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Author Topic: Fine Art (landscape) prints  (Read 7881 times)
Tim Gray
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« on: July 06, 2005, 03:25:49 PM »
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Could you describe your target market a bit?
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2005, 11:51:46 AM »
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When they stand in front of a 2' x 8' panoramic they are stunned."

No kidding!  How are you printing ?
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2005, 01:50:56 PM »
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TimeZone-
I try to keep things simple. Stitched panoramics are relatively easy if you make a point of carefully leveling the tripod first; then sequential images don't stair-step from one to the next. The longer your focal length, the easier it is to stitch frames together. With the 70-200 zoom, parallax and distortion are generally non-issues. With the 24-70 zoom it helps to rotate the lens around its nodal point, which is simple to locate. Choose the focal length you need; then use a tape measure or ruler and measure that distance forward from the image plane (helpfully marked by Canon with a little circle & slash symbol on the left side of the pentaprism) and that's your nodal point.
I confess that I just stitch manually in Photoshop. I tend to overlap successive images by 30% or more to make alignment simpler. It's critical to expose in metered manual mode, so each frame has the same aperture and overall exposure. I bring each successive frame in as a new layer at 30% opacity and nudge it over until it's aligned properly. I then use a soft eraser to smudge any evident joints. This has worked fine even for images stitched from two rows of four images each. I save one copy with all the layers intact for future rethinking, then flatten the file to make it more manageable in size for subsequent image editing.  
As for horsepower, more is always better. A 22" x 64" image at 240 dpi is something over 500 megabytes. I have a 3.2 mHz Pentium 4 with 1.5 gigabytes of RAM, and I get to watch the hourglass symbol for a while after hitting "enter" for most operations, but it's not intolerable. Once you're done with gross exposure adjustments like levels or curves you can drop down to 8 bits per channel to make the file smaller if necessary, but I usually stay at 16 bit. The most time-consuming part is the actual printing. A 22"x72" print takes just about an hour to come off the 7600, set to 1440 dpi and "high speed" turned off. (I figure, why do anything to compromise on quality after working so hard to acheive it?).
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2005, 12:19:25 PM »
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and the screw hole for the tripod on the bottom of the camera body would be exactly in line with the centre of the lens one way and in line with the sensor ('film plane') the other way. That's the nodal point.
The film plane is absolutely NOT the same as the entrance pupil (aka "nodal point") of the lens, which is important when shooting stitched panos. To locate the entrance pupil, go to manual or AV mode, set the aperture to f/22, and press the DOF preview button. The entrance pupil will correspond to the location of the aperture diaphragm, which will become visible when looking into the front of the lens with the DOF preview button pressed. It will be between the front element and the lens mount somewhere. With zoom lenses, it will vary depending on the zoom adjustment.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2005, 03:05:48 PM »
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I can clearly see this on my Tamron 28 - 200 zoom when I was checking it, but still find it really tough to judge where it is in the lens for sure. All the lens elements really give a lot of optical illusions about where things are in the lens.
Actually that isn't really something you need to worry about. The entrance pupil is where the diaphragm "looks like" it is, not where it is physically located in the lens. Use that as a starting point, and then use the method posted by Tim Gray to fine-tune. Here's the pano setup I use:



I typically shoot single-row panos, as I can easily overtax my dual-Athlon workstation with 3GB of RAM stitching 8-9 1Ds images, but I can do multi-row panos if I readjust the positioning plate for each row.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2005, 11:16:15 AM »
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I use exactly the approach Lin describes for finding the nodal point, and it works for me.  I've done this for several zoom settings of my zoom lens, then made marks the positioning plate the camera is sitting on (like in Jonathan's photo above) for each of them, so I know where to set the rail on the tripod in the field for whatever focal length I want.

Lisa
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silver_halide
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2005, 11:35:13 AM »
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Hi,

I have a question for those who sell landscape prints. Do you folks work with mostly medium or large format camera's?

