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Content Aware really IS your friend!

Hey!

Yeah i know, off the radar again! I would love to say the reason for my blogging absence is due to being so mega busy that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day…etc…etc…

Fact is - i’ve been too lazy! Ok, a little bit busy too, but mainly lazy!

Anyhoo - as the title suggests, we’re going to touch a little on photoshop.

A couple of weeks ago I was over at Theater Oberhausen, doing a promo shoot for an upcoming production.

You’ll note, that yes, i have shot slightly less insane things.

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The above image is straight out of camera. You’ll not that we’re shooting inside a built set, within a larger hall. We were actually in the set building hall belonging to the theatre. No much room to shoot inside this wooden box, and a ton of natural light flooding in through the windows.

It needed to be a moody shot anyway, so killing the ambient light and bringing in flash was always on the cards. The biggest problem though was framing the shot. I shot with the widest glass i had - 17mm on a FF sensor - and had to hold the camera to my side against the wall, so i had no real idea what i was shooting.

Anyway, because of the constraints i had, this meant there would be a fairly heavy chunk of post production coming my way in order to keep this shot wide-looking, but having it look like were just in this stripy room!

The final image

The final image

Obviously, i’m not a genius, and don’t have hours and hours to spend bringing images through post production. But, the content aware tool is your friend. Selecting parts of the image that are outside of our little ‘room’, and using the CA fill, really does help to speed up the process. In most cases, it’s pretty accurate in expanding the background.

There’s obviously going to be some imperfections to the background, but they can be tidied up using the clone stamp tool, and with some creative (and fairly liberal) use of dodge, burn and vignette, the image came up good!

Here’s another example:

Note the wall to the right of the finished image also came through CA Fill successfully

Note the wall to the right of the finished image also came through CA Fill successfully

Content aware is a fairly simple thing to use: use lasso, patch, pen tool, selection brush - whatever you prefer to select an area - hit delete, select content aware, hit enter - job done! There may be some fixing to do afterwards, particularly with busy images, however, the hit-rate is pretty good!


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So, this wasn’t really meant as a photoshop tutorial, but whatever! Thanks for reading!

Until next time!

Ant

Hot News!

Hey guys!

It's been a while i know, i've been a busy boy! 

Just needed to fire a quick update to you all to let you know that I've been given the honour of being selecting to join the official photography team for the Ruhrtriennale arts festival from 2018-2020! 

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It's a big thing! And i'd like to send a special thank you to those who have supported me and helped me get to where i am! You know who you are!

x

Ant

 

Behind the Image

Hi, 

It's been a couple of weeks, and as i said in a previous post, i will be writing about my recent shoots with Theater Oberhausen, producing the imagery for their 2018/19 programme.

Well, here comes the first in that series.

The shoot for the theater's new programme involved photographing the permanent cast of the theater in various situations, performing 'other jobs' in the local area. We visited a hospital, funeral parlour, and a kiosk, to name just a few locations.

Most of the shoots were carried out at night, in order to take a look in to what people are doing while the rest of us sleep.

Midnight pizza

Midnight pizza

These shoots presented of course one major challenge; darkness. Something that can be overcome with knowing what you're doing, and a little trickery with lights here and there.

One of the most challenging shoots however was the team photo. All the men and women who work behind the scenes at the theater, who of course deserve their place in the programme, joined by some of the cast who were around on the day.

Photographing 50 plus people and making it look interesting isn't so easy. 

Thankfully, Franca, who i mentioned in a previous post, was on hand with some ideas and some sharp organisational skills!!

The plan was: use the main stage in the theater, bring some props in, and get everyone to lie on the floor in some kind of organised way so it looked like they were doing their usual jobs - or somewhere close!

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From a technical point of view, figuring out how to photograph the stage from directly above was a bit of a sticky point.

Sending the camera up with the lighting rig was the simplest option. Then firing the camera remotely. 

Gaff tape and cable ties. A dream combo!

Gaff tape and cable ties. A dream combo!

Instead of using cables to connect the camera to a computer to take the shot, i opted for using my reserve camera, a Canon 6D, and using it's wifi function to connect to my mac and take the shot. Easy right - wrong!

First, the proprietary software which Canon uses to tether the camera remotely is junk! The camera and computer can't see each other automatically like the camera can with Canons smartphone app.  You need to first set up an ad-hoc network on the computer, then try and force the camera to see it. 

When you are finally connected, the connection drops every few seconds. And you can't use more stable software like CaptureOne - or at least, i couldn't get it to work. 

