Think James, Think Photography
Something different for todays post I think.
I remember seeing adverts for Sky HD channels that involve a very slow moving person. Almost too slow to be real. Well like most good things are I found out that they weren’t real. Infact it’s something called the parallax effect (recently been made famous by ios7 and its fancy backgrounds. In this case the parallax effect is where you take a still image and turn it into a slow moving, layered video that looks HD.
This is the photo that I worked on to start with:
In order to create a parallax you first have to separate the foreground (elephant) and background elements (tree and landscape). This involves a lot of cloning backgrounds, thank you content aware fill!, and neatening up edges. For this image I cut out the elephant, tree and landscape in photoshop and put them onto different layers. Using some trickery in Adobe’s After Effects, I created a camera and animated the layers as 3D objects. This is my final result below.
As the world now is moving to the wonders of 4k resolution, that is what I edited it as. as it turns out my D700 takes photos in a higher resolution then good old 4k so its easy to scale down for me. well thats if my computer doesn’t give up and start steaming while it exports the video.
I also created another easier parallax. I think I like it better as its simpler but you can be the judge.
Remember remember, the 5th of Novemb…… wait you might be thinking. This is no firework photo. I thought I would be different from every other British photographer today and not post a firework photo. Saying that, I’m writing this post a few days in advance so for all I know everyone else may of had the same idea as me. Therefore we all have not posted any firework pictures, all failing to be patriotic if you can call it that.
For anyone not in the UK or anyone who has no idea what I am on about, look up Guy Fawkes night anywhere on trusted google. Its a long story that I cant be bothered to tell. Someones dies the end.
Yes its a happy story I know. Anyway…. back to London from all of my Kenyan photos. Its been a while since I’ve posted one. This was taken a while back in Canary Wharf. This is quite a popular spot for photographers and the neatly cut shaped bushes make for a great foreground with the glass skyscraper behind. I tried to get this as symmetrical as possible; hindered by the use of a tripod , I took this handheld and think i got it basically spot on.
There are reasons why we go to Kenya. No its not for a holiday although that would be ideal. We go out there to help people. We didn’t know who these people were when were were walking around the outskirts of kimilili but this little lady took a liking to Jess. They must of been coming or going to a market as they were carrying items on their head. Thats how most people imagine Kenya and to be honest there was a lot of it. I held one and they were bloody heavy! They must have very strong necks. I mean seriously strong. They carry the stuff for miles.
I never found out the name of that child. She’s very photogenic though.
The Maasai Mara is such a huge place that at first thought you are lucky to see any animals at all After your what seems like 1 millionth wildebeest photo you start to get fed up until something huge comes your way. In this case we were looking at some zebra (again) and out of the corner of my eye I spotted this huge fella (it could be a girl… I’m not a vet). After shouting “ELEPHANT!!!!” its no wonder that he didn’t leg it away but we drove as close as we could.
They are great close up and there ended up being a group of them. My camera shutter has never moved so fast. It’s hard editing down photos like this as they are all so similar yet all so good. Plus you take so many. I think I had about 1500 of the safari alone.
With everything that has been happening in Kenya recently, my mind has been thinking about the experiences I had there a lot. I especially remember reading about a couple who were working in kenya for charities. They made their way to Nairobi for the better health care for her to give birth. All three of them died in the terrible attack that has just happened. I’m not sure what the hospital was like in Nairobi but the one in Kimilili were dong a great job with what little resources they had.
This is the maternity ward of that hospital. It’s dark and dreary but patents are well looked after. Bed clothes seem not to be washed between patients. Later on in the trip there were 2 women to some beds. Its just the lack of resources and cleanliness that lets the system down. The doctors and nurses do an amazing job there.
You expect to see some amazing things in Kenya but for every stunning memory there are equally bad ones. We spent some of our time in one of the hospitals in Kimilili, trying to work out what project they needed doing and in what way we can help out. The first time we went there we were taken on a tour of the wards. The whole of the children’s ward was about the size of 3 NHS cubicles and I think it had about 11 beds in it.
Strangely while we were there most of the new arrivals were burns victims. All the open stoves and water are a huge hazard. This girl came in with huge burns on her back. We caught up with her quite late in the recovery where she was a little happier. We spent ages taking to the mother who told us their story. We also found out from her that 70% of children in that ward had malaria. Not surprising considering that they do not take malaria tablets.
Welcome back to Kenya. Well I say back; we never really left. About a 2 hours walk from Kimilili lies a place Kenyans call ‘The Rock of the Stars’. Its an incredibly high rock that is balanced on a ledge in the landscape. A few of us took the trip up there dodging the heights that came with it. I am not a height person. In fact I am probably the worst when it comes to such things. So much so that I had trouble climbing a tower in Nairobi. I’ll tell you that story another time. About 10 of us climbed this rock, and looking back on it, it was so dangerous. We climbed the rock with no ropes which was not the best idea. We nearly lost a bag when it flew over the edge.
We all had sturdy walking boots on but the locals were doing the trek in nothing more then flip flops. Crazy really. This boy was up top when we got there just relaxing, looking at the view. I know… it’s more green then I would of thought too.
When we first got to Kenya we spent the first few mornings introducing ourselves to the students at all of the schools. The whole schools came running out for the presentation, lining up for what we would call an assembly. It was always early morning and our not so fresh faces selves were so nervous and presenting a small bit about each of us.We stood in the centre of this circle with the whole of the girls RC Primary all eagle eyed and ears ready for the listening. I hope even a part of what I said stayed with them. I know the experience will always be with me.
This was one of the times where you know how you are going to process it instantly. Like many of my Kenyan images that I have processed so far, I did not do my normal HDR processing. As I took so many I have developed a Lightroom HDR preset that I am very happy with. I applied it to all 1000 photos that I have selected and for a general Facebook upload they look good. Of course for other photos I will edit them inn my normal, long winded way. Others I will just process in Lightroom with more detail like I did this one.
The end of our time in Kenya we were all emotionally drained. We had seen so much and were in desperate need of some R & R. We travelled all the way from Kimilili in the North West of Kenya all the way down to the Maasai Mara on the southern tip. I will tell you all about this very long journey filled with bumpy roads and hotels that you wouldn’t of thought was possible, at another point. Thats not meant for this time of day.
When you picture Kenya and the Maasai Mara, well when I used to picture that, you always have a dry landscape with a lone Acacia tree as the subject. I took many photos like this. It actually a thing of a theme of the trip as I jokingly made everyone take a one tree photo. If a photo didn’t have one tree in then it wasn’t worth taking.
Hi… yes I know its been a while but I promise its been worth while. As you can see by the title of todays post, I have been in Africa on a charity mission to Kenya. I went to Kimilili in Bungoma county to help teach, build and generally help the area develop. I have been a part of a charity called C.H.E.C.K. (Community Health and Education for the Children of Kimilili) for a while and got the chance to visit this amazing place.
I have so many stories that I want to share with you and oh so many photos. In fact I took 6000 while I was out there so prepare for an influx!
All I will say at the moment is that these children are awe inspiring and prepare to see a lot of them!