Richard W E Brown Photography: Blog en-us All Rights Reserved (Richard W E Brown Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:30:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:30:00 GMT Richard W E Brown Photography: Blog 80 120 Computational Photography and landscape focal stacking 2018-06-05 15-38-25 (B,Radius6,Smoothing3)2018-06-05 15-38-25 (B,Radius6,Smoothing3)

When: 4th June 2018

Where: Richmond West Dyke Trail, BC, Canada

How: Canon EOS 60D with EF L 70-200 mm F4.0 1/1250 sec and F5.6 1/500 sec

Focal stacking is normally associated with micro photography. Because of the extremely shallow depths of filed achieved with photographing very near to small objects such as jewellery, in order to achieve a sharp image of the whole object, it requires many images taken at small increments of distance from the object, usually using a micro adjustable rail to hold the camera. Then in post processing, the multiple images are merged, using only the pixels considered to be in focus. This is called focal stacking. This technique can be used in landscape photography, by taking images of foreground objects (e.g. flowers) with a large aperture, and shooting the background at a distant focus point with a suitable aperture for the available light. By merging the two or three images with software like Helicon Focus, , one can produce an image with both the foreground objects and the background in equally good focus (see above attached example).

Now the computational power required for focal stacking can be found in recent smart phones and could be included in compact cameras. So now a smart phone or compact camera,, can incorporate multiple fixed focal length lenses and produce near simultaneous images of varying depths of field. The first consumer example of use of this technique is with Portrait Mode on the Apple iPhone X. But the potential exists to use even more lenses with different focal lengths and perspectives, to create an image file with a user selectable depth of filed. This would eliminate the need for a real time decision on what focal length and aperture to select at the time of taking an image. The use the computational power in the device potentially could replace optics to provide creative images that utilize depth field in the same way traditional DSLR has been used with its large, expensive optical exchangeable lenses. Both Google and Apple are investing heavily in exploring the use of computational photography. So perhaps we may see more interesting mainstream innovation for photography on Android and Apple devices. Who knows, maybe Canon and Nikon might finally decide to be more technically innovative.




]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) computational photopgraphy Helicon Focus landscape focal stacking Fri, 17 Aug 2018 22:58:58 GMT
Benefits of upgrading from an APS-C DSLR sensor to a full frame DSLR IMG_6013 & FilmIMG_6013 & Film

Where: Steveston, BC Fishing Harbour

When: 26-January-2017


Comments:  In a previous post, I showed how much difference there is in the field of view on a full frame camera versus an APS-C DSLR. I decided to do more tests using my Canon film SLR to compare against my Canon EOS 60D SLR. I have two high quality Canon EF L series lens that are designed for a full frame sensor. They cover the range of 24-70 mm and 70 - 200 mm. I did a studio set of images at various zoom levels, and repeated this with four landscape scenes. The image shown here was shot at 24 mm on both cameras. Once again it clearly shows that the APS-C crop factor reduces the image coverage substantially. New full frame sensors are typically over 30 MP compared to my current 18 MP. So any loss of definition at full 200 mm zoom is made up in the ability to crop to the same level of detail as one gets at the effective 300 mm range with the APS-C sensor.

So if you own only full frame lens, your going to get fifty per cent more image with bigger pixels (i.e. better quality). The full frame also gives a bigger range for depth of field for any given distance hence in low light and small spaces you have more flexibility to get the right focus with good bokeh. So overall it gives a lot more flexibility to frame the shot you want whether in a studio or outdoors. With better quality at high ISO levels, you also get more flexibility to get sharper images with a range of light conditions. If you are Canon user, you just have to come up with the $2000 for the rumoured Canon EOS 6D MK II coming out in June.