The dropped connection of course could be due to the distance between camera and computer, around 15 meters; but once i had moved myself, and the macbook up into the rafters nearer the camera, the problem continued.

I tried my best to get as close to the camera as i could. This made communicating with the stage difficult.

I tried my best to get as close to the camera as i could. This made communicating with the stage difficult.

Franca meanwhile continued to coordinate things down on the stage, with me having to send a screenshot from the macbook over WhatsApp every few seconds. This was of course only possible while the connection to the camera was holding and i was able to see something.

Several test shots later, we were ready to go - and of course, the connection dropped again. Wi-Fi off, Wi-Fi on, close EOS utility, open EOS utility - you get the idea of what a struggle it was!!

We did however get there in the end, and managed to pull an image out with so many things to look at! 

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The image features on the inside cover of the new programme, and can be checked out online here!

There'll be more stories about the rest of the shoots coming in the coming weeks! 

Until then... :)

Hot Off The Press!

Hey!

You may remember from one of my recent posts, that i had a few late nights running around with my friends from Theater Oberhausen.

We set off on a project to complete the photography for the 2018/19 programme magazine, photographing all of the cast individually in alternative workplaces.

The general theme was that they would do jobs that are generally carried out at night. We had a few late nights, and a few early starts. Some delays, some re-edits.

But....

....this afternoon, the magazine finally went to press!! About 40,000 copies are being produced (i think). Crazy seeing something being printed with so many different photographs in, that were all taken by me!

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The magazine is released mid-June! So expect another post (or two)! And i will also be posting a series with a look behind the scenes from some of the shoots!

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Much love! 

Ant

 

Dark Skies Make Happy Times

Hi! 

Last week took me down south on a first visit to Karlsruhe. I know the football team, but given the fact i thought the city was somewhere near Hamburg just shows how much i actually knew about Karlsruhe itself.

On the agenda, shooting a rehearsal for the Kammertheater Karlsruhe. The production, Gut Gegen Nordwind. Adapted from a novel by Daniel Glattauer, it's kind of a similar take on 'You've Got Mail', just without so much of a happy ending (i won't say more).

A piece played out on stage between two actors. In this production, both known for their TV work in Germany; Ralf Bauer and Gisa Zach. 

The drive down to Karlsruhe was fairly uneventful. A bright, sunny, hot day, with the usual bad drivers and roadworks every ten minutes. 

Approaching Karlsruhe, the sky was getting darker!

Arrival - dark skies and thunder overhead - from my instastory @leapesportif

Arrival - dark skies and thunder overhead - from my instastory @leapesportif

I'd made a quick google search before heading down there on what i might be able to do or see in the little time i had before the rehearsal was due to start.

I found that Karlsruhe has an amazing castle and park, with botanical gardens, right bang in the city centre! Even better, just a short walk from the theatre! 

What an amazing amount of open space to have in the centre of a city!

What an amazing amount of open space to have in the centre of a city!

This place looked a perfect place to get my drone up in the air and have a look around! 

So, i arrived, and thunder was already rumbling in the distance!! I headed to the castle, unpacked, and got the drone up! 

Within a minute, the lightning was every few seconds - time to land, and quick - just the one photo shot!

The only shot from the bee. The palace, with rain already falling over the south of the city. © Ape.Photos

The only shot from the bee. The palace, with rain already falling over the south of the city. © Ape.Photos

As i landed, the rain came down. And not just a shower, but full monsoon stuff!!! 

The ten minute walk back to the theatre, with several shelter stops in between, left me looking like i'd actually swam there!

Shelter stop number 3. Back-werk. Coffee was definitely needed!

Shelter stop number 3. Back-werk. Coffee was definitely needed!

Simone, the PR officer from the theatre was waiting for me, and as i had a now watered-down coffee in my hand already, got me a towel instead!

No matter how un-stylish you may feel, doing one's jacket up in heavy rain really makes sense!

No matter how un-stylish you may feel, doing one's jacket up in heavy rain really makes sense!

Meeting the rest of the team there, and the cast, was a really nice experience! A great little venue, and an entertaining production!!

Stage - Set

Stage - Set

I'm already looking forward to making another trip down there, and hopefully getting to have a proper look around!!

Oh, and the drive back - wet!

Here's a few images from the production. For more info, visit the Kammertheater Karlsruhe here.

'til next time!

Ralf Bauer © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos

Gisa Zach. © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos

Gisa Zach. © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos

Ralf Bauer and Gisa Zach. © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos

Ralf Bauer and Gisa Zach. © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos

Gisa Zach and Ralf Bauer. © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos

Gisa Zach and Ralf Bauer. © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos