Stitching Images

Photo Stitching (or Image Stitching) is the process of combining multiple images that overlap fields of view to produce a high resolution panorama.  Bit like what you get on a iPhone but usually better with a dslr.

The stitching component can be done by software like what canon has, within the camera itself , photoshop or hardware and software like Gigapan.

They are quite time consuming once you start getting a few shots together and have a degree of technicality.

There are several ways that the images can be taken and Im not about to discredit one way from another.  I think what ever works for that photographer than great!

Up until recently my usual collection of images taken for a stitch is about 30. I have my tripod and “head” set up so that I can take images every x degrees.  Since I updated my poor old Mac to Yosemite Ive managed to knock over +60 shots in a stitch which is really quite amazing considering the computer memory that goes into them.  Yesterdays efforts saw just a smidgen under 1000 shots and about 18-20 gig of memory used.
Camera setup can vary on the situation as does when I use my gigapan, there are manual changes that I do throughout the shot also to correct for light.

One hint I will give. Prior to commencing a “stitch” take a shot of your hand, i.e. if you are shooting from left to right.  Take a shot of our left hand and at the completion take a shot of your right hand.  When it comes to processing a lot of images its handy when you are previewing them all together.

Here are a couple of shots that I have taken in the last week.

Images 1 and 3 are the same. I initially did the shot up for a 360 degree pano but didn’t really want my car in view so I cropped it out on No 3

360-degree-bmx-pano-2000pxl Lookout-50-copy cropped-360-degree-bmx-pano-copy Jamie-Johnson-in-action Karratha-Storm-Sunset-final

A weekend at Karijini

Ive been to Karijini National Park 3 times now, the first two times I camped, this time round I “glamped” (glamour camping).

Its not as though you have many options anyway.  There is little power and certainly no housing there which I guess goes towards the “Eco” title, you don’t even have a rubbish bin, anything that you use, you have to cart 40 odd kms out of the Park.

Im glad I glamped this time round, the back isn’t what it used to be and sleeping on the floor or in a cot makes for a bad day and grumpy Geoff.

Quite the difference in price from 20-30 bucks a night to camp with your own gear vs a on sale price of 500 bucks for 2-3 nights for 2 people with meals included etc, but it means things are taken care of so I don’t have to think about stuff and just go out and shoot.

So with the glamping I had a king bed (think it was king?) private shower/ toilet as opposed to communal and a power point to charge my camera gear.

I must say that the shower/ toilet etc is still out doors and exposed though… Yes there is a roof over it from the Eco tent and walls but there is no glass in the windows and the walls finish about head height.  Its a bit of a surprise when you wake up in the morning only to find 30 pairs of eyes staring at you from the toilet (green tree frogs).

Anyway here are some shots from the weekend.  I took about 10 gigs worth so Ill have to go through them all eventually.  Last shot is of the Eco Tent.











Trick or treat!

Hope everyone has a scary halloween when ever it gets to you around the globe!
Thought Id share a pumpkin that my two youngest and I carved today.

What do you get up to when your on holidays?

Im glad Ive had this time off from my normal job but 10 weeks is driving me a bit up the wall, but it has given me some time to go through my shots and process or review other work.
In between all this I discovered that a local painter had downloaded one of my photos, painted it with “her” spin on it and sold it.  Maybe thats something I will go into later on…  but for now the only reason for mentioning it is that it has given me a good opportunity to change logos and copyright marks.

I guess with some 80-90000 images taken in the 5 years of Golden Orb Designs not every shot will be processed.  In fact I usually take 2 or 3 shots of the same thing, different exposures, shutter speeds etc.  I do this as whilst I have a nice old camera the screen to review the image is small and I like the option of when I process shots that I can have a selection of different aspects to choose from.

Below are a couple of shots from my last trip to Karijini in Feb 2013
2-tree-storm-Karijini Karajini-Storm-Cell-1

The costs of photography

Stumbled on some light reading today :)

Well… I’ve harped on before about cheap prints with photography and disappointed to see such a photography great as Ansel Adams caught up with this.

For those that don’t know Adams is Americas Landscape Photography Master.  He has since passed away and his family run a business selling his images from what I gather.  I think he passed away in 1984.  He has some fantastic shots and is an inspiration.