]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Canon EOS 6D full frame sensor Thu, 02 Feb 2017 23:49:55 GMT
iPhoneography iPhone CameraiPhone Camera



The iPhone camera has undergone major changes over tha last 8 years. The iPhone isn't the only phone with a camera nor was it by any means the first. But the iPhone has so much global market share, that it is deserving of this word to describe a major world-wide phenomenon in mass photo / videography. Ever since Apple opened up the camera interface with iOS 8 on the iPhone 4S, there has been a transformation of the image taking capability into a highly optimised platform for creative still and video image capture. Its more than a camera. It is a whole new mass image taking and publishing capability. It doesn't replace any existing specialised cameras. It is unique thing like iTunes that Apple uses to make you keep on spending money with them. As long as they keep making it better and keep it affordable, then it will continue to succeed.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Apple iPhone iPhoneography Portrait Mode Mon, 31 Oct 2016 19:03:10 GMT
More Honda CX650E 1983 images


Honda CX650E 1983 Classic MotorbikeHonda CX650E 1983 Classic Motorbike Honda CX650E 1983 Classic MotorobikeHonda CX650E 1983 Classic Motorobike

When: 9th Feb 2016

Where: My garage studio

Comment: Since the bike gets more attention than my photos, I decided to check out all my studio gear using it as a subject. I used a couple of strobes with softboxes, the white backdrop and a remote trigger on a Canon EOS 60D with a Canon EF L f2.8 24-70 mm lens. The pictures were shot at f4 and 1/125 sec. The next time I shoot the bike I will try using back lights to increase the backdrop f stop so I can cut out the image with Photoshop





]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Classic Honda CX650 Honda CX650E Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:06:36 GMT
Winter Sunsets Vancouver Winter Sunset by Vivaldi iPhone

When: 5th Dec 2009

Where: West Dyke, Richmond, overlooking Vancouver Island

Comments: This is a video produced from a thousand images taken every 2 seconds by a Canon EOS 6oD on a tripod using a trigger app on an iphone. The images were processed by Apple Quicktime, and a soundtrack added. Quicktime was used to convert the HD version to a reduced quality MP4 to make it suitable for uploading.

The soundtrack is aptly Vivaldi's Winter Largo from Four Seasons.



]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Wed, 02 Dec 2015 01:55:00 GMT
Full Frame versus APS-C DSLR's - what your missing IMG1438 Merge FilmIMG1438 Merge Film

 When: September 2013

Where: Richmond Olympic Oval and Fraser River

Comment: Now that Canon and Nikon are finally making full frame DSLR's that are even remotely affordable for ordinary mortals (e.g. Canon EOS 6D at $1400) it is worth revisiting why full frame sensors are so much better on DSLR's. The bigger image above was taken with the original full frame "sensor" namely a film SLR with a 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm. The inset image was taken with an ASP-C sensor DSLR with the same lens in the same place. As you can see, not only can't the Oval (building on left) be captured with the bridge in the same image, there is over 230% more footprint captured with the full frame. The size of the area cropped is usually not mentioned, only the lens focal length crop factor (1.5). Full frame sesnors have bigger pixels menaing less noise. The also allow closer shooting of objects and headshots to give better bokeh. It would require an expensive 17mm lens to be able to capture the bigger image with an ASP-C sensor. So unless ASP-C DSLR's start coming down significantly in price, you get considerably more value out of your lenses with a full frame sensor. Of course, you could always buy a fully automated EOS film SLR on ebay for less than $50 to get the same effect.



]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) ASPC Frame Full Olympic Oval Richmond Mon, 13 Apr 2015 21:11:53 GMT
Surfing in Maui, Hawaii IMG_3574IMG_3574

Where : Ho'opkipa Beach, Maui, Hawaii

When: 16th February, 2015

Comments: This beach is better known for windsurfing. The north shore winds create big exciting waves, but they often break too fast and create too much foam, hence the preference for windsurfing. I happened to be there on the Presidents Day holiday so there were a higher number of good surfers than normal. I sat in the shade on the beach to take shots. The surfers were out about 200 meters from my camera. I used a Canon EF-L f4.0 70mm - 200 mm lens on a Canon EOS 60D (i.e. not full format). I set the ISO at 200m and the shutter speed at 1/1250 sec, then used shutter priority mode to let the aperture change to make sure the exposure was correct. I knew that I had enough shutter speed to capture most of the motion without too much blur. I knew that I would have to crop a great deal so I didn't want to go too high with the ISO to create too much noise and compromise the colour. I think I got the balance about right.



