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    Part 14 - the (close) Encounters Project

    Part 14 - the (close) Encounters Project

    About the ( close ) Encounters project

    This is a ongoing project that started about 2009 and is called the ( close ) Encounters.

    The HDRI ( 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 HDRI portret 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.

    Tip: you can see on the right the TAG's that makes it easier to navigate between the topics.

    *) this is a non - commercial project

    ( close ) Encounters project - Part 14 - Rakker, Cor & Bob

    For those who not like to read a lot, lets go first to a tonemapped version of the HDRI Panorama!

    Attention: a new browser page will be openend if nothing happens please check your popup blocker

    Here you can see a VR (360°) version of the panorama.

    Below you can see the full spherical panorama plus extra close up & 3D version.



    Will introduce the creatures on the panorama ( from left to right )

    Rakker – Cor's dog
    Cor Bal - his public Facebook page about Scheveningen: Scheveningen strand voor dag en dauw
    Bob Groothuis - the guy behind this website

    How it started

    Not sure when met Cor for the first time guess its 1,5 year ago. During a shoot of the Dutch Skies 360° HDRI project saw a man shooting a lot of images. He's easy recognizable from a distance due to his "glowing" red Unox hand gloves.

    Cor is shooting every day at Scheveningen and post this beautiful images on his (public) Facebook page: Scheveningen strand voor dag en dauw. Others contributors post also images. Nice thing to mention is that there are people who were born in Scheveningen and now living all over the planet still can see fresh captured images of their home town by visiting his face book page. You can check out his (group) Facebook page here: Scheveningen strand voor dag en dauw.

    Right after we met we had a kind off “click” together Wonderfull! We have a lot of fun during the recordings.

    We both are annoyed when there are people trespassing our studio.....“%^&%$ off” *) (even more when people refuse to say something back when you say “good morning”). Besides that we not inferring each-other while shooting we both are very focused. When the weather conditions are not ideal we shout “we want the money back from our ticket!”
    And nice think to mention is that Cor also goes to sleep very early in the evening and wakeup early hurry to get to the studio.

    *) just a joke between the two off us we do not do shout it off course.

    Below some photos of Cor busy in his natural habitat.


    Cor Bal in his natural Habitat

    Cor’s gloves

    One extra note regarding Cor’s Unox hand gloves.

    From a long distance you can see its Cor due to his Unox Hand gloves .

    Even now (in May ) it can be pretty cold early in the morning at 05:00, specially when you have to operate a camera.

    A few weeks ago Cor’s lost one of his gloves (the right one). After hearing it thought it would be a good idea to contact Unox client service ( Unox is a Unilever Brand) and ask if they could mis a new pair of gloves ( Cor is a interactive walking advertisement for Unox, with that in mind guessed its a easy gesture from Unox to send him a new pair). Originally filled in the customer service fields on a Mac but after pushing the send button nothing happens. A few days later did the same on a Windows computer and now got a conformation. Then about one day later got a mail from Unox:
    “Dear Bob, Thank you for sharing your experience with us about Unox Brand We would like to know how you have experienced our services. Would you like to answer some questions for us by clicking on the link below? Thank you! LINK TO SURVEY (removed it)Sincerely Consumer Service Unox”

    Well thats weird they never reacted at all to my first question! Anyway filled in the survey a week ago but not got a reaction. Think somethings wrong with their contact page and survey system most likely Unox customer service never got my question.

    Guess this is a nogo but hope Unox reads this too and decides to send Cor a new pair off gloves and not send a lawyer to me for demanding to remove this from this website, so please contact me first through the contact form on the bottom of the FAQ page its not my intension to cause troubles )


    Day of the shoot.

    On a very windy 2 november 2018 went again early the morning to shoot a new Dutch Skies 360° HDRI sky. Off course Cor was also there. 

    We captured a really beautiful sunrise with a very power full low yellow sun.

    Cor was planning to go home suddenly spontaneously came up with the idea of shooting a HDRI Panorama portret of the 3 off us.

    Also shot a extra clean 360° HDRI plate (so without us) and thought it would save me a lot of time in production.......


    Technical- used tools

    The following tools were used to create this final HDRI Panorama portret


    Nikon D800 camera
    Nikon 16 mm lens
    360° precision panorama head


    X-Rite ColorChecker Passport


    Nikon ViewNX 2
    Adobe Lightroom 5
    X-Rite ColorChecker Camera Calibration 2
    PTGUI Pro 11.13
    Photomatix 6
    HDR Expose 3
    Adobe Photoshop CS4 11.0
    Affinity Photo 1.6.7
    KRPano 1.19


    Technical- workflow notes

    To keep this article readable not going to deep into details how it is actually made.

    Had to start several times all over. Had big troubles with deghosting source images, mostly caused by the strong wind (we moved too too much). Photomatix was not capable fixing that, but HDRExpose 3 had a very powerful deghosting option.

    Like most of the times make combinations of HDR’s from Photomatix & HDRE Expose 3.

    Had to retouche a lot too.

    Below a before and after version of the 12k HDRI. 

    Took me about 2 days ***) to finish the HDRI and prepare the tonemapped versions for JP ( more info please see the Color correction (before & after) below.


     HDRI - Before & Aftere

    Color correction (before & after)

    Now time for finishing it with a very important last part: color correction

    Skin colours are way to complicated for me as much other details luckily my friend JP vd Burg is a expert in it. For years he helped me out with such art work ( not sure if art work is the correct meaning for me it means it in the context of JP’s work).

    It works like this more or less:

    Making a base tone mapping what direction the overall look should get (and how it more or less looked like during the original shoot so a kind of color memorising the scene. Then create a extra “beauty pass” render of a middle exposure then JP can do his magic.

    The trouble zone are the skin color and also the Cor’s glove, and my left hand and several other details.

    Below you can see the tonemapped version + extra middle exposure render + the final corrected versions as you can see at the top of this page here.

    Color correction

    And a close up of the faces so can see it better.

     Before - After


    We never have to communicate a lot it goes automatically with a few words. 

    Wow like always fantastic work JP thanks!

    Thats it! Its not know yet what the subject next “the (close) Encounters Project - Part 15 “ will be. This will most likely like most times come as a unexpected  surprise/situation.

    ***) well in fact worked on this HDRI portret for more then 7 days (started all over - 3 times) on the HDRI and the writing of this article, better not mention this in the article above otherwise you might thing “He’s not a professional when he’s working for so long on this project!”