Unbending the Lines

This is a five-frame high dynamic range image blended using Photomatix Pro, but you can see a distinct fisheye curvature of the horizon.
This is a five-frame high dynamic range image blended using Photomatix Pro, but you can see a distinct fisheye curvature of the horizon.
I applied a Photoshop filter called "Lens Correction" to this image, then selected my lens from the list. The filter instantly straightened out the curves and gave me the sweeping image I originally envisioned.
I applied a Photoshop filter called “Lens Correction” to this image, then selected my lens from the list. The filter instantly straightened out the curves and gave me the sweeping image I originally envisioned.

The modern photographic lexicon owes a lot to electronic technology. I’m not just talking about digital cameras; in fact, the technology to which I refer can apply to film as well. This technology is broadly discussed as “post-production,” often simple shortened to “post” on photography web sites. I don’t think this is a particularly good moniker because I think of all the steps of photography as part of the production process, so editing and printing are “production,” not “post-production.”

I set myself up for a significant editing challenge on a recent road trip to the desert. I photographed Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado near Page, Arizona. On a previous occasion, I shot it with my 12-24mm Tokina lens, which gave me fairly good results, but despite being zoomed out as wide as possible, I still wasn’t getting the epic, broad, expansive panoramas I was seeing on the web by other photographers.

My solution depended heavily on software: shoot the scene with my 10-17mm Tokina fisheye, and “unbend” the curved lines characteristic of the fisheye lens using Adobe Photoshop to create a sweeping panorama. I’d never done this exact edit before and hadn’t checked it out, but felt I could achieve it one way or the other.

As it turned out, Adobe Photoshop made it quick and easy, and the result was exactly what I wanted.

This is the same image at Horseshoe Bend, straightened using Adobe Photoshop, and is the result I wanted.
This is the same image at Horseshoe Bend, straightened using Adobe Photoshop, and is the result I wanted.
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