The reason im asking is that I would like to start a side business of (hopefully) selling fine art prints. Mostly landscape/nature work. However i have a manual focus Nikon system (FM3A). This is a long term project (i would be like to be up and running sometime next year). Should i invest in a medium/large format system as well (for larger prints)?
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dbell
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2005, 02:10:24 PM »
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I disagree that it's a preposterous idea. In my opinion, it's not realistic to expect that you're going to instantly achieve wide recognition or make a lot of money. I don't think it's at all unrealistic to try to start selling your work to make some side money or offset your equipment/travel costs.

What equipment you'll need depends on your artistic goals and your target audience. If you intend to sell big prints, they are easier to achieve with larger-format film or higher-resolution digital gear, but that's just a very general statement. People can and do sell prints made from 35mm film and they sell small-format film images to stock houses. People also sell prints of various sizes captured on lower-end DSLRs. People sell inkjet prints and traditional darkroom prints. There are no ironclad rules here: the equipment needs to suit the task at hand and it needs to suit the kind of art that you make

If you can be a little more specific about the sort of work that you do and your intended clientele, you may get more direct answers from this forum.
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matt4626
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2005, 04:47:22 PM »
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Galen Rowell did OK with Nikon manual camera!
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David R. Gurtcheff
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2005, 10:57:02 PM »
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I not only agree with Geoff, but I started the same way: scanning 35mm and 645 and 6x7 negs, migrating to digital capture, and now using the same 1Ds Mk II. If you love it and work hard at it, it may work for you. It worked for both of us.
www.modernpictorials.com
Good Luck!
Dave
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2005, 09:41:09 PM »
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Peter-
I use an Epson 7600 with the basic Ultrachrome inkset and Bill Atkinson's wonderful profiles. I mostly have been using Somerset Velvet roll paper, but have just changed to Ultrasmooth fine art because it gives a slightly better D-max with matte black ink. Prints up to 2x8' are no problem with this setup. The biggest issue is simply handling such large prints! I now carefully roll them up for transport, and have them mounted/laminated on boards for display.
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TimeZone
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2005, 12:26:16 AM »
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Geoff-

I love the idea of doing panoramics by stitching together images.  I definitely want to give it a shot sometime.  Do you simply rotate the camera on the tripod and overlap a little when your shooting?  Is it ever proper to move the tripod so many feet and take the next image, them move it further, and again, and again...  Is there a place for both methods or would moving the tripod not keep the image in line enough?

It seems like actually moving the tripod if you could do it accurately enough would keep better perspective.  Do you have to do work to correct perspective in the software?

I was also wondering just how much computer power it takes to handle the huge images. How many Mb's or Gb's are you dealing with?  Do you do all the photo stitching and manipulation, and printing in Photshop or do you use something else?  It seems that it would work most systems to the brink to try to stitch more than a few together or to finally open and print the big one.
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TimeZone
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2005, 04:24:04 PM »
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Tim, thanks for the links.  Those are very interesting.  I'm still reading through them, and will have to bookmark these in my browser.  The possibilities are pretty amazing.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2005, 01:54:45 PM »
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(Oops. Duplicate post).
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2005, 11:55:46 AM »
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I'm have a little trouble finding my nodal point. Didn't even know I had one.

If camera designers were photographers, then the buttons would be in the right places, the controls easy to use, and the screw hole for the tripod on the bottom of the camera body would be exactly in line with the centre of the lens one way and in line with the sensor ('film plane') the other way. That's the nodal point.

Unfortunately, on some cameras this isn't the case, and so as the camera rotates around the tripod, the lens isn't simply turning, but moving. Think of it this way. If you lift one leg off the ground and pivot on your left foot, you're not pivoting in line with the centre of your body. From a photography point of view, stitching in this situation would be impossible because of the distortions. You can use a focusing rail to correct for this, though, by attaching the body to the rail, the rail to the tripod, and moving the camera along the rail to line up the centre of the lens with the turning point of the tripod.

