03 PM
scott kirkpatrick scott kirkpatrick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
Trio from last night. All shot from within a 4 square meter radius with one prime lens. I love shooting in the Old City, a true treasury of photography.

__
Hi, Ben. The left and right frames look familiar, but I don't recognize the elegant door in the middle. Where in the old city did you find it?

Mosaicing and HDR work have been research interests in the vision and imaging group at my university (HUJI) for some time. These guys like to simply wave a camera around, passing back and forth over a scene more than once, and let the software figure out how it all fits together. So there is lots more technology waiting to trickle down into LR in the future.

scott
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Old November 20th, 2008, 09:37 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug_Kerr View Post
Hi, Asher,

Do you happen to know under what "definition" that dynamic range was measured (or can you point me to some reference from which I might be able to divine that)?
Dxomark.com
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Old November 20th, 2008, 09:53 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
Asher. this photo was shot with a 5D, the stitching was made of unbracketed, unpolarised and unmanipulated frames shot at mid day in the middle east. You see any problems?
Ben,

That's a perfect vertical pano and an impressive new view of Yamin Moshe.! I also enjoyed the picture on your website expecially the last one of the little girl being lead through that stone arch passage way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
Now with ACR 5 and LR2 the new dodge and burn tools (local adjustment brushes) have made that problem disappear period. The information was always there but now we don't have to go into PS to get it! Just processed my first wedding with ACR 5. You may only need the tools in 5% of the pictures where the contrast range is too great but when you do use it you realise that all the information is there and you can now get perfect files straight out of ACR.
Thanks for that useful insight. I'll have to upgrade ACR. Trouble is I have to upgrade to CS4 to use the plugin! Looks like you have made a compelling argument to do so!

Upgrades seem like a continual taxation system! Ugh!

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; January 17th, 2009 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Syntax
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  #13  
Old November 21st, 2008, 12:53 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Scott, the first picture is of the famous orange tree of the Jewish Quarter (go to the main plaza and turn right) if you turn round 180 degrees from where that photo was taken you see the 2nd picture, literally. It is the door of the old Sephardi Synagogue which is now no longer in use.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 01:18 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Another quick one...

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Old January 17th, 2009, 02:18 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Ben,

I like the picture. The tree does not have enough room; its limited left and right. The old fellow on the right, he's not going anywhere fast either. Sort of symbolic!

Asher
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  #16  
Old January 17th, 2009, 03:05 PM
Daniel Buck Daniel Buck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
So very much easier and more stress free than using LF
to me, large format is relaxing if large format is stressful to you, you are probably trying to rush it
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  #17  
Old January 17th, 2009, 04:05 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi Ben,

Just a quick note to let you know that I am enjoying these pictures very much, thanks for showing.


Cheers,
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  #18  
Old January 18th, 2009, 05:43 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Thanks folks. Asher, the squishing of the tree is intentional, it's an extremely narrow street with the branches brushing against both walls as is shown. I'm trying to convey that both through the choice of crop (actually originally intented it as a regular 2:3) and the compostion.

I've known about this little street for a while but never seen how to shoot it until I was walking past with a friend one night on the way for a felafel and suddenly it clicked. I let the guy blur on purpose, I think it works well with the scene and his age. The road is certainly very old and was where Rav (Rabbi) Kook, the revered first Chief Rabbi of Israel lived. The area is being built around and this little street is an oasis of older times amongst modern building work. The Olive tree and paving stones are coated in a thick layer of dust (as was I and my camera by the end of this!) from a huge building site on the left. To the right of where I was standing is the entrance to a courtyard which looks little different to those of Talmudical times. I got talking to a resident of the courtyard and have his phone number so hopefully I'll be going back!
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Old January 18th, 2009, 08:22 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Michael,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Fontana View Post
Doug
you might grab some data, here DXO-MArk...
They give their definition (a little carelessly, but I know what they mean).

It is conceptually very much the same as the ISO definition.

Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:50 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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I didn't think this new photo would work, it was a throwaway composition because they had erected scaffolding over about 500 meters of outside wall exactly where I wanted to photograph a certain picture that I'd waited a year for the light to be right for. I was there anyway so I walked back and took this. I think this one actually turned out far better than I'd expected.

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Old March 12th, 2009, 09:55 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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not sure about this one, opinions please.

