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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning



Ever since I found out Cornell had hired me as a photoblogger I knew I was going to have to step my game up in the photography department (and in the writing department, but that’s another story).  So I signed up for photo in Rome, bought my first DSLR, and tried to practice as much as I could.  I picked up some tips, and some tools, along the way and I thought I’d share them with you.

Exposure Compensation:

Picked this tip up in the manual of my Canon, basically there’s a tool that lets you bracket the meter on your camera so that you’ll take a series of photos at different exposures.  This is great if the light is really bright in some areas and dark in others, as you can take several shots to test out which exposure might be best.  When paired with continuous shooting, you can take 3 identical shots at different shutter speeds, and I’ve heard that later on you can piece these photos together in an HDR image.


Panoramas have been very easy to take with my iPhone camera using the app Photosynth, but using a series of 10 MB images taken from a DSLR may not be the best idea, considering your panorama may end up being at least a Gig in size.  But if you feel so inclined, the makers of Photosynth, i.e. a department at Microsoft, have made a desktop version they call I.C.E.  It’s pretty nice in that it let’s you make planar panoramas as well as spherical panoramas.


Orthographic Images:

The last tip/tool is something that is still very much a work in progress, but it’s pretty nice that it blends well with taking photos/ studio work/ and history.  Pretty recently Autodesk came out with a free tool called 123d Catch.  It’s a tool that creates a fully textured 3d mesh from a series of photos.  What that means is you can go around and snap a bunch of pictures of anything, and with a little work from this tool, you can produce a 3d representation of whatever you were taking pictures of.  I’ve been using this tool in conjunction with Rhino and Photoshop to make orthographic photos of renaissance facades.  I’m still waiting for one of these things to end up perfect, but hopefully by then I’ll be able to use this to map our site for studio.


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