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Author Topic: Shooting through skyscraper glass  (Read 3679 times)

trevarthan

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Shooting through skyscraper glass
« on: October 24, 2014, 11:35:33 am »

I shot this last night on a business trip:


Atlanta from the Sundial by Trevarthan, on Flickr

I'm thoroughly dissatisfied with this photo for a large number of reasons, but I did succeed in reducing the reflections from the window and the lights in the room dramatically (not entirely).

Before shooting this, I fabricated a giant lens hood (24mm has a huge field of view! I don't recommend construction paper for this. It's very difficult to get the hood angle large enough.) out of construction paper and taped it to my camera body, around my lens, then pressed the hood against the glass to get as much of a light tight fit as I could. There was only about an inch between the lens front element and the glass this way (probably less at the top and more at the bottom as my composition required tilting the camera down a bit). This removed the vast majority of reflections. There must not have been a perfect seal though because I still see a few reflections near the lower corners. That's fine. A better hood will take care of that problem. The lights were on behind, above, beside, and below me, so I was pretty much screwed. I asked if they ever turn them off and the answer was "nope, not even when we're closed".

I did try buying a rubber lens hood at a local photography shop before fabricating my own, but the only store that carried them had very shallow hoods that wouldn't have helped much. I was kicking myself for not thinking of this problem before the trip.

I also used a polarizer to reduce the reflections further.

I mean, I know this photo has a lot of problems, but the thing that bugs me the most is the weird halo around the largest skyscraper's top light. I'm not sure what's causing that. I don't think it's a reflection from the room. Is it the light from the skyscraper bouncing around inside the two panes of glass and causing reflections? Or is it something else?

The other weird thing I notice is the slash of light coming off the skyscraper to the left of the one with the orange triangle top. Is that coma?

I think I know the answer, but I might as well ask. Is there a technique to remove things like this in post? Seems like that would be difficult.

I'll definitely be buying a large flexible rubber hood or bellows soon, so I have it on my next trip. This kind of shot is really interesting to me, personally, but it's also clearly very challenging. Any suggestions besides "give up and go home" are welcome. :)
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 11:53:11 am by trevarthan »
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synn

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2014, 12:00:07 pm »

You can't fix window glass that's dirty on the outside. Which is what probably happened here.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2014, 05:19:07 pm »

Welcome to Atlanta. The problem is dirty window glass compounded by the fact that  you are shooting through  double paned windows so you've got multiple reflections happening before the incoming photons  enter your filter/lens/camera.
.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2014, 06:53:29 pm »

jrsforums

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2014, 07:20:37 pm »

The only solution is this:

http://www.glass-tool.com/class.asp?Class_NameEN=Circle%20Cutter

Cheers,
Bernard

Yes, but double pane glass is a pain. 😄😄
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John

trevarthan

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2014, 01:47:48 pm »

You can't fix window glass that's dirty on the outside. Which is what probably happened here.

I suppose I can come back after a window cleaning.
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trevarthan

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 03:08:46 pm »

Managed to eek a bit more quality out of the image in post. It's passable now, I think, but I definitely want a bellows or something for next time. At least now I know what I need. Trial and error.


Atlanta from the Sundial by Trevarthan, on Flickr
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 11:53:52 am by trevarthan »
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synn

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 09:24:39 pm »

I occasionally have to shoot through glass. This is my method.

Check the area of glass you plan to shoot through in daylight for any marks / dirt / scratches.
Don't use any filters.
Have the lens touching the glass.
Hang a large 6 foot (2m) square piece of black velvet from 2 glass vacuum clamps above and over the camera and lens.
Open the lens up as much as possible.


Yep, this works almost all the time. Got one of my favorite cityscapes that way.

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trevarthan

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2014, 11:52:18 am »

I just got this guy. Pretty excited about this. Won't block reflections so much as ensure the black cloth stays out of my wide angle lens's field of view as I angle the camera. My home-made construction paper hood kept vignetting. This one has quite a bit of movement before vignetting at 24mm, which is as wide as I go, usually.



Ordered a right angle bracket for my tripod head too, so I don't have to reverse the mounting bracket and lose most of my movement.

Intend to find some vacuum clamps next. Which ones do you recommend?
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trevarthan

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 02:59:51 pm »

Picked up an identical pair at Harbor Freight for $6.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 10:41:14 am »

I just got this guy. Pretty excited about this. Won't block reflections so much as ensure the black cloth stays out of my wide angle lens's field of view as I angle the camera. My home-made construction paper hood kept vignetting. This one has quite a bit of movement before vignetting at 24mm, which is as wide as I go, usually.



Ordered a right angle bracket for my tripod head too, so I don't have to reverse the mounting bracket and lose most of my movement.

Intend to find some vacuum clamps next. Which ones do you recommend?

I have been using one of these for about 15-20 years: http://www.msegrip.com/product/camera-support/vacuum-cups/6-pump-cup-studs.html

...and i use a small tripod head head like a Really Right Stuff BH-40.

I don't use it very often but it still works. Largest camera I have used it with was an F4 or F5. Mostly I use it for holding lights in places I cannot use a stand a Cardellini clamp or a Superclamp.
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shadowblade

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Re: Shooting through skyscraper glass
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2014, 02:42:36 am »

You could potentially improve it by using a polarising filter to cut out reflections frm the window glass, as well as shooting at a wider aperture to blur out any dirt on the outside of the glass (everything else should still be in focus, since it's far away).
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