Return to Dudley

Five years ago, I photographed a Boston-based basketball tournament.  During some down time, I did some personal photography around the neighborhood, and in those moments I found a beautiful mural featuring Boston’s Dudley neighborhood.

I took some panoramic pictures, stitched them together, and blogged about the moment.

Here’s the original picture from 2011.

Faces of Dudley mural, Boston, Mass.
Faces of Dudley mural. Nikon D700 camera, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens, 18 images combined in panoramic capture. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Five years ago, I took this picture.  And in the blog post, I made this statement.

The photo turned out okay … But it’s still got that “fun-house” distortion to it, and at some point I have to find a freeware program that can help me stretch the picture to a proper rectangular aspect.  Plus, I should have shot this on a cloudy day; the mural is too bright at the left and too shadowy on the right.

Five years ago.

Flash forward to today.  My stat-metrics program that monitors my Times Union blog has noticed an uptick in readers that are visiting this old post.  For what reason?  I have no idea.

But the visit actually inspired me to go back to my original photos from 2011, and find a way to do what I could not do back then – to create a rapid rectangular shot of the “Faces of Dudley” memorial.

And the best way to achieve this?  YouTube tutorial clips from people who have not only figured out what I need to do … but who are kind enough to show, step by step, their actions and results.

Okay.  Pictures loaded.  Combined.  Adjusted.  Wait, there’s a thing in PhotoShop CS6 called Adaptive Wide Angle?  And all I need to do is draw the lines in that filter, tell the lines they must be horizontal or vertical… and the program does the work?

Holy T-Square, Batman…

Okay.  Let’s see what happens.  You’ve seen the picture above…

Now here’s today’s result.

Faces of Dudley Mural
Faces of Dudley mural, stretched. Photo by Chuck Miller.


Hokey smokes.  It freakin’ worked.

The photo doesn’t look like a half-warped funhouse mirror.  You can see all the people in the picture.

Okay, you also see some diagonal frame lines in the picture, and the contrast is still a bit wonky…

Let’s see if I can fix that.  I went back this time to the original stitched panorama photo, which thanks to the original freeware program, blended all the sky blues into one flowing azure.

If I can do this once… I can do it again.

Okay… here we go.

Dudley Panorama 2.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Dudley Panorama 2. Photo by Chuck Miller.

There we go…

Again, I now understand that if I go back to Boston at some point, and wait for a nice cloudy day, and set up my more powerful Nikon Df at that intersection, and I apply more patience…

At least at that point I know that the final product can be stretched and constricted and modified to more aesthetic visual dimensions.

Oh yeah, one more thing.

Even if I made this image completely perfect, there’s no way I would ever enter it in competition.  Not because of the quality of the picture, mind you – yeah, this image may be squared off, but it still has some other issues attached to it –

Even if it was perfect, I still couldn’t enter it.  It’s a beautiful and inspiring mural, but it’s also the work of another person.  And the focal point of the picture is the artwork itself.  I could not enter that photo in competition and say it was mine any more than I could enter a photo I took of the Mona Lisa and say that THAT picture was mine.

I couldn’t enter it … but I can use it as an experiment so that when I DO have a photo that needs to be “aligned” properly…

I can do it.  And it’s nice to have those options available.

Just another step forward.

See?  I did say that mural was an inspiring artwork.

I just didn’t say HOW it would inspire me. 😀