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March 2010    Photographers Resource - Monthly    Edition 75

Special 3D Issue

2D/3D Still Life

Image taken with Nikon D300, and camera moved sideways for a second picture to be taken to form a 3D set. Place your mouse over the image to see the 3D image.
In This Issue:-
  • Editorial

  • Photographic Feature - 3D Photography

  • Photographers Diary

  • March Wildlife Diary

Although there are many shows throughout the year for many different interest groups, March always seems to be when show fever starts to take hold, with many of the long running well known shows, like Focus taking up residence in the many exhibition halls around the UK.

A little later than last year, the Photographers Show of the year 'FOCUS ON IMAGING' takes place this month from the 7th to 10th at the NEC Birmingham, in halls 9&10. Doors open at 10am each day and all the latest equipment will be on show and offers to be had. All the big names like Canon, Nikon, Manfotto, Lastolite, Colour Confidence, Epson and many more will be exhibiting, all together over 200 exhibitors. Take a look at the Focus On Imaging website for the latest exhibitor list for 2010 and to get this year's floorplan. If you have the time it is well worth a visit and in this time of recession you never know you may be able to pick up a bargain. You can still register online, although 1st March is the last day badges will be posted, so you will need to take your registration email with you and collect your badge on the day. If you do not qualify as a trade professional then you can still register online and pre-pay the entry fee of 8. Once you have registered you can attend on any or all of the 4 days it is running. If you don't register then the cost is 10 on the door. For all visitors who arrive by car there is also an additional car parking fee payable on the day of 8. You might also like to have a read of our previous Focus on Imaging write-ups to get an idea of the sort of day you could have there, these are:-

Focus On Imaging the annual UK Photographic Show. 2008 Advance information.

Focus on Imaging Show - What to look out for - Feb 2008

Focus on Imaging 2008 A highlighted tour with many links.

What To Look Out For at Focus 2009

Focus-On-Imaging Show 2009 Review

Probably one of the largest consumer shows of the year takes place at Earls Court in London, The Ideal Home Show, which this year runs from 20th March through to 5th April. A show like this all under one roof gives plenty of opportunities and ideas whether you are into food photography, garden photography or plants, architectural, interiors, gadgets and in the Ideal Women area there will even by two daily fashion shows on a catwalk, as well as many demonstrations. Cost of entering the Ideal Home Show is 17 for an adult on the weekend or 12 for a weekday visit, however if you purchase your ticket online in advance prices are then 12 weekend and 10 weekday.

If you're into animals and particularly dogs, then the Annual 'Crufts' event is on at the NEC Birmingham from the 11th to 14th.

Buying tickets for shows today has many options depending on when you make your decision on when to go, or whether you want to reduce your costs on attending. All shows allow you to buy tickets on the door, the day you arrive. But many, like Focus On Imaging and the Ideal Home Show, also allow you to pre-register and buy tickets online via their websites, usually offering you a discount for doing this. One thing to watch out for with online purchases is the addition of a booking fee, Focus do not do this, but the Ideal Home Show does. It all depends on who they are using to do their ticket operation. Buying tickets direct from the NEC website usually also incurs a booking fee charge.

However there are other ways to get tickets and for the Ideal Home Show these include getting hold of Preview Tickets offered by some magazines such as The Ideal Home magazine, who have complimentary tickets available with their March edition for the first weekend. Or you could take a look at eBay and see if you can pick up a ticket somebody else already has but is now unable to attend, these can typically go for around 3 for the Ideal Home Show, a considerable saving if the whole family wants to attend. When looking for tickets to any show or event don't forget to take a look at eBay it's amazing what offers and bargains you can pick up. For a safe way to use eBay why not take a look at our article Buying on eBay, and to make sure you get what you want for the price you want then using a free system like AuctionSniper to place bids for you at the last minute is an easier way of not succumbing to auction fever. Our article Sniping and Multiple Bids takes you through how to use this system for eBay purchases.


Photographic Feature

3D Photography

In a few years we will all be taking photographs in 3D, probably not all the time, but a substantial percentage. At the moment we are still on the journey, expecting new technology, wondering why the camera manufacturers have not yet brought out a good 3D digital consumer model, looking forward to the day when the first DSLR is produced with full 3D imaging, and variable automatic stereo base. Wondering what this would look like, perhaps this would look like the eye pieces of a pair of binoculars, with the body of a DSLR, but with two lenses that are moving with a parallelogram system.

3D however has been around from the time of early plate cameras, and in this edition we want to look at the position now, where 3D is at, and what is happening, plus how you can get into 3D using your existing camera equipment, with some projects and some examples to get you started.

The main picture above is a still life scene and shot as you can see in standard 2D, but if you put your mouse over the image you will see it was also taken in 3D. As 3D is only two 2D images taken some distance apart you have the individual 2D images to make use of as well.