]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Beach HAwaii Hookipa Maui surfing Thu, 05 Mar 2015 22:33:05 GMT
Bokeh and compact or point & shoot cameras IMG_2290IMG_2290


What : Cowslips at Terra Nova park in Richmond

When: 14 May 2014


Comment: This image was shot with a Canon EOS 60D DSLR using an EF70-200 mm f/4L USM lens at 70 mm and f 4.0, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec. It is impossible to achieve the out focus blur or "bokeh" shown in this image with a compact camera. Good bokeh can be produced with some compact cameras but only if the main subject is less than 20 cm from the camera - hardly a versatile capability. This ability of a DSLR in fact may the the only reason left to use a DSLR for web publishing along with maybe the use of a hot shoe for flash and remote triggering. The reason that compact cameras don't produce good bokeh are as follows:

  1. Point and shoot cameras have very small sensors. The size of the camera sensor is directly related to depth of field (the area of the image that appears sharp or “in focus”) – the smaller the camera sensor, the larger/greater the depth of field. When compared to film or full-frame digital cameras, point and shoot cameras typically have sensors that are 15+ times smaller in size. Because of this, the area that appears sharp is much larger in size than what it would be on a DSLR camera, making it harder to isolate the subjects.
  2. The lenses in point and shoot cameras are not optically designed to create good-looking bokeh and are very limited in terms of minimum and maximum apertures and focal lengths. Generally, lenses in point and shoot cameras are wide-angle and have short focal lengths to cover as much of the area as possible, which puts most of the scene in focus. Cameras with optical zoom lenses typically change apertures to a larger number when you zoom in (thus increasing depth of field), making it even harder to separate the subject from the background.
  3. Most point and shoot cameras are designed to put everything into focus, so that the pictures people take do not turn out to be blurry due to focus issues. That’s why most of focusing in point and shoot cameras is automated, with face and scene recognition systems specifically designed to automatically acquire focus on the right target.

Please visit


for further information on DOF and aperture



]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) background blurred Bokeh depth distance DSLR field hyperfocal of Wed, 21 May 2014 23:33:56 GMT
Honda CX650 1984 Reprise Honda CX650 1984Honda CX650 1984

What: Honda CX650 1984

Where : "Home' studio

Comment:  I used to have a Product gallery when I posted previous CX650 blog posts. So I thoought it would be good to post this original "product" version to complement the previous blog photos



]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) CX650 Honda classic motorbike Sat, 17 May 2014 21:16:10 GMT
Winter Sunsets  


Where : Steveston Harbour, BC overlooking Vancouver Island

When : 5th December, 2013  approx 5:00PM

Comment :

Sunsets are criticized as cliche and boring. So one needs to go the extra mile to make any impression. The winter sunset is more appealing since the colour gradations are more subtle and the red is not so overwhelming. The addition of some light in the clouds and a foreground like this fishing boat hopefully make this classic sunset less cliche. A compact wasused at 200 ISO , F2.0 and 1/1600 sec apperture and shutter speed.


]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Mon, 16 Dec 2013 21:35:27 GMT
Vancouver Fashion Show 2013 IMG_0356




Where: Vancouver Fashion Show 2013 at Chinese Cultral Centre, Vancouver

When: 21st March 2013

Comment:   Photographing a fashion show is even more challenging than an ice hockey game. The overall light levels are low, but the spot lights on the models are high. A 150mm+ telephoto lens is required (more camera shake) and the models are moving most of the time. So a relatively high shutter speed is required (around 1/250 sec) and a high ISO (1600). Spot metering is required centred on the models face and the shutter speed needs to be constantly changed to match the changing light as the model moves. Fortunately the models are trained to move at a constant speed and are always in approximately  the same positions. So once one learns to pan, anticpate movement, and avoid distracting backgrounds, better shots are produced. My early ones were rubbish. But once I switched to a 70-200mm lens, and learned to pan properly, I eventually produced some half decent shots. I used Nik Dfine 2.0 to reduce the 1600 ISO noise.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Vancouver fashion noise reduction Fri, 22 Mar 2013 22:47:57 GMT
Choosing to shoot RAW, JPEG or both _MG_8220_IJFR

When: 25-Oct-2012

Where: Minoru Hockey Arena, Richmond, BC

Comment: Ever wondered what is the best format option for shooting. If you use RAW, but don't know when you might need the JPEG, then read on.

The above is a JPEG extracted from the RAW image using a piece of software called IJFR available as shareware at

It's reliable and fast (fifty RAW images in less than 20 secs on most recent computers). Its accessed by right clicking on the RAW folder where the images are stored.

