Posts Tagged ‘Stunning’

This stunning timelapse captured SpaceX’s glowing Falcon 9 launch

27 Dec

Last Friday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Airforce Base on the California coast. But the light show it created in the evening sky looked less like a rocket launch and more like an alien light show, stopping traffic on the highways as people pulled over to take cell phone pictures and video of what they thought might just be the beginning of an alien takeover.

Fortunately for all of us, it wasn’t just bystanders with smartphones who pointed their cameras skyward on Friday the 22nd, photographer Jesse Watson had already prepared to capture the launch, and came away with this stunning timelapse of the entire thing from Yuma, Arizona.

As he explains in the video’s description, this was actually the first rocket launch he’s captured:

I found out about this specific launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base a few days prior to the event. I wanted to capture this amazing spectacle in a fashion that I haven’t seen previously, as most of what I have seen is cell phones video or news reels.


I have never shot a rocket launch before, so I did not know exactly what to expect as far as exposure or precise location of the rocket in the horizon. I wanted to be prepared to capture comprehensive coverage of the spectacle. Therefore I packed four cameras and five lenses, to cover wide to telephoto details of the scene. Three of the cameras were rolling time-lapse and 1 was setup for telephoto video.

That’s how he captured the 40-second timelapse above: using two Nikon D810s, a Sony a7S II, and a Sony a6500 sporting a Nikon AF-S 14-24mm F2.8G, Sigma 85mm F1.4 |Art, Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 |Contemporary, and a Veydra Mini Prime 25mm T2.2 for Sony E-mount, respectively.

Check out the results for yourself up top, and then head over to the Vimeo page for a full gear list in the description.

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Tips for Photographing Reflections to Create Stunning Images

10 Dec

It can’t be denied. There’s something special about reflections that makes them a unique aspect of photography. Maybe it’s because a reflection just like a photograph is a gateway to another world, parallel but restricted. Also just like photography, reflections are a simplification of our world; they turn a 3D reality into a 2D representation.

In a way, photography can make ”reality” and reflections more equal, by cramming the former into 2D while retaining the natural, 2D state of the latter.

01 reflections photography tips

Before we get into the exciting art of photographing reflections, let’s think a bit more about why they’re so attractive, and how we can find new ways to photograph them. Since you’re definitely going to have your own ideas about this mystery, I’d love it if you shared them in the comments below at the end of the article.

02 reflections photography tips

Why photograph reflections?

Reflections have always had an immediate attraction to me, and I don’t think I’m the only one. They’re like visual illusions dropped into everyday life. They turn the world upside down, add a hint of confusion to a scene, and show us things we can’t immediately see the source of.

For you as a photographer, reflections offer a way to create a certain atmosphere. It can be mystery and confusion, but also vastness, such as sky reflected in a lake, or calmness, as a reflection requires a relatively still surface.

Tips for How to Photograph Reflections

Thanks to their mirroring effect and the interaction with the (unreflected) surroundings, reflections are useful tools if you’re trying to tell a story with your photograph — as you always should!

Tips for How to Photograph Reflections

Where to find reflections

What is your first thought when you think about reflections? Is it a mirror, perhaps, or a beautiful lake on a wind still evening?

One great aspect about photographing reflections is that they can be found in so many places and created by a variety of surfaces. Whether you’re into photographing landscapes, portraits, products, flowers, or street scenes, you can utilize reflections to add something special to your photos.

Tips for How to Photograph Reflections

The most obvious place to find photogenic reflections in nature is in connection with water. And wherever there is life, there is water, so the opportunities are basically endless. It can be anything from large bodies of water and wet sand on a beach to a raindrop on a frog’s head.

Tips for How to Photograph Reflections

For more urban photographers, water is of course still an option (puddles are sometimes great for other things than jumping into), but buildings provide another world of options. Start with shop windows and glass buildings, and go on from there. Reflections are fun and beautiful, and we don’t hesitate to incorporate them into our cityscapes.

Tips for How to Photograph Reflections

If you don’t feel like leaving the house or find yourself at a party, do not despair, you can still exercise your photography skills. Mirrors are the obvious surface to use to add another dimension or an interesting twist to your photograph. But windows and polished tables or counters are also great. And don’t forget the opportunities of a well-placed wine glass!

