Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Create an ultra wide view with a panorama...

When you have a wonderful view, consider making a panorama! These panoramic photos were taken in Cuba overlooking Havana. I like the color and texture of the architecture and wanted to capture everything about the uniqueness of this area. Creating a panorama is easy. You may already have stitching software in your digital camera. There are also some fun apps for smart phones that create great panoramas such as 360 or You Gotta See This, which creates a multi-layered type panorama. For the digital photographer, it's easy to shoot a panorama that can be assembled by PhotoMerge in Photoshop, or Elements. Here's how you do it... 
  • Use a tripod, level the camera, remove polarizer, this makes it easier when merging to match the color in the sky.
  • Choose aperture and shutter speed. Consistent aperture retains depth of field throughout the images.
  • Choose a white balance setting, cloudy, daylight, etc. so that color temperature remains constant.
  • Shoot in portrait orientation, vertical images overlapping by about 1/3. Shooting vertically allows for more sky, and extra room when the image is cropped.  
  • PhotoMerge - automatically stitches together panoramas for you. For long pano's, try choosing Cylindrical which helps with "bow-tie" type distortion that might occur.
  • Experiment, have fun! Panoramas are easy for the anyone with a digital camera. 
Panoramas aren't limited to long and wide. A panorama can be as simple as two images put together to create a square. Vertical panoramas are also beautiful. You can create a panorama by cropping as I did with the first 16mm fisheye image above. If you are very ambitious, you can create multilayered HDR panoramas, or 360 degree interactive panoramas!

For inspiration, visit the site of Pep Ventosa. His fractured panoramas are absolutely stunning. He does creative work with the idea of collective snapshots too. Another fantastic site with amazing 360 degree panoramas is 360VR. Have fun shooting! ~ Deb