Sunday, May 29, 2011


A Personal Experience
I want to state up front that I am not a guru at shooting panoramas.  What I want to share with you in this post is my personal experience of the few times I attempted this method of capturing a panoramic vista.  Go on line and you can obtain information far greater than what I have posted here.  Looking back I see several errors that I should have and could have corrected.  But that is the beauty of photography you can always try again.

This is one of my first attempts at creating a Panorama.  It was taken atop Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains looking east.  It doesn't show well because of the restricted height.  It consisted of five separate shots.  The dimensions on this picture are 60 X 14 inches. Normally shooting horizontal will give a greater width, however, due to the height restrictions a lot of the length was cropped out.  I used a Canon 7D with a Tokina  Pro 16-50mm.  Since the 7D is a cropped camera I had the lens wide open in order to give me a 24mm wide angle.  When taking panoramas it is important to have your tripod level.  I used a leveling plate from Really Right Stuff, the MPR-CL II with integral clap, and a Panning Clamp.  I shot in manual mode at f/16 for depth of field with a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second.  My ISO was 200.  I was shooting in raw so I left the white balance set to auto.  It was around 4:00PM and there was a storm moving in behind us or west of us making for these dynamite clouds.  I stitched the pictures together using Photoshop CS5 and saved as a tiff file so that I could go back and make the final processing adjustments.  Note the original frames were all shot with the camera in horizontal or landscape position.  Pros: three pictures can get you a respectable panorama.  Cons: you restrict the overall height of your panorama.  There is software out there that will allow you to take six shots overlapping from left to right and top to bottom which will allow you to create a final panorama with much greater height and width.

Another option is to shot in vertical or portrait position.  Pros:  height will be larger.  Cons: you will need to take more overlapping picture in order to get the width that is created in horizontal mode. 
The following is a panorama of the Teton Mountains taken in 2011. 

This panorama was shot with the camera in vertical (portrait) position.  It consists of five individual frames merged together in Photoshop.  In addition, the individual frames were shot in 3-bracket sets with each set being merged together prior to processing as a panorama.  There were a total of 15 shots taken to create this panorama. Originally this consisted of 7 individual 3-set brackets but I did not overlap set 6 enough to enable Photoshop to include it in the final merge. Had I been successful this would have consisted of 21 separate shots.   I used a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 24-70mm lens with a focal length set to 50mm.  The final dimensions on this processed picture are 70 X 21 inches.

Here is another attempt of a panorama taken of the Grand Tetons.  It consists of 5 vertical captures, taken with a Nikon D700 and a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens.  In my opinion the prime 50mm lens works best for these types of shots.  I also think this is a better composition than the one above because of the angle I was shooting at.  It also, in my opinion, has better color, better leveling, and overall better balance.  Aperture f/18, Shutter 1/160 sec and ISO of 200.

To shoot panoramas it is important to understand the "no-parallax point (NPP)", Unless your subjects are distant landscapes, it's essential to eliminate image parallax. Do this by positioning the optical center of the lens over the point of rotation. Really Right Stuff has a great web site for understanding this concept in addition to having all the right gear to be successful.  Follow this link to their tutorial.

An alternative to Really Right Stuff panorama equipment is Sunwayfoto.

On The Road July 13, 2019

PHOTOGRAPHING KELPZIG MILL (Click on Any Image To Enlarge It) Another road trip with Bob Colvin this time to Klepzig Mill. It was a ...