Tips for How to Photograph Reflections

How to capture reflections

Photographing reflections is pretty easy, but there are a few things to think about before and while you’re doing it. These are just a few tips:

  • Unless intended, make sure you don’t show up in the reflection. Change your angle and move around to find the best place from which to take your photograph so you don’t appear in the image.
  • Framing is essential! Use the elements of the space you’re in to create an interesting composition and experiment to discover what creates the greatest effect.
  • Lighting might be a bit tricky. For instance, in a picture of a natural scene reflected in a lake, the reflection is often quite a lot darker than the reflected scene. Use that to create an effect in your image or use filters to even out the lighting difference. It’s up to you!

Tips for How to Photograph Reflections


Those are some of the basics of one of my favorite types of photography. Do you like photographing reflections, and if so, why? What is it about them you find attractive?

If you have photographs to show or tips to share, I’d love to see them in the comments below!

The post Tips for Photographing Reflections to Create Stunning Images by Hannele Luhtasela-el Showk appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Stunning ‘orbital drone-lapse’ captured by flying a drone in huge circles

14 Nov

It’s difficult to stand out when creating a time-lapse these days—from the storm-lapses of Mike Oblinski, to the ‘flow-motion’ hyperlapses of Rob Whitworth, to the award-winning work of Michael Shainblum, it seems like it’s all been done. Until, that is, someone comes up with something like ‘Low Earth Orbit.’

This drone-lapse from Folegandros Island, Greece was captured by Hong Kong-based production company Visual Suspect using a simple ‘orbital’ technique; translation: they flew a drone in massive circles while recording time-lapse.

The results look like something out of Google Earth, but instead of static low-res images from orbit, you have living landscapes captured in HD. Here’s an explanation of the “how” and “why” by the creators themselves:

Orbital drone movements are the ones with power to convert two dimensional images into dancing focal layers escaping out of the frame. We wanted to further explore the technique, with high altitude long orbits, along with ones very close to the ground, we call them “Orbital drone-lapses”. These shots are a mix of automatic and manual flights.

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Video – How to Shoot Stunning Photos at Sunrise and Sunset

28 Oct

In another video from Practical Photography, get some really good tips on how to shoot at sunrise and sunset to get the most epic images.

Follow along as two photographers go head to head in a little friendly competition to get the best sunset and sunrise photos. Get some practical tips that you can use in your photography at these magic hours as well.

Need more sunrise and sunset tips? Try these dPS articles:

  • 4 Reasons Shooting at Sunrise and Sunset Will Help You Take Better Photos
  • 8 Simple Guidelines for Capturing Spectacular Sunrise and Sunset Images
  • 7 Uncommon Tips for Winter Sunrise Photos Near Water
  • Tips for Location Scouting to Get the Perfect Sunset Photograph
  • Tips for Doing More Spectacular Sunset Photography
  • 5 Tips to Take Better Sunset Photos – and Why Not to Photograph the Sunset Directly

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A Guide to Creating Stunning HDR Images

27 Sep

The simple contrast between light and shadow can have a powerful effect on a photographic image. In fact, quite often you may find that contrast is what inspires you to photograph a particular scene or subject in the first place. Sometimes, however, the contrast of a scene exceeds the ability of your camera to contain all of that information. Fortunately, with the help of powerful software such as Aurora HDR 2018, you can transform a scene with high contrast into a stunning photographic image with tremendous detail. In this article, I’ll show you how it’s done.

Photographing the Scene

The first step in creating a high dynamic range (HDR) image is to capture a sequence of photos. Put simply, when you aren’t able to capture a single photo that includes detail in the darkest shadows and the brightest highlights of a scene, you’ll want to capture multiple exposures and blend them together with software such as Aurora HDR 2018.

Bracketed Exposures A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

Most cameras include an automatic exposure bracketing (AEB) feature that can help streamline the process of capturing the several exposures which are needed to create an HDR result. If your camera only enables you to capture a bracket of three exposures, you can separate the exposures by two stops each. If you are able to capture a bracketed sequence of five or more photos you can separate the exposures by one stop each. It is highly recommended that you use the RAW capture mode for these exposures, to ensure there is maximum information available for creating your final image.

