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Join photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long on location in San Francisco as he explores the creative options provided by the kinds of lenses and lens accessories that don't always make it into most camera bags.
The course begins with a look at several common and inexpensive lens attachments, from polarizers to neutral density filters. The course then explores ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses as well as ultra-long telephoto and macro lenses. The course concludes with a look at tilt-shift lenses, which are useful for architectural photography and special effects, and at offbeat lenses, such as Lensbaby and Holga attachments.
The course also contains Photoshop postproduction advice and examples that illustrate the creative possibilities that an expanded lens collection provides. And because some specialty lenses are extremely expensive, the course also contains advice on renting gear.
If you choose to shoot with the fisheye or ultra-wide angle lens, it's because you're going for a particular look, and so you probably expect a certain amount of distortion and strange final results. This is about as strange as you're going to get with the fisheye. This is the Canon 8215-mm fisheye used on a 5D. So it's a full-frame camera, and the fisheye can't cover the whole sensor, so I've got all this black around here. So it's not real practical on this camera. This lens makes a little more sense on a cropped sensor camera. Still, I really like the extreme fisheye distortion that you get here.
That said, it is a little bit annoying that these lines up here that are so plainly supposed to be straight or curved, it makes the effect of the lens a little too obvious. Granted, the stringy arms are going to be obvious no matter what, but still, is it possible to correct some of the distortion and still have a nice wide-angle stylized look? Yes it is, and in Photoshop CS6, it's very easy to do using the Adaptive Wide Angle correction feature. So this is just a filter that I apply that is going to let me correct the distortion in specific parts of an image.
Now, I'm still going to need a heavy crop, but here's how it works. You can see that it has identified my lens model so it knows that it's some fisheye correction that needs to happen. It knows a lot of specifics about exactly how this lens distorts. So what I need to do is tell it where there is a line in the image that is supposed to be straight. So I'm taking this Straight Line tool. I can also do this with a Polygon, but I'm just going to do a straight line, I get the same results. And I click on this in, and as I drag, it's creating a line that automatically fits perfectly the curvature of this line because it knows from the profile of the lens exactly how much distortion there is.
So I can tell it, "Okay, you know that, that line right there is supposed to be straight. I want you to straighten it." When I let go, it warps that part of the image to straighten up that particular bit. So now I can work through here and just straighten out whatever parts of the image I find are distractingly distorted. So I'm looking for really strong curved lines, and I'm just straightening those out. Now, as I do, I am making my image a little more difficult to crop. I'm forcing myself to go to a tighter crop.
So I want to pick this images or these lines a little bit carefully. But what's cool is now, when I'm done--I'm going to hit Okay--I end up with an image where big curved lines aren't so obvious. This line of wall to the ceiling that we would all recognize as being a straight line is now a straight line, but I still get all of the fun fisheye distortion that I had before. Now, I just need to crop the image down to a rectangle. This is not only something you'll use with fisheye lenses. This is also--oops, my Crop tool is all messed up here.
Let me just go unconstrained. This is something you will use for ultra wide angle lenses as well as fisheye lenses. It's an easy way to take out a level of distortion that you may not want. It's an easy way to make super distorted lines not so obvious. It keeps them from upstaging your image. Now, that said, there's no way that anyone's not going to look at this and see it as a heavily distorted very stylized image. But still, I like that he is now this real rubbery arm guy standing in what appears to be a normal room.
So, again, this is the Adaptive Wide Angle filter in Photoshop CS6. If you're using an earlier version of Photoshop, you won't have this. It's a very good reason to upgrade if you regularly shoot with fisheyes and wide-angle lenses.
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