Lens Flare Comparison: Canon – Zeiss – Olympus

I am still looking for the ideal 35mm lens for canon… I am a big fan of (old) manual lenses, since they offer many advantages for high resolution panorama photography, mainly they are tiny and light, and usually really sharp, and they don’t shift focus or zoom based on orientation.

My biggest problem are sodium-pressure street lights, the worst light source ever invented by men. They will simply produce the mostly horrid lens flares you can imagine, and I am still looking for a lens that handles them in a graceful, controllable and manageable way (or in my case, can I remove the flares with enough overlapping shots and some alpha masks or with other masking techniques).

Below are some results from different lenses, most of them are not ideal yet… so far, the Olympus 24mm has produced the best results, but I need a bit longer lens for my purposes, namely a 35mm…

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Enchanted Rock State Park, Texas

After leaving Fredericksburg, which was a bit of a disappointment, we made our way back to Austin. The day before we read about the state park, but we put it on the maybe list… Then we saw the sign on the street, and spontaniously decided to visit the park, even if it was just for 30 minutes (it was getting dark fast). It is a pretty rock to hike, but it is at least 1h drive from Fredericksburg, even if the maps make it look less.

Benini Sculpture Ranch in Johnson City, TX

We stumbled more or less through a happy accident onto the Benini Sculpture Ranch in/near Johnson City, TX. We were walking though Johnson City on Sunday afternoon, found only one art gallery open, chatted with the owner who strongly suggested that we try to get to the sculpture ranch as long as there is some daylight left. We drove about 6 miles through ranch land including cattle grates, and found the ranch, which was a really nice equivalent to Stormking, a sculpture park 2h north of NYC. It was the end of an “Arts Encounter” and it was really nice to meet a handful of the artists who are exhibiting on the ranch, including the Benini’s themselfs, who were most generous and tremendously nice people. The interesting bit about the Benini Ranch is that it was Lyndon B Johnsons ranch before, where he had 3 trailers to write his memoirs. The trailers got then later replaced with a real house by the next owners, and then Benini bought it in the 70s, and made it a sculpture park with his works, and tons of other great artists. If you are in Austin, try to make the 1h drive to the ranch, it is really worth the time.

Here are the views from the top of the mountain:

Texas Long Horn, by Bettye Hamblen Turner

Bettye is currently exhibiting a couple of her metal sculptures at the Benini Sculpture Ranch in/near Johnson City, TX, including two of her magnificent Texas Long Horns. One of them you can see right next to the highway, the other one (see below) is in the ranch, some 5 miles off the highway. I personally think that they would make great pieces on a NYC penthouse, or would look great at Stormking.

Johnson City, TX Christmas Lights

Johnson City looked like a small Texas town during the day, but transformed itself after sunset into a christmas light spectacular, with everybody competing who has the most lights out, and the obvious winner was of course the local utility company, who decorated a whole grove of trees with lights, Hill County Style…

Austin, TX: River Sunset and Kettle Restaurant

On our road trip through Texas we landed in Austin and spent one and a half day, barely enough to get a good impression of the city. I had the feeling that we had not enough time and everything felt a bit rushed, but at least I managed to shoot some panoramas.

Of course I had to walk around and find strange abandoned/deserted places that would look interesting in a panorama, like this Kettle Restaurant. Especially the juxtaposition between “Always Open” and the restaurant closed for the afternoon/night was hard to resist:

Austin, TX Parking Lot

We were strolling around in downtown Austin that afternoon, and it was very quiet, not like a couple of hours later when the nightlife starts. The clouds were just too interesting to not shoot a quick hand-held pano.

Houston/Baytown Gas Station

One of the fascinating aspects of Houston was the clustering of well known staples, like Starbucks, Wafflehouse etc. This panorama is an attempt of a panorama… I wanted to capture the handful of large signs, but I should have probably spent more time to get it right.

Goose Creek Memorial Highschool in Baytown, TX

It was just a very curious evening, and we decided to simply walk around and see how Baytown looks at night, and see if there is anything interesting to photograph. I have to admit that this might not be the most successful panorama that I have ever taken.

Chemical Plants in Houston

The oil and chemical industry is all over Houston, particularly in the south, and the sites look fabulosly at night, much nicer than the handful of installations in NJ. If you happen to own one of these, or work for one, please contact me, I would love to photograph some more of these for your company.

Shell Gas Station, Harlem

This was my second attempt photographing this gas station, and gas stations in general. It took a lot of patience, since it is actually a very busy gas station, with cars constantly pulling in and filling up.

Alice in Central Park (II)

This is another attempt to capture the sculpture in an interesting panoramic way, I am not completely happy yet, and will have to wait for some night to try it again.
Here is the previous attempt: newyorkpanorama.com/2008/08/20/alice-in-central-park

Gizmodo Gallery 2009

I shot a couple of VR panoramas for Gizmodo again. You can read more about the show at gizmodo.com/tag/gizgallery09

In the third panorama you can see Alpay Kasal and his interactive mirror

The fourth panorama is Arc Attack fixing some gear before the concert later that night

BWAC Fall Art Show 2009

Delete all Layer Masks in Photoshop CS4 Script

This is just a small script modification, allowing you to delete all masks without applying them. Very helpful if you are working on a panorama from ptgui with blended and layers output. Simply unzip and drop in your photoshop:presets:scripts folder.