People baulk at buying photography prints for a few hundred dollars. I’ve had comments of “Id never pay for then 5 bucks for a photo when I can get it online for free.”  Hence why photographers watermark their images.  Recently I saw a framed print no bigger than A2 for sale for a tad under 5 grand and nearly choked so Im guilty as the rest.  In this case though, you were paying solely for the name of the photographer as he is quite famous in the UK.  It was a great shot, not one of a kind though, is it worth that much money?  Maybe to the right person, but this is on the other end of the spectrum.

But thats ok, their choice, Im trying to run a reputable business with a long lasting product and thats my stance.  I earn enough to cover my costs, to be honest I should probably charge more, however I would actually like to sell something on the odd occasion too.  We don’t live in a society where people have diamond rocks falling out of their pockets like lint (if you know where this actually happens please let me know so I can move).  I charge what I think is a suitable value to the print.  this is about 1/2 the cost of other photographers but Im not as “famous” as them either… not just yet anyway :)

Even I will go out bargain hunting, so I do understand to a point.  The one thing I wont scrounge on is my camera, computers and printing gear though.  The old saying of “You get what you paid for” holds fast in the photography world.

But when you see a “bargain” like this don’t be surprised you are getting something that you actually paid for… that something in this bloggers case is a big can of “stuff all” by the looks… or is it?

Genuine Inks alone on a large format printer for a print this size doesn’t cover the sale price, then include a matte… even at US prices it doesn’t come close…..

This is the blog Im referring to (it will send you to another page)  To be honest Im going off this blog as being factual and taking it at face value.


To me, the business hasn’t done anything legally wrong however there is a moral factor I have issue with.  I still think it would be a worthy place to go visit so the blog hasn’t deterred me on that front either.

All it takes is one bad egg and everyone is labelled the same.   We see this everyday with keyboard warrior comments on facebook, twitter and other social mediums, so Id rather everyone be up front and honest.

Now in hindsight the blogger probably doesn’t know that value of what he is purchasing or just thought he got a “steal”.  Is he at fault for not knowing this? …. but…. does anyone actually know?  And what are you paying for with this “illustrious” prices of a few hundred or even thousand bucks.

Well you cover the materials, computers, software, cameras, lenses, calibration equipment, servicing, insurance, time, storage space, power, phone lines, internet service, website licences, registration, business registration , vehicle maintenance (photographers just don’t walk out their front door and take a snap and walk straight back in again… yeah I know, shocking isnt it?), fuel, car insurance, flights in some occasions, visa’s, accommodation/ camping, food, clothing and a heap of other stuff and thats just the away stuff… And thats just to cover what is used to get the photo from the camera to what you see on google and other web engines.  This hasn’t covered putting food on the table for his/ her family via a wage or even covering the monthly bills to exist or even a business profit.  Unfortunately most businesses do not work on good faith and favours Without the last couple there is no chance that the business would have even started or the customer may have seen the shot on the web.

If it was as simple as clicking a button and printing it onto paper whilst taking everyones money than everyone would do it….

This piece is purely a discussion on the topic of photographic business and should not be considered to demean the Ansel Adams family name or the original linked blogger.

Photo by J Malcolm Greany (wiki)




Home sick

Since having been to the US I have had this “feeling”.  Ive often asked some of my more travelled friends is it possible to be “home sick” about a place that you have only visited once.

This feeling/ emotion honestly drives me batty every single day and the wish and dream to get back to the “land of the free, home of the brave” increases as time goes on.  Ive fallen head over heels in love with “Lady Liberty” and patriotism.  Australia has nothing like it… actually.. Australia Day which usually ends with getting smashed drunk, glassing someone and telling a tourist to fit in or f**k off… there is no patriotism here, there is just anti social behaviour.  From where I stand I do not see people being proud of who they are or what they stand for, but I do see a lot more of the dregs of society than most.  This could be a minority of people though.  Im sure there are some really nice people out there.

Now I know that the old saying, “grass isnt always greener..” is out there and I only travelled through the US as a tourist, not living, working etc but honestly… I dont care.. Id move there tomorrow if I could.  Id take the crappiest job I could just to have the opportunity.  Hell Id board a plane tonight to scrub side walks with a tooth brush.

