I've been neglecting a new book that's been on my desk for a month. When I first glanced at Juergen Gulbins and Rainer Gulbins new book PHOTOGRAPHIC MULTISHOT TECHNIQUES I realized that several of the techniques discussed involved the new Adobe Photoshop CS4, and at the time I hadn't upgraded yet. I put PHOTOGRAPHIC MULTISHOT TECHNIQUES aside until I had upgraded to Photoshop CS4 and become comfortable with the new interface and some of the new tools. Now I've had time to become familiar with the new CS4 in general, I'm ready to tackle some new specifics and new ideas.
I've always felt that there were two kinds of information that I find relevant. One of those is information that I know so well that I can quote pages verbatim and live with everyday. The second type is reference that I know where to find and I can refer to when needed, and that I have on hand for the moment I need it. This second type is the sort of thing that interests me on occasion and I have need of for special moments. I want it available, concise, coherent—and comprehensive. All of those requirements are met in PHOTOGRAPHIC MULTISHOT TECHNIQUES, and for long-term use without a loss of picture quality I love to see the notice that the book is printed on acid-free paper. That means that the beautifully reproduced sample images will still look fine even a number of years from now.
Multiimage techniques are not new. A number of photographers as early as Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901) and Oscar Rejlander (1813-1875) began to produce composite images in the 1850's made from several different images. Rejlander's THE TWO WAYS OF LIFE" in 1857 combined over 30 negatives into one compositon with remarkable realism. The inability of daguerreotypes, wet plate processes, and early films to record the long dynamic range of both sky and subject produced the necessity of combing sky and subject images into one image until the 1930's. A multitude of photographers mastered this process.
However, it has been the advent of digital imaging and the computer's role in post processing the image(s) that has brought the possibilities of (relatively easily) using multishot techniques into everyday photograhy. Though still requiring careful and meticulous work, it is not uncommon to daily see photographs that have been produced through multishot techniques.
The most common multishot techniques are:
- high dynamic range images that produce detail in both the highlights and the shadows far beyond the range of common films,
- super-resolution images consisting of thousands of megabytes—or even gigabytes–of data when contrasted to normal digital images that consist of perhaps 50 to 100 maximum megabytes of data,
- extended depth of field which defys to laws of optics when compared to the results of normal photography, and finally
- stitching images together to take pictures (often panoramas) that cannot be produced by conventional means.
Juergen Gulbins and Rainer Gulpins should be familiar to the readers of Rocky Nook books in that Juergen was the co-author with Uwe Steinmuller of FINE ART PRINTING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS, and the author of DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE GROUND UP. Rainer Gulpins is a well-known photographer whose work has ranged from the Sahara to the Canadian wilderness as he has illustrated his travels. He has translated photography books for German publishers and acts as a consultant for many photographic projects.
What we have with PHOTOGRAPHIC MULTISHOT TECHNIQUES is a careful explanation of the theories behind making miltishot images and the step-by-step processes by which we use the currently relevant software programs (both PC and Mac) that are available. The step-by-step procedures contain settings that can only have been arrived at by copius amounts of hands-on experimentation. There are lots of little asides and commentary that could only be produed by experience, and paying attention to them will help the photographer to avoid a world of inconvenience and frustration.
Some of the software described and given as step-by-step procedures are:
- Photoshop "Merge to HDR" and "PhotoMerge" commands;
- FDR Tools;
- Photomatix Pro;
- Combine ZM;
- Helicon Focus; and
- DOP Detail Extractor.
Following the tutorials (most of the software is available for download as free limited-time or limited-functionality versions which allow you to try them out) will make the photographer familiar with the strengths and limits of each software.
Super resolution and how to prepare to take and finally make the images is the first multishot technique that is described. Focus Stacking is the next technique described. This allows the photographer to produce an image with deeper depth of field than that which can be captured with conventional camera and lenses. Stitching, which increases image coverage, is followed by HDRI, high-dynamic-range-imaging, where the finished images shows detail in both the highlight and shadow areas far beyond what can be captured with either conventional film or digital imaging sensors. Finally, Enhancing Microcontrast is defined and examined.
Actually, there is one more aspect that follows Microcontrast; actually it is the post processing that follows all of the techniques previously given.
It's all together in one neat package: Juergen Gulbins and Rainer Gulpins, PHOTOGRAPHIC MULTISHOT TECHNIQUES, Rocky Nook, ISBN:978-1-933952-38-3, US $34.95 CAN $34.95. Oh yes, it's paperback, 227 beautifully printed pages in a book that actually stays open when I'm following the techniques on my own computer in a step-by-step manner. I highly recommend it to any photographers whether just beginning or experienced, who are interested in any of the forms of multishot photography.