It has been a while since my last post, but we’re back in business and ready to spread the love a little more!
As some of you may know, I have been (very slowly) working on a project that I hope to get finished up in the next six months. Entitled “A Cup of Tea in Seoul,” the project is exactly what it says it is: busting out our tea cups in Seoul. From the streets of Jongno, to a back alley and the middle of a highway, the project has been rolling along and the table has been giving Popeye a run for his money. (Check the bottom of the post for some of the other shots!)
This time around I took the next step and went for a full ‘bokehrama’ or Bokeh Panorama. This involves shooting your subject in clean focus and filling the frame with them to give yourself as much resolution as possible, and then letting them take a break while you shoot a panorama to stitch around them. The result?
So back to the beginning, I contacted lovely Amarisse, who graciously gave up a couple of hours from her tight schedule before she leaves Korea (we’ll miss you!) to help out with the next frame. I wanted a frame that would print in huge size and still have detail, so I needed to stitch a panorama. This is something I’ve done before, but never quite on this scale. The final image is nearly 80 megapixles in size.
Before the shoot there were still a couple of other decisions to be made.
Sharp, yet with beautiful out of focus elements? 85mm f/1.4 @ f/2 for extra contrast and sharpness.
Separate her from the background? Flash.
Can’t get a decent sync speed at f/2? ND8.
Need all the shots to line up so I can stitch the panorama automatically? Tripod.
The exceptional J.D. Lord came out to be my lighting assistant and table lugger extraordinaire for the evening, and you can see him below holding the Einstein on Mr. Monopod. This was chosen purely because of its recycle speed. I could have done this shot with speedlites, but I’d have been waiting 6 seconds after every frame I took. We could have finished reading War and Peace by the end of the photoshoot that way. With the Einstein at 1/8 power, I could just keep shooting from start to finish.
We shot through about 40 frames in various poses, with some collaborative idea development, and ended up on this one as our final choice. Then it was a case of having both of these lovely people move out of the frame, locking my focus point and shooting the rest of the out of focus background to stitch together later. In this case, I shot 27 extra images in a carpet bomb fashion, shooting everything with large overlaps just to make sure I wouldn’t have to do it all again!
After getting home, it was just a matter of giving CS5 about 30 minutes to stitch it all together using the ‘photomerge’ option and then manually cloning and masking the ‘mistakes’ made by the algorithm. This is an easy but effective technique for adding a little extra wow to a portrait.
Here are a few extras from past shoots. If you’re interested in being a part of this project please contact me through my website at http://www.welkinlight.com.