Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com
Vertical panoramas& other reasons tostitch
Print out and show off your panos To appreciate your handiwork – and the splendor of the original scene – print it out and get it on the wall. Using a commercial printing service is one option, but if you have an inkjet printer at home, that’s the way to go. Most printers work with a long sheet of paper and you don’t need a printer with a roller feed mechanism although you will need to make a custom paper size in Photoshop when preparing to print. Before you begin though, you need the right paper. Permajet (Permajet.com) offers roll sizes in many finishes so you can trim it to fit, and a 13inx10m roll of Oyster costs £32.95. Fotospeed (fotospeed.com) and Paper Spectrum (paperspectrum.co.uk) offer cut sheets as well as rolls. For cut sheets Fotospeed offers six finishes in 210x594mm size and a 25 sheet pack of Photo Smooth Pearl costs £29.99 or Platinum Baryta 300gsm costs £64. Paper Spectrum offers three sizes of its Pinnacle Photo Lustre, the largest being 297x900mm and 10 sheets cost £23.99. Make sure you print your panoramic work and you’ll really appreciate the detail you captured. shooting position are consistent. The latter can be even more important due to the amount of detail and hard-edged subjects. For extra detail shoot the frames horizontally and then merge them into a vertical panorama. Left Horizontal panoramas aren’t the only way to go. Tall and slim, vertical panoramas are very fitting for urban scenes and can be shot in the just the same way as horizontal versions, making sure the exposure and The key is to free yourself from thinking of photography as a single frame. If you can do that then you’ll havemore expansive images to show for it. Once you’re used to the central techniques of composing and shooting panoramas, it’s well worth exploring otherways inwhicha stitched image can better capture the scene that you’ve found. For instance, if the scene demands a tall composition, rather than a wide one, like this shot from Tokyo, you simply need to pan up (or down) taking the same care when it comes to levelling, exposure and overlap as you would from left to right. If you’re using a panoramic head to turn through the entrance pupil it works in just the same way as it would if you shot a horizontal panorama. You shouldn’t feel limited to a single row of shots to make up your stitch either; although we naturally think of panoramas as long, wide images, if you shoot several rows to cover your composition then you might end up with a much squarer shot, but could still enjoy the extra-wide view (as on page 28). Remember that panoramic images can work for subjects other than landscapes and urban scenes, too. If you’re shooting an environmental portrait for instance, and you’re working in an interesting location, you can expand the view around the subject without needing to shoot at a wide-angle that would distort them.
Improve results bymixing techniques Like any other photographic technique, panoramic shooting is simply a tool that helps you reproduce your ideas; it’s a method for problem-solving which lets you increase the amount of detail you can show by squeezing more of the scene into your final image. For that reason, it can be seen as very similar to shooting high dynamic range images; one solves the restrictions of focal length, while the other solves the shortcomings of exposure. With that in mind, it’s well worth remembering that, just because you’re giving a scene the panoramic treatment, you don’t need to stop there; the images in your imagination can require more than one specialist technique to make themwork. For the shot above, taken in the North York Moors, I knew I wanted to make the most of the heavy contrast in the scene – the deep shadowy sky, and the patches of light on the hillside – and to finish it off with a mono conversion that’d allow me to work the contrast even harder. To record all the light via an HDR process and to get the wide view, I therefore needed to shoot several bracketed exposures for each turn in the panorama. This eventually gave me 15 vertical shots covering -2EV to +2EV, which I merged in HDR Soft’s Photomatix Pro to give me three tonemapped images covering each part of the scene. After stitching the three images with Photoshop’s Photomerge function and then desaturating the image, I went to townwith the Dodge and Burn tools. This let me brighten the highlights and darken the shadows so I could achieve the high-contrast look I had originally intended. Mix andmatch Shooting multiple frames to make a panorama doesn’t mean that you need avoid other techniques. In fact, mixing up your shooting and processing techniques can make your images stand out from everyone else’s. For instance, the picture above started life as 15 frames – three sets of five shots – that then made up an HDR panorama.
Usemanual settings for consistency
Autoexposure is the friend of the modern photographer, but it doesn’t work so well for the separate images required to make up a panorama. The reason is that, as you turn through a wide scene, the light levels are very likely to change, especially if you’re featuring a low sun or sunset; shooting in auto, you’ll get a good exposure for each part of the scene, but it won’t be consistent across the set. Therefore you’ll need to use manual mode to make sure that your scene will be consistently exposed across each frame.
For best results, find the brightest part of the view, and set the exposure for that, taking a test shot to ensure you get goodhighlight and shadow detail. Also, take a shot of the darkest part of the scene to make sure it’s not too dark. With the ISO, shutter speed and aperture set, you can shoot, but it’s good to reassess the exposure for each new series of shots, in case light levels have changed. Shooting in Raw is also a good idea, as Photoshop and Lightroom let you stitch multiple shots into a Raw file and enjoy the benefits that brings.
Other settings which need to be kept in manual are white-balance and focus, as you don’t want these varying across the series of shots either. For white-balance, set the preset that best suits the conditions or dial in a manual Kelvin setting. For focusing, use AF as normal, then switch to manual to lock it in. Finally, it’s a good idea to remove your polarising filter if you’reusingone, as shooting at different angles to the sun throughout your turn will inevitably give different results in each shot.
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