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Old March 12th, 2009, 01:14 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Hi Ben,

I like the figure in the shadows in their own thoughts. Are they coming towards us or leaving, tourist, local or tradesman or maybe a scholar? We don't know. Every brick here has seen all this and much more for many generations.

To me, I'd have tried to add all the height possible above that arch even if it was just a lot of sky, for the man is small and could be smaller. It's the stonework which is there despite who comes and goes. Alternatively, I'd do the opposite and shrink down and deal with the more intimate relationships and aura of that person by cropping away the right half of the picture. Had there been a figure coming out of the door on the right or a birds or dog or other feature then that portion would hold it's weight with some reason for taking up so much real estate.

So either it's more or it's less.

Anyway, if I saw it in a gallery or a book on fine photography, I wouldn't have raised these objections at all. You just opened up my own ability to bring to bear my imagination and allow me then to think how I'd have tackled this same scene.

I'd also accept and understand that we are also seeing the rebuilding of one layer over the other and that is what's there, after all!

Asher
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Old April 26th, 2009, 12:55 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Firstly, I've dumped the image from above, never really made the grade.

Here's the first from today:


I really have to start noting down the street names as I wander around shooting this stuff, I know where it is though so I'll work it out so as to give it a name of sorts.

The next image is rather complicated to process but I hope to get it up tonight still.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 12:55 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Here we go, resizing down from a 37 megapixel image and web jpg compression has killed the subtle highlights on the stairs but hey, you get the idea. Kudos to the cat who stayed completely still for a 2 second exposure! (and that at iso 800..). There was a rather eccentric old woman by appearance who was feeding milk to the stray cats who roam Jerusalem just at the top of the stairs. Originally I just wished she would move out of the way but then the idea came to use one of the cats to complete the composition. Took me an hour to capture one in the right place, with the right pose and staying still long enough!

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Old April 26th, 2009, 01:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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[/QUOTE]

Ben Rubinstein Images in Old Jerusalem

Hi Ben,

I love the common motif of having a small but important detailed compositional element at the end of each passageway. It provides sufficient life to add dimensions.

Asher
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Old April 27th, 2009, 11:35 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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From a cat to a bird...

Batei Machsei

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Old May 3rd, 2009, 12:21 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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3 more from today.

__

Not sure about the middle one, very happy with the last one but it's a single shot cropped to 6X12 so only 6.6 megapixels worth. That said for some reason the file looks exactly like a scan from 35mm film (high iso and gritty blacks) so I'm not scared to enlarge it. With some shots the moment will carry the image far further than you would expect from the quality.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 03:50 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
With some shots the moment will carry the image far further than you would expect from the quality.



Ben, I'm enjoying this thread and your work here. Just wanted to say thanks.

Mike
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 08:12 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
Asher. this photo was shot with a 5D, the stitching was made of unbracketed, unpolarised and unmanipulated frames shot at mid day in the middle east. You see any problems?.........

I'm a wedding shooter by profession. The highlight information has always been in the RAW files but processing to retain both highlight and have the faces with the proper brightness has always been the problem. Now with ACR 5 and LR2 the new dodge and burn tools (local adjustment brushes) have made that problem disappear period. The information was always there but now we don't have to go into PS to get it! Just processed my first wedding with ACR 5. You may only need the tools in 5% of the pictures where the contrast range is too great but when you do use it you realise that all the information is there and you can now get perfect files straight out of ACR. The idea of having to use an inferior camera system just to preserve highlights out of the box that my camera does anyway does not appeal to me in the slightest. Although I in my time shot many weddings with 6 megapixels, IMO 12 is the perfect amount.
Hi Ben,

Right now you are doing wonders with the 5D mark I, I believe. Have you found any benefit with Canons software?

Asher
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 08:15 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
3 more from today.

__

Not sure about the middle one, very happy with the last one but it's a single shot cropped to 6X12 so only 6.6 megapixels worth. That said for some reason the file looks exactly like a scan from 35mm film (high iso and gritty blacks) so I'm not scared to enlarge it. With some shots the moment will carry the image far further than you would expect from the quality.
Ben,

The form of the 6x12 and the frame with several images in series truly give us the feeling of having windows in a home and we are there looking out through different windows.

You have picked a distinguishing mode of presentation for your work and it's entirely apt, adding to the ambience of the body of work. In fact, it becomes almost a mark of veracity.

Asher
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