About the ( close ) Encounters project
This is a ongoing *) project that started about 2009 and is called the ( close ) Encounters.
The HDR ( High Dynamic Range images ) panorama portrait panorama’s are made out of 63 pictures (minimal 9 exposures per angle, 7 angles so 63 images are used to make a HDR portrait panorama.
That makes taking the image with some thrill — it could be ruined due to the fact that if the people are moving the portrait could fail. That idea makes it fascinating for me to do it, Its always exiting to shoot. Warn the "customers" *) in advance: “we will see in the final image who moved, so do not dare to move!” Until now ( almost ) everyone has listened very good in the portrait shoots from the last years.
More background about this project please see here.
*) this is a non - commercial project
( close ) Encounters project - Part 16 - Pieter Fruining
Made 2 HDR Panorama's
First just show a tonemapped version of the HDR panorama. Below those you can find some more info how this project started and other technical background notes plus additional images.
when clicking on view 360°/VR another browser window opens so if nothing happens check the Block Popup window.
when clicking on view 360°/VR another browser window opens so if nothing happens check the Block Popup window.
Extra images (only one exposure each)
How it started
Because not having a car always do my shoppings by walking. One day ( early November 2019 ) was passing a house that took my attention, it had a printed page mounted on the window. It took a couple of weeks ( guess its to build up he curiosity level not sure how that works in the “upperroom” ) before deciding to have a closer look on what's written on it on 21 November 2019.
Please see below :
You can see the Dutch Cardia article here online. Due to type of publication - kind of embedded pdf - cannot give a Google translation plus the copyrights simply not allow it. No big deal most parts will be covered below.
Immediately after reading it though ‘well that’s a very interesting man!” perhaps he likes the idea of being the “subject” of a new HDR Panorama portrait. Later that week tried to rang his doorbell *) but unfortunately the door stayed closed.
Next tried to contact the elder home ( because they arranged the article ) on the other side of the street to get in touch with him. They for sure must know him due to the article in their magazine.
Pretty quickly got a reaction and they mentioned that they would forward my mail to him with a extra note that it would be up to him if he reacts ( logically you cannot force anyone , besides that its a privacy issue to ). Waited a while and still no reaction.
To be honest like it when its not going so easy……… so then decided to write old fashion letter and sended a example HDR portrait photo-print (A4) of Tim Jenison and crew so he could see what kind of work I made it the past and what he could expect when he would be the “subject” of a new HDR Panorama portrait. Delivered the letter plus the photo-print in his mailbox at his home.
Within a a couple of days got a reaction:
"What's so interesting about me is that you have so much trouble to do in order for me to contact me ? " What's in it for you if I say yes. What will you do with the material? Depending on your reply, I will have to make a decision.
Very good questions off course, and to be honest I would be kind of suspicious too when someone would contact me and tell they give me a free photo without any demands.
Already mentioned in the letter to him the idea about the HDR Panorama portrait series. Please see here for more info.
So sended a mail back with the information and soon after that invited him in my house to explain it some more to him and to getting to know each-other some more.
The day he visited it was quickly clear that we have a great connection so that's a great start for this new HDR Panorama portrait.
He talked about his past & the current time. Below you can read about his interesting life:
Pieter was born in 1938 in Den Haag/ the Hague. His father was forced to work in Germany in the second world-war so Pieter lived with his sister Dini and mother. During the horrible hungerwinter 1944/1945 his mother went walking from The Den Haag/ the Hague to Zeeland to get food ( a HUGE distance ) . On the way back she was robbed by the German soldiers just before she arrived back in Den Haag/ the Hague. Thanks to foodstamps and a very good doctor they all survived. After the war Pieter’s father came back he did not recognize his father anymore. This is only a very brief overview of Pieter's early youth but this has a very big impact to the rest of his life.
When he was about 23 he went to Art School in the Den Haag/ the Hague to study Ad Design. After two years he had enough of it, and quited, finding it too "childish" and went on with his life.
Funny detail: with 10 other art students they decided that real artists should have beards so each put 100 Dutch Guilder - alot of money in 1961/1962 - in a box and they made a bet: the one who had the beard for the longest period would earn the 1000 Guilder. One by one got rid of the beard so Pieter won the 1000 Guilder. And as you can see he still has the beard.
After Art School he had lots of different jobs like for example Ad signs and the last company he worked for was Fokker . He started at Fokker to refilling the coffee machines, after a while he also repaired the machines ( it saved the company money normally they needed to hire a repairman ). Next he started in Fokker’s postal office after a while he became the manager. Later he went to the blue print department and became the manager of that department.
Since 1986 he was singing in the Ural Cossacks Choir and recieved ( with proud ) a medal of honor. Never to old to learn always thought the Ural Cossacks Choir originally came from the Ural and did their tour through Europa every year haha!