Ive acquired a few friends of late, many American and some still ask why?  Americans have guns, drugs, death, other political stuff.  My answer to that is… from what I saw and what I experienced  I only ever met the most polite people around.  Maybe I got lucky?  Yes there are differences but that is just a challenge isnt it?

Many of my American friends after asking why and I respond with that its my dream they will say,  (in my best US accent) “Good on you!, what have you got to loose and if you never try you will never know”.  Many of my Aussie friends will just shut the conversation down with “f**k that”, add in a few derogatory terms then tell me Im stupid for even considering it.  Quite disheartening to be honest but is there any other reason than just that to want to get out of here.

America trumps Australia in a few ways, more product, better customer service, greater opportunity.  Australia trumps America in health, superannuation, … apparently education, cleaner air.  It actually took me back when I was in LA and just how everything stunk of tobacco.  But I guess that is like going to Asia and everything smelling of soy and spices I guess.

Now Ive mentioned products etc etc, but the reality is, I couldn’t be happier if I found some log cabin in the middle of no where and could fend for myself.  I dont need cinemas, casinos, big shopping malls like Mall of America (mind you if you get to go there.. it will blow your mind!!).  The only thing I would ask for is power and internet and a local store.

I also love the scenery, its to die for and the ability to actually have 4 seasons, not just hot and really f**king hot.

So the ultimate question is, how do I achieve by dream? I do the green card every year, I apply for jobs.  Many I am not permitted to do as I am not a citizen of USA (which even prohibits my current occupation lol )

The next step is to head back next year for a while and apply for a artists visa, but where will that take me?  It was never going to be a easy task but we all have to start form somewhere.

Is it wrong to want to make something of myself?  Or just sit in the groove of life?

If anyone has any hints Id love to know

Have a great weekend
Zion-Up-stream Zion-In-the-groove

Interesting News “n stuff”

Recently I completed a course in Crash Investigation and the two Instructors were total comedians all the way through the training.  Its not something new for me with this course, Ive been doing this line of work for close to 15 years, its just a formality and something I have a interest in, in my normal profession.  Actually investigating crashes is one of the many reasons why I got into photography.

Everyday Id ask “what are we going to learn today?” and the answer was “Stuff…”… Id ask, what kind of “stuff?”… and they would retort with..”You, know… stuff..” So Ive followed with the word “stuff” meaning a group of things…

So last week I delivered my Canvas prints to the local Visitors Centre, heres hoping that they sell fast!  Im quite curious to see how it all pans out. Ive even reduced the price considerably to get the ball rolling.

Last year I was contacted to supply several prints to the Hospitality Inn in Port Hedland for their Restaurant “The Pilbara Room”,  I was pretty excited about this as it a way of having my images on display, after 12-18 months Im starting to see some inquiries from these prints.

Im pretty happy about the interest (actually Im stoked!), just need to generate that interest into sales.

Below are some of the images on display at the Visitors Centre.( its really difficult to get a decent shot of a photo).

Have  a great weekend!
canvas7 canvas6 canvas5 canvas4 canvas3 canvas2 canvas1

Last few weeks

Dampier-apocalypse-webIts … again.. been a while since I’ve last updated my blog, a combination of really slow internet (wont even load a web page) due to my location and being away with my normal job.

I did have a week off in between all this and managed to snap a few good shots locally.

On the + side of things I was contacted by the local visitors centre to display some of my works for sale.  Heres hoping it all works out :)

Late September I’ve got 2 months off of work so it will be nice to do bugger all and concentrate on my shots.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Under-the-shadow-of-the-hill Death-defying Stepping-Stones Predator glisten Dampier-Rays Black-and-white-sunset-web Looking-over-my-shoulder-web Withnell-Stitch-1-HDR-web Withnell-Bay-Stopping-Time-web Withnell-Mangrove-Sunset
Fortescue-Long-Exposure-web On-the-hunt-web River-mouth-web

Tour Plans 2015

Its been a while since I have updated my blog, my normal day job is intense and spend a lot of time away from home, whilst I take my camera gear with me for some down time Im usually that fatigued its not possible to get out.  Besides that the extra money comes in handy with my tour plans.

The plans for my tour next year are slowly falling into place which being 14 odd months away and being excited about it is going to make it a painfully long time to wait.