We have introduced a new symbol this shows that it is a 3D image and that you need glasses with a red left lens and right cyan lens in order to view it.

The move to 3D

Around two years ago, I predicted that 3D was the next big thing in film, TV and photography, and although its made giant leaps forward in the cinema, and a small number of 3D TV's have been announced its still not something that every photographer has tried or even has on their 'must learn now' list.

It has taken time to convert the many cinemas that can now show 3D and the while just about all films are now shot in 3D it has taken a while for the development, editing and launch of these to bring 3D films to every town. As film production companies have agreements with the cinema groups not to show the material as DVD's or on TV before 17 weeks has passed from the cinema launch, this has also meant up to now there has been very few films that could have been shown on TV in 3D.

I had expected by now to have seen leading camera manufacturers with 3D models, but there is only one digital 3D consumer model to date and the image quality this has, has not featured well in reviews.

Last autumn, Channel 4 had a 3D week, and transmitted a range of programmes including some older films in 3D, the glasses to go with this were available free from Sainsbury supermarkets, it used the ColorCode system so special ColorCode glasses were required. Yes it did work, we did have 3D, but even those of us most excited by 3D felt that for some reason it did not work all that well all of the time. It has not ignited a desire by other broadcasters to plan a month of 3D, that we know of. Just think how exciting it would be to have a Doctor Who film in 3D, and perhaps even some episodes on the soaps, as well as technology and food shows. Perhaps I am just too impatient, as it will come at some point.

In the last two years since we looked at 3D coming a very large number of new patents and a few good ideas have come about in this area, and this includes barrier based displays that allow 3D to be shown on a display screen.  However we still don't have a screen that has been designed to show Lenticular images, and perhaps we could have expected to have seen this by now. It may be that more exists and due to the recession its not yet been announced or put into production.

There has been talk about ways to put 3D printed photos into magazines, at the moment this is only practical using Lenticular images or images that require people to wear special glasses. One suggestion is that a new technology makes use of a form of polarised image similar to the way a cinema film is shown in 3D, and that this technology could provide a very low cost means of providing 3D special TV's, on computer screens, in print and in many other ways and that those of us with glasses might have the required filters built in as  standard and others might use glasses or contact  lenses. For this to be practical everyone would need to agree the same standard.

My feeling is that barrier technology or something based on Lenticular images would be a better solution and prove more popular as no glasses or lenses are required.

We have here a number of 3D photos in photo frames that require no glasses to view. These were taken on a special camera produced by a Canadian company, the special camera is in effect 6 cameras in a box, and uses Lenticular technology. This camera is quite large and the whole system designed for portrait studios. We will look at Lenticular images and this camera in a later edition.

Once we have TV in 3D regularly and more professional photographers are routinely using 3D, a lot more photographers will want to take 3D photos. However you don't have to wait, you can get started now.

3D has been around from the days of early plate cameras, and back in the film days there were a range of cameras that were designed to take 3D photos. It became popular from time to time.

Getting into 3D photography

3D photos can be taken with a single camera, hand held and free software you can download. You get more consistent results by using a tripod and a sliding arrangement,  and for live action photography you need two cameras set up in some way so they both take photos at the same time.

The effectiveness of the 3D image is dependent on having the right separation between the position the two images are taken, This distance known as the Stereo base can vary from a few mm in macro photography to several metres with some landscape shots using a wide angle lens.

To help to get you into 3D we have the start of a new section on 3D, this contains an introductory article that links to many others, we explain the types of 3D, the way to take 3D with a single camera or with two cameras, how the images are edited and where to download the free software to do this. We look at stereo base, a free program to work this out, plus we have produced a look up sheet that you can see and print out to carry with you. We have also explained some specialist types of 3D like Lenticular images, and the ColorCode system.

In addition we have 4 projects, one to produce some 3D glasses, the others are to take and produce 3D photos. You can obtain 3D glasses cheaply, including from eBay, and  if you hire one of the 3D videos/DVD's from a hire place they will give you a pack of 4 sets of glasses that you don't return. Throughout this section you will see 3D photos, but you will need the 3D glasses to make them work. The ColorCode glasses used for the Channel 4 TV week will not work with these images.

ColorCode

We are experimenting with ColorCode, and will bring you more details on this and if we think in real live situations it has an advantage. As there are costs involved in using ColorCode for special glasses and software and only those with the special glasses can see the images, we are undecided at this time on how good an idea this is and we still have to do enough real world tests to see where there is an advantage over what we have come to consider standard 3D, using the left red and right cyan lenses. ColorCode uses a orange left and a purple right lens.

Watch out for more

We have more projects planned, plus several galleries we are going to produce in 3D.

The idea at present is not to have further special editions of this newsletter on 3D, but to include more articles on 3D subjects, to include some 3D galleries. We are trying to balance our enthusiasm for 3D, sharing a lot more of the knowledge available on this topic, and showing you what can be achieved, with the fact that its not a mainstream interest yet, and for many of our readers perhaps something that appears too much effort, or is ahead of its time.