In most cases you will want to keep the lens aperture setting fixed, altering the shutter speed for each frame to adjust the exposure. This will help ensure consistent depth of field in the scene. The ultimate goal is to be sure that you have one exposure that is dark enough to include full detail in the bright areas of the scene, one exposure that is bright enough to include full detail in the dark areas of the scene, and exposures in steps of one or two stops to transition between the darkest and brightest exposures.

Creating the Initial HDR

There are two basic steps to creating a final HDR image. The first is to assemble the multiple exposures into a single image with a tremendous amount of information. The second is to perform what is referred to as “tone mapping” or translating the huge range of tonal and color values into the range of values available for a “normal” photographic image.

With Aurora HDR 2018, there are a couple of ways you can start the process of creating the initial HDR image. If you’re using other software such as Lightroom or Photoshop as the foundation of your overall workflow, you can employ Aurora HDR 2018 as a plug-in for these other software tools. The other option is to simply open the original captures directly from within Aurora HDR 2018.

Open your images

When you initially launch Aurora HDR 2018 you’ll see the “Open Image” button. You can click that button, or choose File > Open from the menu to get started. Note, by the way, that you could also take advantage of the “Batch Processing” option to assemble multiple HDR images in a single process.

Aurora Open Images - A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

After selecting the option to open images, you can navigate to the folder containing the photos you want to assemble into an HDR image, and select those images. Then click the Open button to initiate the process of creating your HDR image.

The images you selected will then be presented as thumbnails so you can confirm which photos are going to be assembled into an HDR image. More importantly, however, you can adjust the settings for how the individual captures should be combined.

HDR options and settings

Almost without exception, you’ll want to turn on the “Alignment” checkbox. Even if you used a tripod when capturing the bracketed frames, it is possible that there was a tiny movement of the camera during the capture process. By having the Alignment checkbox turned on, Aurora HDR 2018 will analyze the contents of the images and fine-tune the positioning of each to ensure perfect alignment.

Aurora Initial Settings - A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

Next, click the popup with the gear icon to adjust the settings for assembling your HDR image. If there was any movement of subjects within the frame, such as people or cars, or even trees blowing in the breeze, you’ll want to turn on the “Ghost Reduction” checkbox. In many cases having this option enabled can completely eliminate the “ghost” effect that results from objects moving within the frame from one exposure to the next.

Once you have turned on the “Ghost Reduction” checkbox, you can choose which exposure to prioritize by selecting it from the “Reference image” popup. In most cases, you will want to choose the image that would provide the best overall exposure if you hadn’t captured bracketed exposures in the first place.

You can also choose the strength setting for ghost reduction, depending on how much movement there was in the scene you were photographing. If there was minimal movement in the scene you can use the “Low” option. However, there are also settings for Medium, High, and Highest to help you achieve good results even when there was considerable movement within the scene you photographed.

Other settings

For many situations where you might employ HDR techniques, you may be photographing a scene with relatively low light levels. If so, you can turn on the “Color Denoise” checkbox to apply noise reduction to your original captures as Aurora HDR 2018 is processing them.

It can also be helpful to turn on the “Chromatic Aberration Removal” checkbox so that any color fringing that appears in the captures can be removed. This fringing is most common when using a wide-angle lens to photograph a high-contrast scene, but it can also occur with other lenses or photographic situations.

Once you have established the desired settings for the assembly of your HDR image, click the “Create HDR” button. Aurora HDR 2018 will then combine the multiple exposures you selected into a single high dynamic range result.

Presets and Beyond

Put simply, an HDR image contains a greater range of tonal information that can actually be displayed on a computer monitor or presented in a printed output. It is, therefore, necessary to translate that huge range of information into the range used for a normal digital photo. That process is referred to as “tone mapping”. Fortunately, Aurora HDR 2018 makes it easy to exercise considerable control over the interpretation of your image during this process.

One of the great features of Aurora HDR 2018 is the ability to use a variety of presets to quickly achieve the optimal look for your image. Even better, these presets are presented as thumbnails that provide an actual preview of the effect you’ll achieve with each preset. In other words, there is no guessing involved. You can browse the preset thumbnails, and easily find a good starting point for processing your photo.