Pieter also liked ( still likes it but walking goes a bit more difficult these days ) walking alot when you see all the medals hanging on the wall in the first panorama.
He started a family with his wife Anneke. They got two daughter's , unfortunately their first child - son - died only a couple of hours after been born. His oldest daughter also passed a away. His second wife Selma died of bone cancer 17 years ago. He is still missing her and thinks of her every day. They were a very close couple and not need to talk much they understood each-other perfectly without words. Pieter mentioned that there was 1 day in his live he had a son and 2 daughters. Later he got married for a third time only they divorced after a couple of years.
Due to such dramatic events ( plus the Second World War as mentioned above ) he started to feel sometimes lonely **), luckily he has much support from his sister Dini. Pieter started with writing about the war ( he has a active memory of his childhood ) and that worked as a kind of therapy for him.
He decided to write a book and that became a book series that is called ( Grandpa ) Opa. Number 32 is just released and Pieter is already working on number 33. Yes he’s pretty productive!
Some of the books are about his life and some are collections of things he finds interesting ( or a combination ). The books are printed in Limited Editions and he asks no money for it so he gives the books to people he knows they like it.
Next to the Grandpa book series a special Song book called 'Eighty songs by an 80-year-old' with old long forgotten songs was published. When correct this book is available for 7 Euro so this differs from the ( Grandpa ) Opa book series those are published for free only for a small group of people. Pieter does not want to make money with his books, really like that.
He also had a huge collection of photo cameras plus a real cinema film projector and gave those away to a museum & had Messersmitt KR200 and got rit of it due to a water leak in the cabine.
Back to our first meeting:
So the conversations broke the ice for a HDR Panorama recording. Not much later made a appointment at his home wanted to have a look first to see what location in his home was the best recording place.
On 16 January 2020 visited Pieter at his home for the second meeting. Instinctively took the camera equipment, had already the idea to to do the HDR Panorama recording that day ( the weather was perfect blues sky and almost no clouds so that would be beneficial for indoor recording too ).
Again our contact is really great , we both share some kind of humor . We have also lost of things in common!
For example during the chats noticed we have the same kind of drive to work on projects. Sometimes its not working smoothy just quit, do something else and then later start again et voila now it works. Same thing regarding curiosity. When something is interesting and you not know anything about it lets research it!
A interesting thing happend just before our second meeting: Pieter was looking for something in his papers and suddenly his Art school graduation paper felt out of a pile of papers. He did not seen it since a long time! ***)
Originally planned one recording, after investigating his house decided to do two recordings. The recording of both panorama's went smoothly. The positioning of the camera for the second panorama was carefully chosen so you can see Pieter's wife photo twice.
It took a long time before both panorama's were finished ( more about that later ) meanwhile we kept contact by e-mail met each-other again a couple of times.
Gave him - as promised - some prints of the photo's were Pieter is holding the color cards and some A4 prints of the panorama's. He was flabbergasted and super happy to get those. He mentioned not had expected something like that. Well that's always good to hear :),
Just before launching this article sended the concept text of this page ( except the technical part ) for review & permission for publication. Luckily he was ok with it there were only a few things that needed to be altered.
So we continue to meet each-other. For sure will hear much more adventures he experienced & still experiencing in his life looking forward to hear those too!
*) the attempts were at about 08:15 later it came clear that he likes to sleep to about 10:00 so that's was the reason he did not open his door so early :)
**) think that in Western “culture/ civilization” loneliness is occurring more often. The way elderly people are treated is sometimes pretty shameful specially last years and the Corana virus made it even worse. Spotted a while ago a nice article about a great initiative by a Dutch man long ago you can read about it here in English or the original article here in Dutch. If you want to a read a English version just copy paste the Dutch link into Google Translate here.
***) Other thing did also a attempt to study at art school in the Den Haag/ the Hague and left pretty quickly. Cannot be forced being creative thats a nogo to me. Plans/ concepts/ idea's etc needs to popup on a natural way - in a kind of vacuum of freedom - without boundaries then everything is possible.
Update 11 September 2020 :
Got a super enthusiastic mail from Pieter mentioning that he received 2 canvas prints from the company that printed all his books: Schulten Print at Zoetermeer.
Wanted to see the prints with my own eyes and indeed the prints looking fantastic. Also shot a quick image with the mobile phone please see below.
Technical- workflow notes
The following tools were used to create this final HDRI Panorama portrait
ps If you might wonder what's tonemapping? Please see here.
To keep this article readable not going to deep into details how it is actually made. Recording the source files for these HDR Panorama's is about 1 minute each. Processing the raw files and color correcting/ retouche is a much more time consuming process. Other reason that there can be several months between - in this case even 7 months - the recording and the posting here on this website: its a fun project and has to be done in the spare time.