Articles on 3D available now:-

3D Photography - An Introduction 

3D Photography Types

Taking 3D Images with One Camera 

Taking 3D Images with 2 Cameras 

3D Photography Stereo Base

Stereo Base Look Up Table 

Stereo Base Look Up Table  (PDF Version)

Software to Make 3D Images

3D Viewers for Side by Side Images

Lenticular Images

3D Pulfrich Effect  

3D ColorCode  

3D Projects

Making 3D Anagraph or Anachrome Glasses

Taking a 3D Still Life

Taking a 3D Garden Shot 

3D 2 Camera Portraits with Flash


The Photographers Diary

The April diary has been added and the various pointers have been updated.  We have also updated the wildlife diary quarter April-June with national activities taking place around the country that you can get involved in, so don't forget to also check this out.

Some highlights that are of particular interest during March include:-

On the 7th March a parade of clowns along The Esplanade of Bognor Regis in Sussex. A colourful afternoon event led by a Mardi Gras Jazz band.

Two Patron Saints are celebrated during March, St David's Day in Wales on the 1st, and Cardiff has a parade of floats, flags, bands, dragons and people in historic welsh dress parading from Sophia Gardens, through the city centre and ending at the National Museum. On the 17th March it's St Patrick's Day for Ireland. On the 14th a St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival takes place in London, while in Cheltenham the Irish visitors to the Annual Cheltenham Festival (horse-racing) from the 16th to 19th are welcomed and made to feel at home in the town during their stay.

Many of the steam railways are starting to open their doors again ready for the 2010 season, and some like the West Somerset Railway in Somerset start to hold Spring Steam Gala's. This years theme for the WSR is British Railways Steam 1948-1968, there will be up to 12 engines taking part, you can ride on the trains, visit the museums, sheds and workshops and take part in the many activities they have running. See our Railways trains and trams section to find a preservation railway near you.

For those who want something a bit more unusual you could try the Hawick Reivers Festival at the end of the month on the Scottish Borders, and step back in time to the 16th century. A weekend event with parades, encampments, firework spectaculars, torch processions and more. Or even on the 28th the World Pooh Sticks Championships which takes place at Little Wittenham in Oxfordshire.

As you can see the UK is full of the unusual, sporting, historic and modern contemporary events which people all over Britain take part in. If you want to have a great day out and get some good photos, then take a look at our diary pages for details on these and more inspiring ideas to spend your weekends.


Wildlife Photography In March

March is the start of spring and now our gardens, woodlands and hedgerows start to come back to life. On the 28th of this month the UK clocks move forward one hour and our days start to become longer, allowing us more opportunities to get out and take great photos of our countryside. It is also the time of the year when a lot of our wildlife start to build nests and create new homes and get ready to enjoy their courtship rituals to create this years new brood. The mad 'March Hare' comes to mind with the female hares boxing as they have to fend of the overbearing male until she is ready. This activity can take place at anytime but this time of year you can get good views as the vegetation in the fields is still short. Many of our winter hibernators will start to emerge from their winter beds, slightly dazed but on the look out for their first proper meal for months. The first insects hatch, some butterflies take to the air and honeybees start to venture from their hives ready to take advantage of the nectar being produced by the early spring flowers.

Plantlife is also starting to add colour to our landscape. Snowdrops have been out a while now, but in some places still may be emerging as our weather this year has not been on their side. If you want to get a glimpse of them before they disappear back into the ground for another year, then take a look at our Where to Photograph Snowdrops list of where you can get some good displays. In many parks, gardens and woodlands the colourful crocus bulbs are starting to emerge and creating a carpet of yellows, purples and more interspersed with the green grass. The green leaves and stalks of the Daffodil have emerged above ground and throughout this month there will be many yellow heads nodding in the breeze in woodlands, along river banks and the sides of our roads. The exact flowering date will depend on the weather, a warm spring will prompt the flowers to come earlier, but anytime between now and April there will be some to see somewhere. Where to Photograph Daffodils gives you some places you could visit to see displays of them. Along our roadsides you may also notice the white flowers on bare twigs of the Blackthorn hedges as they flower. Whilst a walk in the woods or a spinney you may notice the catkins hanging from branches.


Summary of Articles Included In This Issue

3D Photography - An Introduction 

3D Photography Types

Taking 3D Images with One Camera 

Taking 3D Images with 2 Cameras 

3D Photography Stereo Base

Stereo Base Look Up Table 

Stereo Base Look Up Table  (PDF Version)

Software to Make 3D Images

3D Viewers for Side by Side Images

Lenticular Images

3D Pulfrich Effect  

3D ColorCode  

3D Projects

Making 3D Anagraph or Anachrome Glasses

Taking a 3D Still Life

Taking a 3D Garden Shot 

3D 2 Camera Portraits with Flash

 

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