Last week I was in Washington, D.C. for a meeting with the director and exhibit staff at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. While I was there, I decided to pull out the 12 camera rig and take some architectural photographs on the mall, since the weather was reasonably nice.
I specialize in “life size” photography and people have asked me how I can take a life size photograph of a building?
The answer is that for me, the “life size” definition is the size that is perceived at the point of capture. So, if the cameras are several hundred yards away from the subject, life size would be the size as perceived viewing from that distance, not the actual size of the building. My goal with each photograph is to present it as you would see the imagery in real life.
The most impressive photograph I was able to take was from the end of the mall at the Lincoln Memorial looking towards the Washington Monument with the Capital building in the background and the reflecting pool in the foreground. There were just enough clouds passing by so that I was able to get perfect highlights with just the right amount of specularity on the Capital building in the background. But in order for the shot to represent true to life luminance detail I ended up needing to bracket the shot with multiple exposures (HDR photography). Normally, I am able to expand the dynamic range from the single shot, but in this sunlit outdoor example there was just too much range to capture even with my jeeped cameras.
Fortunately, not much moves when shooting buildings ;^) and I was able to have, in effect, what was a 1/2 second exposure as the cameras can fire three photographs in 1/2 second. Now the tough part comes, where I have to match and align 36 photographs and HDR merge them and interlace them into a single autostereoscopic image. Guess what? I’m still working on it ;^) But I will post an animation here in a few days to show the perspectives.
When I’m finished, I’ll have the most realistic photograph from the perspective of the Lincoln Memorial looking towards the Capital building that has ever been taken. That in itself would be worth the trip – add to that the meeting at the Smithsonian and this was a fantastic trip!