Art of photography Q & A's

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I have downloaded Hugin software to stitch panoramas. Whilst I have been able get the photos stitched, I’m unable to access the newly creat...

I have downloaded Hugin software to stitch panoramas. Whilst I have been able get the photos stitched, I’m unable to access the newly created photo, as it is saved as a .PTO file (whatever that is!). I would like to be able to use this program as an external editor in Lightroom, so I can then send the newly created panorama off to the printing service directly from Lightroom. The reason I chose Hugin is because I have quite a number of photos taken specifically for stitching, but they have different shutter speeds and some have different ISOs and apparently Hugin can eliminate this problem?

AHugin is a multi-platform Graphical User Interface for the very powerful and versatile though hugely intimidating Panorama Tools (which was originally created by Professor Helmut Dersch).
Choosing a manual White Balance, and setting your camera in manual exposure mode would be helpful in future for ensuring a consistent White Balance and exposure across the full width and/or height of the panorama, thereby preventing the camera from selecting varying apertures, shutter speeds and/or ISOs. This will yield a better result when all the various images are merged together, as compared with the necessary later post-processing for White Balance and exposure. You’ll have to decide whether your particular scene and lighting conditions will be best served by choosing the average, overall exposure, or metering so that the highlights don’t get overexposed.

The .PTO file format is the Panorama Tools native file format (which contains readable and editable text) for a panorama “project” (eg; where the project-specific settings, file names, etc, are stored). You’ll need to first “save” your project (which will create the very small .PTO file). After blending and adjustments are settled on you can export the resulting file in one of the standard graphics formats.

For example, when using the Assistant and clicking the ‘Create Panorama’ button, or after choosing ‘Interface > Advanced’, under the Stitcher tab (near the top, far right-hand side of the program window) you’ll find the Output File Options (TIFF, JPEG, PNG). The TIFF format would be preferable for the final panoramic file. You could go back and make further adjustments for various requirements and purposes in the future (eg; resize and sharpen appropriately for the specific output medium, increased saturation, etc.). For a “final product”, JPEG would be a format
and size more amenable to uploading to various printing services. It will take some time for the panorama to be created. When complete, check for the file in your output directory, and also that this is what is being “handed back” to Lightroom.


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I’m learning Lightroom with the help of Adobe ‘Classroom In A Book’ and I have discovered a couple of issues of concern. Firstly, Lightroom is not compatible with NEF files. The older photos I have imported to Lightroom were taken on a Nikon 3100 (all JPEG files). Since buying a D7100 (all pics in RAW format) and both JPEG & RAW images were originally transferred to my computer via Nikon NX2 program. I haven’t tried to import any RAW files to Lightroom as I was aware of the compatibility issue with NEF. I’m not sure on how to go about fixing this. Adobe’s site mentioned it has DNG, which sounds promising, though I’m not sure if my issue may also be a Camera RAW problem. Until I can understand the problem a little better I didn’t want to download anything to my computer. Also, the JPEG videos weren’t imported to Lightroom, although they were part of the file of photos I was importing at the time. (There was an error message regarding the non-import of the videos when the import was completed.) I have stopped importing images until issue is resolved. My computer runs Windows 7.

Adobe’s list for “New Camera Support in Lightroom 4.4” includes the Nikon D7100. This means you won’t need to go through the intermediate step of using Adobe’s DNG (“Digital NeGative”) converter. Under normal circumstances, regardless of how your camera’s files arrive onto your computer’s HDD (Hard Disk Drive), provided that the version of ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) in your Lightroom supports the D7100, you’ll be able to import those files into the Lightroom catalogue, and then be able to process and work on them as you normally would.

A useful article can be found at http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/raw-problems. Mention is made there of the possibility of an old version of Nikon software corrupting the NEF files. Phil Harvey, developer of the popular and powerful ExifTool freeware, makes available the Fix_Corrupted_NEF software (free, for Windows, Mac or Linux) at http://owl.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool Hopefully you still have all your original images and video files on your camera’s memory card(s), as well as backed-up on another external drive, in case Nikon NX2 software has been causing corruption. I’d suggest starting your investigations by directly copying files from your camera’s memory card onto your HDD with Windows Explorer. You should note that moving the files – whereby they are deleted from the Source directory when transferring to the Destination directory – is not advisable. To ensure you’ll be copying the files when dragging and dropping, in Windows hold down the Control (Ctrl) key. A small “+” icon will appear, as well as an “envelope” icon, underneath the cursor. Be absolutely certain that all the original files are still on that memory card, then safely disconnect your card reader. This will eliminate the risk of anything happening to those files (eg; user error). It’s also possible that an incorrect installation of Lightroom is causing the inability to read the Nikon NEF format for RAW files from the D7100.

In the worst-case scenario, you may need to uninstall your existing Lightroom, then reinstall it. Before taking such a drastic step, however, it might be wise to seek help from the Adobe engineers via an appropriate Lightroom forum.

Video files produced by your camera are in the .MOV video container file format, with H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) encoding (for compression). Although sometimes referred to as MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), these are a vastly different format to a standard JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) still file. Some more troubleshooting of the video import problems with Lightroom needs to be undertaken. See the following page for more info: http://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/troubleshoot-videoissues-lightroom-4.html

Using Windows Explorer, for example, you could drag and drop all of the video files which have been copied from your camera’s memory card onto your HDD into Windows Media Player (WMP), and
view those videos there. My experience on Windows 7 is that WMP uses less processor power than does VLC (Video LAN Client), a popular Free and Open Source media player which has built-in
codecs (for compression/decompression) for almost any media format ever invented.

Having captured several photos of a bushfire near the town where I live, I am more than happy to donate some of the better photos if this will help the local rotary club raise some funds. My dilemma is whether I should seek any assurances from the club that these photos will only be used to raise money for the Bangor bushfire appeal and no other purposes? Should I place a small watermark in the corner of each photo with my name or logo?

Unfortunately it’s a sign of the times we’re living in that photographers need to be so conscious of protecting their copyright. Whilst we’d all like to assume that your local rotary club is conscientious and trustworthy, there’s the possibility that in the process of having prints made your work will fall into other hands, and potentially be used in a manner different from that intended. It’s prudent to obtain written assurance that your images will only be used in the manner you described, and also to discuss this with the responsible, most senior person at Rotary involved. Placing your watermark is an option, though you have to weigh that up with the fact that a watermark inevitably diminishes the aesthetics of the image. If you do go down this path, something to the effect of “Copyright Sabin Flutur” should be included.
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