Download DeleteAllMasks.jsx.zip

BWAC Summer Art Show 2009

Long exposure HDR bracketing with Arduino Bracketmeister

I finally got around to post a test panorama exposed with my Arduino Bracketmeister. For those interested, the base exposure for the relatively dark backyard was 15s at ISO800/f5.6 and brackets at +-3 and +-1.5EV (2, 6, 15, 40, 120sec). Exposure fused directly in PTgui.

Earth Hour in New York

Last night at 8.30 local time was Earth Hour, and 4000 cities world wide participated and turned off their lights for one hour, with great results. New York City on the other hand was a big disappointment… sure, some of the larger structures turned off (Empire State Building and the Citi Corp Building, but over all not many cared about it, and especially Times Square was the biggest disappointment… 4(!) out of 50+ large signs were turned off, and none of the retailers participated. What a drag…

NY skyline before Earth Hour:

NY skyline during Earth Hour:

Times Square during Earth Hour:

(pan around with your mouse, shift or apple/command to zoom, right click for fullscreen)

Long-exposure night HDR photography with arduino (aka bulb mode bracketing)

I do bracket all my night photography, for various reasons: for exposure blending, noise reduction, dynamic range extension etc etc. Unfortunately, Canon thinks that all photographers only need +-2EV brackets, unless you own one of the very big Canons, and that 30 seconds is also enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough for some of my night panoramas, and I was looking into ways to fix it (that included pleading to Canon, but we all know how far that goes).

So I decided to build my own long-exposure bracket controller, based on the arduino platform, with an Nokia LCD to actually have an user interface, other than a red button, write my own piece of software and test it last night… I call the gadget “Bracketmeister 0.32” for now. It works like a charm. Now I can have +-3EV (what I was aiming for, but the it does up to +-10EV, possibly more), exposures from 1 sec to 2 hours, and up to 11 shots for each bracket set (can be more). Now no night panorama is impossible anymore.

Update: More info, diagram, images and source code after the break:
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Changes and new website


In order to bring some order into my websites (about 4 of them now), I am trying to separate the commercial aspect from the fine art aspect. Visit joergengeerds.com for my commercial photography, luminous-newyork.com for my fine art photography, or continue reading here on newyorkpanorama.com. One thing that will also change here on this website is that I will start blogging about other things, probably mostly art and photography and related stuff, since I do believe that 2 personal websites about your own work is enough.

Upper East Side (from Roosevelt Island)

Ever since I shot the pano in April, I was unhappy about it (the second one), and decided to reshoot it (the first one), with more coverage to the left, and a bit more resolution.
About 400 megapixel.

Gizmodo Gallery (NYC)

Looking for gallery and exhibition opportunities worldwide

This might be a bit of an unusual plea, but with almost 10000 visitors a month from all over the world on my blog, I think this is a reasonable approach. Here is my pitch: I need to expand the reach of my art work. It is very large photography, and it looks great here on my website, but it looks even better on the wall (see the exhibition shots below from the show in Newark, NJ). I have had seven group shows here in the New York metro area so far, and while the response of the viewers was very enthusiastic, the actual sales were less than enthusiastic.

If you have a gallery, or if you are a curator, or if you know somebody that has a gallery or is curating a show, and needs large interesting works, and if you think that my work would fit, I would like to hear from you, no matter where on this planet, but especially Pan-Asia, the Middle East and Europe. This would include that you are able to ship my work, or let me produce it locally (depending on the availability of high-end photolabs in your area), and hopefully sell it of course.

If you are writing about art or photography, either on paper or on the web, and think that there is something in my work, I would also like to hear from you. NY arts magazine published a great one-pager about me and my artwork in the current issue, Nov 2008. And a couple of international blogs wrote a little bit about me recently, especially from Iran, Spain, France, Poland and Korea (see Friends&Links). But any additional PR can’t really hurt.

Macy’s Parade 2007

I went to the 2007 Macy’s Parade balloon setup staging area around the American Museum of Natural History, which is quite a spectacle for everybody. Starting around midnight, I worked all night, up to the moment the parade actually leaves the staging area. I shot so many panoramas that I am still not finished editing them. If you are interested buying a regular print (i.e. 20-30in), or if you want to license or use them for something, send me an email. (Given the nature of the parade, I do not have any model releases for those). Let me know which ones you like :-)

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Next Gallery Show: Oct ’08 – Jan ’09 in Newark, NJ

I am very proud to announce my next group show where I will be showing the following 3 panoramas. I hope you can make it to the opening on October 24, from 8 to 11PM, if not, the show runs for quite some time:

Rupert Ravens Contemporary Art

October 24 – January 18, 2009

85 Market Street, Newark, NJ, USA

Pepsi Cola, 2007, 360° panorama, digital c-print, diasec, 96x30in, 243x76cm, edition of 6

Trump World Tower and UN, 2007, 270° panorama, digital c-print, diasec, 120x60in (304x152cm), edition of 6

Two Bridges, 2008, 200° panorama, digital c-print, diasec, 96x30in, 243x76cm, edition of 6

Here are some pictures of the opening night:

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