Every angle is recorded with bracketing in RAW ( 9 Exposures with EV differences of 1 ) with a Nikon D800 + 16 mm Nikor lens. Also with this HDR Panorama portrait took another route then standard do when generating sky HDR's. Instead of generating first the HDR of every angle choose for rendering 360° images of every exposure. Also made some extra exposures from the darkest and brightest RAW file and exported those also as 16 bit tif. With desperate exposure renders have some more flexibility with color correcting / retouch to get a more natural looking end-result. Below you see all exposures of both recordings .
First generated a HDR from the 12 exposures of both panorama’s. Then tonemap it as natural as possible. Some parts can be finetuned with a middle exposure ( or whatever exposure that might help ). That's why choose for such HDR Panorama portraits for having separated exposure renders of the whole panorama. It gives more flexibility in the retouch fase and can be helpful giving it a bit extra natural look. This differs from my workflow normally used for the the Dutch Skies 360° HDR project : then the source file is a final retouched HDR panorama without separate exposure renders.
This time a issue arrived with the first panorama. The sky and the overall light conditions outside the window are not very good. Tried a lot of different ways the end-result still looked very ugly & unnatural.
So after hours of struggling decided the standard tonemapping route was not going to work ( also correcting it with a middle exposure render would not work either it still looks kind of "dull" ).
After some brain-waving came to the conclusion that I really like the middle exposure the most where the outside looks like a kind of "lightbox".
The Lightbox idea his reminded to the nice Disney/Pixar's movie Up it has some nice similarities with Pieter in some way : he's sitting in the same kind of room plus he could be floating in the air with his house so you are looking at the clouds!
The images below shows the situation and the final "lightbox" version of the window zone.
Sended a 16 bit tif tonemap + 16 bit middle exposure render to Peter so he could do his color correcting magic.
Next was panorama 2, this one is much more difficult to retouch & color correct ( more about that below ).
First sended also 16 bit tif tonemap and the 16 bit middle exposure render to Peter so he could start with his work.
Color Correcting & Retouche
Now Peter's expertise is going to shine. Like always every images needs its own special approach a "one push on the button correct everything " does not exist for such kind of work.
The base tonemap of the first panorama had already a good starting point for the color correcting ( no extra retouche was needed ). So Peter mixed the 16 bit middle exposure with the 16 bit tonemap so its colors looked perfectly balanced and correct.
The second panorama took much more time to get the final end result lots of issues compared with the first panorama with than one, below some Before and After images thats shows the result op Peter's work ( he made much more corrections then those ).
Due to the "heat" of a HDR Panorama portrait recording I'm too excited to think about the bottom part. Well to be more precise think about it and quickly another voice in the head says "lets fix it in post". And when start with the final production ALWAYS regret that. May-bee its caused by a kind of masochism ;).
After stitching the whole panorama you always have the tripod plus a part op the panorama head visible. In this case the bottom retouch is done with the final color corrected / retouched 8 bit tif versions that Peter made. Retouching both bottom parts took a long time to solve. Not that good in such retouch jobs ( specially when there are wooden pattern floors ). The end results are not that bad, you can see it in both VR's as shown above.
The time between the recording of both panorama’s and this publication is more then 6,5 months. It takes lots of time have to do it in spare time next to “standard” projects. Also Peter’s work (color correction / extra retouch ) is time consuming next to hat he has very little time to work on that part. It does not matter at all there is no time schedule, prefer it like this.
Many thanks to Pieter Fruining for this wonderful adventure and the allowance of taking the HDR Pano portraits and the publishing of this article. Also big thanks to Peter who did his super color correction and retouch work again. He created exact the images I had in mind! Plus thanks to the elderly home De Thuishaven for putting me in contact with Pieter.
Last update 28 August 2020:
Next HDR panorama portrait adventure is not known yet. For sure there will popup a new one somewhere in the future. Perhaps will publish some older ones that are at the moment not yet online. Completely depending on how other - more important - projects need some attention first.
Other Editions ( close ) Encounters
Due to the lack of time could only publish 6 ( close ) Encounters Parts: 1, 3, 10, 14, 15 & 16. The rest will appear later.
( close ) Encounters Part 1
( close ) Encounters Part 2
( close ) Encounters Part 3
( close ) Encounters Part 4
( close ) Encounters Part 5
( close ) Encounters Part 6
( close ) Encounters Part 7
( close ) Encounters Part 8
( close ) Encounters Part 9
( close ) Encounters Part 10
( close ) Encounters Part 11
( close ) Encounters Part 12
( close ) Encounters Part 13
( close ) Encounters Part 14
( close ) Encounters Part 15
( close ) Encounters Part 16
More background about this project please see here.