Panorama’s… how to

Guenella Pass - 09/26/2015 - 2 of 3

Guenella Pass, CO – four separate images stitched together

Our minds eye sees it all. A breathtaking panorama of natures beauty. You whip out your camera and set to go as wide as possible. Chances are your camera’s lens fails to capture the entire scene in front of you or, for that matter, the scene all around you. Not all of us carry a super wide fisheye lens that may solve that dilemma. Even then, the fish-eye would distort the image with its distinct curvature effect.
The easiest solution is to snap a number of images, of the scene, from left to right and stitch them together. The real benefit to combining multiple images is the cumulative resolution. Let’s say your cameras best quality give you a decent 10″ horizontal image. Combining three or four images horizontally allows a much longer print with all the sharpness of the singles.
This is how it’s done. A tripod can help, especially in dark situations, with slower shutter speeds to capture more light. My examples, being in bright light, are all handheld. Face the scene to be captured, dead center. Take note of the far left and right. Practice the shot (no snapping) first. Swing left then slowly to the right (don’t move your feet) while making sure you have a good top and bottom view of the scene, without having to move the camera up and down. Once you’ve that down, it’s time to shoot. Start by snapping the left most portion. Before moving right, take note of the right most 1/4 portion of the frame. As you swing right, you’re going to overlap (needed for the stitching program) your frame with that previously noted portion. Continue snapping to the right until done.
Some cameras have built in “pano” software. I never mess with my images until all are backed-up on my PC. Although Photoshop (pricey) has the stitching function built in there are a number of free programs out there that do the trick (search on ” free panorama stitching software”). They all have some sort of documentation. For grins, I tried “Hugin” and it works great.
Have fun

below: Mesa Arch, Canyonlands, UT – four separate images stitched together

Mesa Arch, UT

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