Preset Categories - A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

The presets are organized into categories, so you can start by clicking the “Categories” popup at the center of the thumbnail display at the bottom of the Aurora HDR 2018 interface. Choose a category from the popup (including an option to view all presets at once), and then browse the thumbnails to find a preset that looks good to you. To apply the effect, simply click on the thumbnail for the desired preset.

Adjust to your taste

Of course, the presets are merely a starting point in the process of optimizing your interpretation of the HDR image. You can still exercise tremendous control over the image with a variety of adjustments.

First, you can tone down the effect of the selected preset by reducing the strength with the “Amount” slider. As soon as you select a preset, you’ll see a slider on the thumbnail for that preset. Simply drag that slider to a lower value if you want to reduce the strength of the overall effect.

In addition, there is a wide variety of adjustment controls available on the right panel within Aurora HDR 2018. The preset you selected will have changed the value for many of these controls, but you can go far beyond the effect applied by that preset.

You will probably want to get started in the “HDR Basic” set of controls, where you can fine-tune the overall color and tonality of the image. For example, you can bring out more detail in darker areas of the image by increasing the value for Shadows. In the Color section, you can adjust the intensity of colors in the photo.

HDR Basic A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

Many options available

You’ll then want to move on to some of the other powerful adjustments available. The HDR Structure section provides controls for enhancing the overall appearance of detail in the image. You’ll also find a variety of special effects available, including a polarizing filter effect, graduated adjustments to refine the top or bottom areas of the image, color tinting, dodging and burning, a vignette effect, and much more.

Be sure to also take a look at the Lens Correction and Transform controls available via a popup at the top of the right panel in Aurora HDR 2018. These enable you to correct for lens distortion as well as perspective issues caused by your position relative to the subject you photographed.

As you refine the settings for the many available adjustments in Aurora HDR 2018, you will likely find it helpful to see a “before” and “after” view of the image. You can click and hold your mouse on the “Quick Preview” button (the eye icon) at the top-center of the Aurora HDR 2018 interface to see the image without any adjustments applied. Then release the mouse to see the final effect. You can also enable the Compare view with the button to the right of the Quick Preview button.

Compare View A Guide to Creating Stunning HDR Images

Tone mapping a single image

By its nature, creating a high dynamic range image involves capturing multiple exposures and combining them into a single image with tremendous detail. However, the powerful adjustments available in Aurora HDR 2018 can also be used to improve the appearance of a single photo.

To use Aurora HDR 2018 to process a single image, you can simply open that image. Instead of selecting multiple exposures when you initiate the process of working in Aurora HDR 2018, you can select a single image. The overall workflow is exactly the same as when assembling an HDR image from multiple exposures, and all of the same adjustments are available.

So after getting familiar with the use of Aurora HDR 2018 to process a series of exposures into a single stunning HDR result, you can use the same basic process to apply similar adjustments to individual photos.

Single Image - A Guide to Creating Stunning HDR Images

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Only the beginning

The ability to assemble multiple exposures into a single image containing a tremendous amount of detail and texture provides you with incredible creative control as a photographer. Aurora HDR 2018 provides a powerful solution for creating high-quality HDR images and creating unique interpretations of those images with a variety of features and effects.

In this article, you’ve learned the basic process of creating great HDR images using Aurora HDR 2018. But this is only the beginning. If you spend a little time exploring the many adjustments available within Aurora HDR 2018, you’ll be able to create stunning HDR images with ease.

Disclaimer: Machpun is a Paid Partner of dPS

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How a Compact Camera Can Help You Shoot Stunning Images While Traveling on a Budget

20 Jul

Vacations can be a great time to capture some of the most captivating photos ever, and it doesn’t even require using an expensive equipment to do so. In fact, whether your vacation involves hiking, skiing, snorkeling, a safari, mountain biking, or a scenic road trip, a compact camera can also provide stunning results while traveling, with little effort and without Continue Reading

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Tread Lightly: 16 Clearly Stunning Transparent Floor Designs

06 Jul

[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

Glass floors give us a glimpse at what’s beneath our feet – whether that’s the historical bones of a building, a swimming pool on the next floor, the city streets or the bottom of a canyon – while freaking us out over the potential of breakage. And yes, sometimes these glass floors really do crack, no matter how ‘unbreakable’ they’re supposed to be, including those situated hundreds of feet above the ground.