Since there is a quality JPEG embedded in Canon RAW images, and is easily extracted with this software, I only shoot RAW now, and only generate JPEG's when I need to look at an image in a hurry.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) IJFR JPEG RAW Thu, 13 Dec 2012 00:37:39 GMT
Scanning prints Ansel Adams Print Scan


When: Sometime in the 1940's by Ansel Adams

Where : US Rockies

Comment: Sanning prints for private use is permitted I believe, provided some creditation is provided. However, even high quality prints can be a problem to scan because of printing techniques. Often the scan will have moire patterns that spoil the scan. Many scanners have a descreening option to eliminate this but the software leaves the image blurred. The best way  to scan is to scan in colour at the highest resolution the scanner is capable of (e.g. 1200 dpi in my case). Then use the Median Noise Filter in Photoshop with a pixel Radian of 1-3 depending on results. If needed use a small amount of Gaussian Blur as well. The above image was scanned in this manner and is only slightly less sharp than the original. The original was from a calendar sold in my local mall for $20

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Ansel Scanning Thu, 13 Dec 2012 00:24:53 GMT
Hard Running Hard Running IMG_5969


When: 9th May 2012

Where: Terra Nova, Richmond, BC

Comment: This seemed to capture the difficulty of running against a 40km/hr wind despite the sunny weather

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Wed, 09 May 2012 18:45:50 GMT
Honda CX650E - Another View Honda CX650E 1983


Where: My "Studio"

When:13th MArch 2012

Comment: I had an email from a another CX650E owner. He has just bought the bike and wondered how I had kept the bike in such good condition. It was a working bike for ten years up to 1992 - gararged at home but not at work. I then have only used in the summer and always kept in garaged. I had to have the seat recovered and I respayed the grey (you can see some spots on the photo). But I have to say the main reason it has kept its looks is that Honda did a good job with the chrome and metal with quality production.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 05 May 2012 18:14:27 GMT
Cowslips Close-up Cowslips Close-up


Where: Terra Nova, NW Richmond

When: 26th April 2012

Comment: I had the sun low in the sky on the left and a nice green, mountain and sky background. So I shot this outdoor "macro". I thought it gave a nice 3D effect but it may not appeal to some people.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Cowslips Primula Fri, 04 May 2012 16:19:33 GMT
River Green Cranes River Green Cranes


Where: North Dyke, Fraser River, Richmond

When: 26th April 2012

Comment: I took this with a 300mm telephoto at it maximum focal length from a small hill on Terra Nova. It is the only location in the area where you can capture the cranes from both developments next the Olympic Oval in the same frame. It helps to be able to frame it with the blossom trees. Cliches like "Springing Up" come to mind.



]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Fri, 04 May 2012 16:15:17 GMT
Harley Badge Harley Badge


Where: Britannia Yard, Steveston, BC

When: 18th April 2012

Comment: Harley Canada was doing a photoshoot for their magazine. They had their truck full of Harley's with some unloaded. Most of my shots didn't have very good backgrounds, so I took a few close-ups with a shallow DOF. I generally don't like Harley's as they are heavy and inefficient. But I did like the XR1200 that was on the truck but was visible through an open door. SO I shot that and put it on Machines


]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Fri, 04 May 2012 16:10:06 GMT
Grass Grass

Where - Back patio against grey dusk sky

When - 16th Sept 2010

Comment - I forgot about this fill flash "macro" shot of grass. Patterns of nature shot!

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:11:20 GMT
Blue for Two Blue for Two

Where - My "Studio"

When - 21st March 2012

Comment - I was trying to replicate the red wine shot (which used red filters on the flash) with vodka and blue filters. The result was too much blue. I also omitted to cover the wood base of the table with white and hence unwanted colour shows up in the glasses.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:07:58 GMT
Red Wine with Cheese Food with Red Wine

Where - My "Studio"

When - 20th March 2012

Comment - I was experimenting with trying to photograph food. The end result was not satisfactory (cheese looked dull) and it complicated photographing the wine. The lesson - keep it simple. I have seen food shots with wine where the food and wine are side-by-side shots (diptychs?) which makes sense since its hard to get them all in and with the right light.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Beringer cheese wine Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:05:12 GMT
Orchid with Turner Sunrise Painting Phalaenopsis Orchid Close-up


When - 16th March, 2012

Where - My "Studio"

