The Passion for Panoramas

Passion
There is more to panoramas than cameras and locations. The way you see the seen, the way your brain comprehend the possibilities of a scene is the the most important tool. If you do not love landscape photography then you are in a bad shape, good panoramas lies hidden in passion, you have to love Landscape photography, feel it, live it. I find it important that a landscape scene is conveying emotion, without moving the audiences it becomes flat, doll and uninteresting. Emotion is brought by contrasts, it can be the presents of peace vs turbulence or bleak vs vibrant it doesn’t matter as long as it is there.

In this example taken from At Tvibollahraun lava field, close to the Blue Mountains in Southwest Iceland, standing at the entrance to the Leiðarendi caves, melancholy and the splendor of the width of Iceland is tried captured in one scene. There is no flash bang over the colors, yet it moves me, and if it intrigues you to pack your camera for Iceland, then it has reached its target.

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I guess what makes me love panoramas comes down to one thing, the open width. A beautiful view that seemed to span from far left to far right. back when i was shooting film it was really hard to capture the spender of such a view, but with digital cameras it has become a lot easier.

As the title says is this blog post on panoramic photography,  also known as wide format photography. It is technique that stitches multiple images from the same viewpoint together to form a single, wide photograph.

Camera orientation and tripods

Having your camera at a tripod will give you the best result, make sure it leveled well making the stitch and leveling much easier. I also avoid shooting horizontally, keep your camera vertically to give a better “height” resolution. This also makes your panoramas more tolerant towards cropping, should you be slightly out of balance on your tripod.

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To make a long story short, leveling your camera is extremely important when shooting cylindrical (horizontal) panoramas. When shooting spherical panoramas, it is also important, but most spherical stitching applications have a way to easily correct horizon lines.

I prefer wide angle panoramas that looks like regular images. To get that view i never go beyond 180 degrees. Sure they are stitched from several photographs and therefore would have more resolution, but it it is important in my views that it doesn’t look all bend out of place.

I try to overlap my photos with at least percent, this margin will allow CameraRaw to easily stitch the multiple images together. Do not hesitate, being in a hurry was a crime I have committed too many times in the beginning, and with the result that i had a slightly trail of motion in my shoots. Pesky people in your photos, isnt necessarily a bad thing, but they aught to stand still. Be careful about the horizon and other straight lines as they can give an odd result. Another and maybe the most important thing in panoramas is consistency of exposures. It is imperative that no matter how bright or dark parts of the scene might be, your images must have the same exposure. I prefer making my panorama photograph and stitch them in CamaraRaw, rather than letting camera do it for me. Setting everything in manual ISO, Focus, Aperture, F-stop and Time is the only way to be in control of your scene, do not change your settings in the series you have to join together. One final thing, do fix up all vignette, and distortions on all of the frames before he joins them in the post processing.

Fisheye or rectilinear

I recommend a rectilinear lenses over fish eye lenses, for the simple reason is that they are designed to attempt to keep straight lines straight. Fisheye lens, which often are smaller and less expensive, curves everything into a ball, making stitching very challenging.

My favorite lenses for panoramas is either the Minolta 50mm f/1.4 or the Samyang 14mm f/2.8. Especially the Samyang was a surprise to me, thus being a rectilinear ultra-ultrawide 14mm lens it does a really good job trying to keep straight lines straight.

 

Some photographers argue that Fisheye lenses is much better when shooting panoramic because it allows you to be much more efficient with your time due to that less images is needed giving less file size and post-processing. Another factor is that fisheye lenses are generally much sharper in the corners than extremely wide rectilinear lenses.

Another issue is how most lenses deal with lens flares. Most fisheye lenses have an additional special coating on them to minimize lens flares. When shooting a lens that covers 180-degrees, it is often nearly impossible to not capture the sun or other light sources.
Ultimately, it is a personal choice on which type of lens to use and/or it depends on what the project needs.

 

Camera Settings

  • Shoot in “Manual”, Setting everything in manual this applies to ISO, Focus, Aperture, F-stop and Time is the only way to be in control of your scene, do not change your settings in the series you have to join together.
  • focus your lens on a distant object (infinity or near infinity), then switch to manual focus.
  • Aperture is set to a f/8 or higher, choose good number that will put everything, including any foreground elements, into perfect focus.
  • Metering try to meter in the middle between the dark areas and light areas
  • You can use ultra wide and wide angle lenses, but beware you can experience heavy distortion and vignetting issues that can make it difficult to properly align and stitch images.
  • Shoot in RAW
  • White Balance – set to  Auto, as long as you are shooting raw it doesn’t really matter as we can change it later, if necessary.

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