Panoramic Photos


Panoramic Photos show the big picture like no wide angle lens can. I was driving along highway 395 in California and came to this incredible panorama of the eastern side of the Sierras. I wanted a picture. But my 28mm lens, the widest I had, could capture only a small part of the scene and gave no impression at all of the grandeur of the mountains.

I decided to try a hand held series of photos I could then put together in a panoramic photo. I knew I needed to overlap the shots, and I knew I had to be consistent in exposure. But I didn't realize how important using the manual mode on my camera was. The result was that I had to spend far more time than I would have putting the pictures together. I knew there was a better way.

What I learned, I want to pass on to you.

The beginning point of a good panoramic photo is an impressive scene. There is little value doing the work of creating a panorama photo if the scene is not interesting.

                                                      Here's one scene I love out on the Washington coast.
                                                           It is two pictures put together in the middle.

                                            Copalis River

Choose a place where you can see the entire scene without moving your feet. You will need to swivel from the hips, but it you move even a few feet away from the spot, your pictures will not blend.

Set your camera on manual mode so that every picture will be the same ISO and the same shutter speed and aperture. (The aperture will be always the same if you use a camera phone.)You will also want choose manual focus and maintain the same focus point throughout the series of pictures. DO NOT USE THE PANORAMA MODE ON YOUR CAMERA.

Begin at one end of the scene.  If you are using a camera with a zoom lens, choose a focal length that is a normal focal length, about half way between wide angle and telephotoFocus on the subject that is important in the scene. (I focused on the mountains in the panorama at the top of the page.)  Take the picture. Then swivel slightly to take the second picture allowing the photos to overlap. Do that again and again as many times as required to get a series of overlapping pictures that capture the whole scene.

Your next step is to put them together in a single picture. You can use either GIMP or Photoshop for that.If you use Photoshop, you can use the "stitch" feature of the program. Here's a "how to do it" web page with videos for stitching together photos  in Photoshop  LINK 

If you use GIMP, you'll need to do the combining manually. It is not hard to do. Here's a video tutorial.

More great ideas for fantastic panoramic photos Digital Photography School

Take a look at some good panoramic photos  LINK  sample panoramic

HDR pano

You can combine HDR effects with panoramic photos. If you do it is best to do it after you've made the panoramic picture.

This picture was improved by the HDR effect.

Many camera phones have a panorama feature that does this all in the phone. BUT do not use this feature for this project. You'll miss all the fun.

This Project
explores panoramas using several different techniques.You may choose which to use.

The first is to make two totally different panoramic pictures  of different  places that has some scenic interest. You could find a good location at the waterfront in Olympia or at the Washington Capitol or at a local park or even downtown Olympia. Or you could take a series of pictures for a panoramic picture of your neighborhood.

Put the pictures together in GIMP or Photoshop by overlapping and matching as well as you can. The finished picture will look something like the mountain picture at the top of the page. DO NOT USE THE PANORAMA MODE ON YOUR CAMERA

You should end up with two panoramic pictures. Upload to Flickr.

Here are some non-technical tips for doing panoramic photos:

Take panoramic photos with any camera 
a website.

A video

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© 2018 Don Camp