2 Glass-Bottomed Bridges in China

You’d better not be afraid of heights if you’re gonna cross this glass-bottomed bridge in China, suspended a stomach-turning 590 feet above ground level in China’s central Hunan Province. Known locally as Haohan Quiao, the bridge features glass panels measuring 24 millimeters thick, which are supposedly 25 times stronger than regular glass. But this isn’t the only such bridge in China. The second is the structure hanging 1350 feet over the bottom of Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon – and this bridge really did crack at one point under an unexpected volume of visitors, forcing its closure. This one is officially the world’s longest glass bridge.

Office in Oslo by Reiulf Ramstad

A 19th century villa gets a modern update by architect Reiulf Ramstad, while this transparent section of floor reveals the old beams hidden beneath the newer materials for a reminder of the building’s history.

Hotel Les Cols Pavellons

You’d never guess that just beyond the traditional-looking 13th century farmhouse at hotel Les Cols Pavellons in the Catalan town of Olot is a series of ultramodern glass pavilions. These ‘zen’ hotel rooms are like crystal cubes housing almost nothing but a bed, a glass table and chairs and a bath for a minimalist experience that’s all about experiencing the design.

Glass-Bottomed Sky Slide in Los Angeles

More than just a glass-bottomed observation deck, which is becoming more common all over the world, this attraction at the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles is a fully functioning slide that chutes guests 45 feet from a window on the 70th story to a terrace on the 69th.

Glass-Bottomed Suspended Pool in Houston

Houston is home to an awesome plexiglass pool that cantilevers 10 feet past the edge of the building, 500 feet above street level. Installed at the new Market Square Tower apartment building by Jackson & Ryan Architects, the skypool offers views of the Houston skyline, and stops passersby in their tracks on the sidewalk below.

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Tread Lightly 16 Clearly Stunning Transparent Floor Designs

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[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

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Mike Olbinski releases stunning sunset time-lapse featuring unusual cloud formations

07 Jun

‘Tis the season for dramatic weather in the middle parts of the US, and as such, it’s also the season for incredible time-lapse videos. If you thought we reached peak weather time-lapse just last week when we posted Chad Cowan’s excellent Fractal, well, see what you think after watching Mike Oblinski’s latest.

He captured unusual cloud formations called Undulatus Asperatus rolling across the plains of North Dakota at sunset. As always, we recommend going full screen and cranking the resolution up.

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Mathematician turns Juno images into stunning Jupiter flyby video

04 Jun

Since NASA’s Juno probe entered Jupiter’s orbit a year ago, it’s been sending back high-resolution images of the solar system’s biggest planet.

When NASA released the latest batch of images, last month, German mathematician Gerald Eichstaedt got to work, turning them into into a video. Using software that he wrote, Eichstaedt used Juno’s trajectory data to determine the probe’s exact position when it captured an image, and then placed that image on a spherical model of the planet. The resulting video combines 36 images from the probe to simulate a Jovian flyby.

London-based filmmaker Seán Doran saw the video when Eichstaedt uploaded it to and spent another 12 hours smoothing the thousands of frames, before adding a soundtrack.

It’s almost like being there. Almost…

Watch Gerald Eichstaedt’s original video

Read more about NASA’s Juno mission

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18 Stunning Images of Effective Backlighting

30 May

The direction of light is so important in photography. Backlighting is one that can be tricky to handle exposure wise, but make sure a stunning image if you can nail it. Let’s have a look at these 18 images that use backlight effectively.

By Bill Gracey

By Julian Schüngel

By Sascha Wenninger

By Toby

By Vincent Brassinne

By tai-nui

By Linh Nguyen

By Jason Walley

By Anne Worner

By M. Accarino

By Steve Corey

By philografy

By Eric Huybrechts

By Sean Molin

By denise carrasco

By Theophilos Papadopoulos

By Diana Robinson

By Sergiu Bacioiu

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