Mike.
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David R. Gurtcheff
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2005, 12:53:42 PM »
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I have been making successful panos using a Canon 24mm Tilt-Shift lens, and the Photoshop stitching feature. I made a 24"x50" and the seem was invisible. With the T-S lens, I keep the camera stationary on the tripod, and take two shots, one with the lens shifted each way (with overlap in the center). I don't know if the lens elements shift around the true nodal point, but it definately works for me.
Dave
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2005, 12:17:43 PM »
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Are there any good plans / products (hopefully cheap) that would maintain the nodal point for both horizontal and vertical adjustments, while shooting one multi-shot scene?

Someone sells an inexpensive tripod head that does this, the Panosaurus - you can check it out at: http://gregwired.com/Pano/Pano.htm

I have one, and it works great.  The only downsides are that it isn't very compact (so it's difficult to take hiking, for example) and it doesn't appear tough enough for very frequent long-term use.

For hiking, I instead use a smaller, simpler sort of rail recommended in an earlier thread here (just a couple of months ago) that gets single-row stitches correct, but not multiple-row stitches.  Look for the thread titled, "what tripod heads for stitching" and check out the photo on page 2 of it.

Lisa
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2005, 09:37:08 PM »
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I find the previously discussed methods for finding the nodal point way too complex. Here's the easier way again.
The circle & slash symbol that marks the imaging plane of a D-SLR is on the camera body, not the lens. On my Canon bodies it's easily found on the left side of the pentaprism. Simply frame your image as desired, then see what focal length your zoom is set to. Now use a tape measure or ruler and measure exactly that distance forward from the circle & slash symbol; that's your nodal point!
Just center that point over the rotational axis of the tripod, and take your successive photos. With my 70-200 zoom, the quick release plate on the collar is long enough that I can generally slide the whole thing backward or forward to cover the nodal point. I use an ancient Pentax macro focusing rail for shorter lenses.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2005, 12:59:45 AM »
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TimeZone-
I find the previously discussed methods for finding the nodal point way too complex. Here's the easier way again.
The circle & slash symbol that marks the imaging plane of a D-SLR is on the camera body, not the lens. On my Canon bodies it's easily found on the left side of the pentaprism. Simply frame your image as desired, then see what focal length your zoom is set to. Now use a tape measure or ruler and measure exactly that distance forward from the circle & slash symbol; that's your nodal point!
That is absolutely false. It varies dramatically depending on the lens design. For example, the entrance pupil of my 70-200/2.8L IS is just in front of the zoom ring as indicated in the photo, no matter what the focal length setting is. It doesn't matter whether the lens is set to 70mm or 200mm, or anywhere in between, the entrance pupil is alwas right in front of the zoom ring. On the other hand, with the 24-70/2.8L IS, the entrance pupil moves along with the front lens element, so it is farthest forward at 24mm and farthest back at 70mm, which is exactly backwards of what your method would predict. But it tracks perfectly with the apparent location of the aperture diaphragm as viewed through the front of the lens on every lens I've tested.
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TimeZone
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2005, 02:25:25 PM »
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Thanks to all for the replies on this; suggestions, pictures, links, etc.  It has been very helpful.  I see that there is a lot of disagreement about how to find the nodal point or the best way to, but I think I will just have to experiment with the different lenses I have with some of the different techniques and see what I find.

Right now, I still only have a 35mm Canon EOS film camera. So, this makes it to where I don't have the crossed through circle mark on my camera that was mentioned, and am also not able to easily take panoramic shots right now.

I plan to get a D-SLR in the next couple of months though and hope to be able to shoot panoramics as much as possible when doing landscapes.  This topic gives me a lot to think about that I hadn't really thought about before on the subject.

I apologize to the original poster that asked about fine art landscape prints, as I might have drifted this topic off of that of his original one.  Hopefully, he is still around and got something from the talk of panoramics, as I think panoramics in the digital age (especially for smaller format digital cameras) have become more important to landscape photos.  It will allow the smaller cams to compete in some ways with the larger formats, and that's pretty neat.
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