Comment - This a close up version of the Orchid photo in the Plants Gallery. It took quite a bit of extra continuous lighting (four big cool fluorescent lights all around) plus a couple of adjustable stands to move the picture up and down. I used manual focusing using the live mode screen to make sure the correct part of the flower was in focus. The Turner picture provided a nice colour balance out of focus background.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 17 Mar 2012 15:41:19 GMT
My Classic Honda CX650E Honda CX650E IMG_5088


When - 13th March, 2012

Where - My "studio"

Comment - I tried taking full shot pictures my old Honda motorbike but I don't have a large enough and smooth enough backdrop. This the most of the bike I could crop keeping the backdrop in frame. I manage to get an interesting closely cropped shot that I put in the Machines Gallery



]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) CX650E Honda motorbike motorcycle Wed, 14 Mar 2012 19:55:14 GMT
Heron's Nest Herons nesting Richmond


Where - Terra Nova, North Richmond Dyke, BC

When - 5th Feb. 2012, 11:12 AM

Comments - It is quite rare to see three herons togther. So I assume these are young birds near their nest. Bird magazines might like the picture but it really needed a super telephot lens.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 22:21:15 GMT
Tai Chi at Richgmond Centre Tai Chi Richmond


Where - Richmond Shopping Centre, BC

When - 9th Feb., 2012 8:57AM

Comments - In winter, the Richmond Chinese community utilize the shopping centre for early morning Tai CHi. I thought the 21 Forever sign was appropriate. Unfortunately I didn't have the shutter speed high enough to compensate for my movement. I have to learn to be more pushy about taking pictures of strangers.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 22:17:16 GMT
Sunset at Seafair West Sunset Richmond


Where - West Richmond, BC

When - 2nd Feb. 2012, 5:17 PM

Comments - The colour from this sunset was so special I had to take it. However, I have been told that sunsets are considered passe by "serious" photographers

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 22:12:37 GMT
Vancouver Container Port by moonlight Vancouver Container Port Moon


Where - Vancouver Container Port from Canada Place

When - 6th Feb. 2012, 5:53PM

Comment - This is a three shot Photoshop exposure merge but somehow the tripod vibrated so there is a focus problem. o it wasn't worth messing around with Photoshop to clean up the flare from the over-exposre of the moon. I don't really like these super-imposed moons cut out from an under exposed shot. It is where I would draw the line at using Photoshop to change the content.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 22:08:22 GMT
Martooni's High Key Trumpet Martini bow tie


Where - Home "Studio"

When - 16th Feb. 2012, 3:46PM

Comments - This was my first effort at a Martini "product" theme using high key lighting. The black background worked out better.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 22:02:02 GMT
Heron on a log Heron Richmond


Where - West Richmond Dyke

When - 3rd Feb. 2012, 10:00 AM

Comments - Nice side shot to show the eye but nothing special. Catching them in flight requres too much patience.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 21:58:31 GMT
Eagle taking flight Eagle Richmond


Where - West Richmond, BC

When - 1st Feb. 2012, 3:43PM

Comments - Nearly good but wrong lens. There is significant chromatic aberration along the wings due to using a low cost, Sigma 28-300 mm telephoto lens at its maximum range. The focus is also poor and compromised by the branches. Its nice, compact lens but you get what you pay for.

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 21:55:33 GMT
Dredger in Black & White Dreger Steveston


Where - Mouth of South Arm of Fraser River, Steveston, BC

When - 1st Feb. 2012 2:06PM

Comments - The contrast from the low winter sun is best shown in B&W

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 21:50:03 GMT
Dredger Sunset Dredger Sunset Richmond Dyke


Where - Richmond, BC West Dyke

When - 7th Feb 2012, 5:25

Comments - This is a three shot Photoshop exposure merge to maximise the range ("natural" HDR) The reflection of the sunset in the water framed by the foliage is nice. It is not the most special of shots but it does show a dredger in a good light!

]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Sat, 03 Mar 2012 21:45:13 GMT
Downtown Vancouver Vancouver Olympic Winter Games

When - 6th Feb. 2012, 5:25 PM

Where - Olympic Cauldron at Poole Plaza on Thurlow.

Comments - I had hoped the night lights on Thurlow would be more prominent. I found getting the buildings all vertical next to impossible.


]]> (Richard W E Brown Photography) Games Olympic Vancouver Winter Sat, 03 Mar 2012 19:02:06 GMT