Trying New Things

General Thoughts
Raleigh Skyline at Dusk —  © jj raia

Raleigh Skyline at Dusk — © jj raia

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the folks I met on the trip out west got me interested in panorama images where several frames are stitched together to make a larger image, or to make the same image that could have been captured in a single frame, one of greater detail and resolution than could have otherwise been achieved with one. From these, huge prints can be made while still maintaining a crisp, sharp image. The Waters Edge was just a practice lesson in trying out the process of making a panorama although I had been hoping for a spectacular sunset.

Waters Edge  — Jordan Lake, NC  © jj raia

Waters Edge — Jordan Lake, NC  © jj raia

Before this image, I tried another panorama looking back into the forest to get all the detail of some interesting growth that occurs but is hardly noticed. With all the added detail, there is so much more to appreciate and explore, but since I did not do a very good job of leveling my tripod, a lot of the image was lost or distorted.

Jordan Lake Woods in WInter — © jj raia

Jordan Lake Woods in Winter — © jj raia

I’ve also spent time looking over some images from this past year that I haven’t had time to fully express and have recently worked on to reach the initial intent of the image. The image below is one of many detail abstracts of a Louise Nevelson sculpture near the Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan. There are almost limitless possibilities because of the variety of shapes and how shadows fall on various parts of the sculpture. And these will constantly change throughout the day and throughout the year as the angle of the sun changes. Different lighting (overcast vs. sunny or shadow) will also change its appearance.

Sculpture Abstract — NYC  © jj raia

Sculpture Abstract — NYC  © jj raia

Expanding the subjects to photograph has at times, actually created the same immersion I find when photographing the landscape, although I do not feel the same connection to the surroundings. It is much more a specificity of that which is in the frame and not it’s relationship to everything else. I spent some time at the Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh that has among others, gravestones for fallen Confederate soldiers dating back to the Civil War, and although I enjoyed the experience, did not connect to the ancient past as I do with the landscape.

Memorial Chapel — Historic Oakwood Cemetary, Raleigh, NC  © jj raia

Memorial Chapel — Historic Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC © jj raia

It is that feeling of witnessing something unique in one particular instant of time that really creates an inner sense of joy that can last forever; something that cannot be revisited or recaptured at a later date. The stories that can be derived from man made objects are different from those from the landscape, one being rooted much deeper in the past that may be almost beyond our comprehension. Seeing something that is a few hundred, or even a few thousand years old cannot compete with something that involves a history that measures in millions of years.

Mausoleum Detail — Oakwood Cemetery - Raleigh, NC  © jj raia

Mausoleum Detail — Oakwood Cemetery – Raleigh, NC   © jj raia

Flaming Sunset — Jordan Lake, NC  © jj raia

Flaming Sunset — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

The Raleigh Skyline at the top of the post was a spur of the moment decision to attempt. I had heard of a bridge that had one of the best views of the skyline, and after looking on the Photographer’s Ephemeris, saw that it appeared the western sky might reflect off the building windows onto the bridge. In addition, there would be a full moon rising, and although it might not line up well, it may be an added element that sets the image apart from the usual. The skyline is a 4 panel panorama, not using a special “nodal point” head, but rather my usual tripod using a longer zoom set a 70mm and the camera mounted vertically. I don’t believe you need all the specialized, expensive gear unless you’re shooting close at hand and using a less than “normal” lens for your particular camera. The “Flaming Sunset” above was only a 3 panel image made at 35mm, but shot horizontally. For the most part, everything lined up well but not as well as the skyline. The skyline needed almost no fill in on the edges which illustrates just how well things can be put together digitally without the specialized head and with almost no information lost because of poor splicing and poor leveling.

It’s been fun trying new things and at different times during the day, but for me there is no thrill like watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset unfold before you at a magnificently inspiring landscape.

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