Panorama photography

Quick Digital Imaging Tip 17/101: Shoot Vertical Panos, Too

This is tip #17 of 101 digital imaging tips I plan to post here over the next few months. Stay tuned.

Today's tip (from Laos): Shoot vertical panos, too.

The world (and fun) of panos is not limited to horizontal images. Remember that you can shoot vertical panos, too. This idea comes in handy when you don't have a lens that's wide enough to capture the entire scene.

I created this pano using Photoshop's Photomerge.

Explore the light,
Rick


No Time For a Pano? Shoot Wide and Crop

Here's my favorite shot from the Mt. Rainier Aperture Nature Photography Workshop - organized by my friend Scott Bourne. I really wanted to shoot a series of 15 photos (3 exposures each of 5 views of the scene), but we only had 5 minutes at the location. No time to set up my trusty tripod. 

I still got my pano . . . by shooting wide and cropping off the top and bottom of the frame in Photoshop.  

Some ideas on this technique:
- Use the widest lens you have.
- Shoot RAW for the maximum image quality.
- Frame your scene with a pretty darn good idea of how you will crop your image.
- Make sure the horizon line is level.

This is a low-res image posted on a blog – so the color, brightness and sharpness is certainly not ideal. However, if you click on the image and zoom in, you may see nature photographer (and heck of a nice guy) Juan Pons down below. In my original, I will clone him out. Until then, check out his excellent work.
 
Explore the Light,
Rick
P.S. I boosted the color in this image with Topaz Adjust. Info on Topaz and other plug-ins @ the Plug-in Experience.



Big Pano, Small Camera


Who says you need the best digital SLR on the planet to make a great (ok, fun) pano? Sure, all those megapixels help, especially when you want to make a big print and when there is a lot of contrast in the scene.

However, if you are on a budget and only have a compact camera, you can still make cool pano for a Web site or blog - or when making a small print.

I made this pano today at Mt. Rainier with my Canon G10 during the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop. I took four images, hand-held, from left to right, overlapping each image by 1/3. I set my camera to manual exposure - which resulted in an even exposure throughout the image.

From Adobe Bridge, I selected the images and used Photomerge to create the pano.

Have some fun this fall taking some panos of fall foliage!

Explore the light,
Rick

The Magic of Photomerge


If you have not tried Photomerge in Photoshop CS4, what are you waiting for? It is much improved over earlier versions.

This top image illustrates the magic of Photomerge. When I took the series of pictures for my pano, I thought: This pano is going to look kinda strange. No way can Photomerge line up all the boards on the dock. Their angles are just way too different.

Well, to my surprise, Photomerge did a good job.

Is that pano perfect? No. You can see some imperfections in the stitching process on the dock. (I could have cloned them out.) Is it fun? Yes!

The bottom image is one of my favorite panos (HDR+ pano). The stitching process was much more successful because the foreground was further from the camera.

So that's today pano tip: try not to include a very (I added very after a comment posted here) close foreground element when shooting a pano – especially if the foreground element has strong lines.

Explore the light,
Rick