I tried this week to book my flights but It appears that I cant actually book over 10 months away. Fair enough I guess.

The plan (at the moment as things do change is)…… this time Im jetting in to San Francisco, spending some time photographing around the Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods and a few other spots, then following the coast north to Oregon, hanging a right hand turn towards Glacier National Park where I hope to spend a week, heading south through Idaho Falls (Yellow stone) towards Utah where Ill be spending more time at Zion, then Page Arizona across to Monument Valley, back up past Moab then following my previous trip through Denver up towards South Dakota and back into Minneapolis to see my friend Amy.

I contemplated travelling through Nebraska, Iowa but there appears to be limited National Parks that way.  Its a lot of driving but I swear its the only way to go unless you own a chopper and a couple of tankers of av gas.  There is no chance of me considering a Coach Bus as a) too my gear to take, time lines of the service and what I saw last time at Moab was a tonne of people getting off a bus for 5 minutes only to be dragged back on again…. Some of my shots take hours to complete and just cant handle being rushed with my photos.

I constantly miss not being in the US, its literally on my mind every hour of every day and have asked the question of can one actually be “home sick” when they dont live there?  I had a wonderful experience last time meeting some awesome Aussies as well as some amazing Yanks!  Ive now found that most (if not all) of my close friends are American.  Why that is I dont know.

Im hoping this year that Ill experience some snow (never seen the stuff), I expect that I may see some at Glacier but last time I left Minneapolis I missed out by like 2 days…..

Everything is always subject to change though but I think I have settled on my departure and arrival dates, anything in between is a bonus.

I love fall, I love the reds in the leaves, such contrast with the green grass etc.

Some of the smaller places I travelled last time were amazing, Sioux Falls is quite small, but very interesting, same as Wall Drug in SD.  I hadnt heard about that until Amy told me so I kept a look out and well worth the stop.  Have to go there again so I can load up on Jackalope Shirts again :).

Anyway I almost salivating at the idea of travelling again so before I start getting static shocks from my keyboard I better stop :)

Stay safe


Hope everyone is having a great sunday.


Technology has come along way in the last 30 years hasnt it?  Society has gone from VCR to Blue ray.  I even remember a family friend winning a Commodore 64 and playing games off a cassette tape drive!


Graphics and some of the tools that artists, designers and photographers use have also headed this way.


Now let me just explain that I have not always been computer savvy.  Prior to 2000 I did not own a computer and the only computer I ever touched was in high school in the 90′s…. Now I have technology coming out of my ears lol.



I sit here pondering whether I should be upgrading the piddly 21 inch Apple cinema screens that I use, both are probably 9 -10 years old and have never missed a beat.  They are reliable.



What I have been looking at is the LG 34UM95-P 34inch UltraWide QHD IPS LED Monitor as its replacement.  After reading up on it, it has some interesting facets. like being able to connect 2 computers to it and is MACOSX compatible. 


I can always keep one of the smaller screens as a pallet screen for my photoshop.  I know my kids have been desperately wanting a computer to use and it would save the arguments of when I kick them off my one.  Besides Im a bit OCD when it comes to how its set up…



shoppingI currently own a Wacom Intuos Tablet and love it to bits…. again its a good 7 years old.  Im very happy with it.  Yes they are a tad hard to get used to but persevere and you will be pleasantly surprised.  Ive heard from other photographers that they are now using the Cintiq version in their post processing and the fact that you are actually drawing on to the image is great.  Im now curious, but with a 2500 price tag it will have to wait.  But it does show a slide in mental thought processes with photographers towards artistic practices.


Computers move so fast nowadays that as soon as you buy the product off the shelf its now outdated.  My Mac pro is a good 5 years old and is still going strong, mind you Im running a good 1/2 doz external drives with all the images and processing but that was always going to happen when 1 image can range from 100 meg to 2 gig in size.  good thing about the Mac pro is that most things are swappable in it, ie I can open the side up and change things.  I dont need an medical degree to find where the screws are.


Over the next few years I will upgrade but at this time Im trying to save my hard earned overtime on a new camera and another trip back to the States… maybe if Im lucky a few grand to a lawyer for my artists visa application.  Again thats something off in the distance.




Im always curious to what everyone else uses, so if you use something that is different or completely out of left field Im keen to hear.




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