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Photography tips

A journey in Photography and sharing of how I go about taking various types of photos. Discussions include software and camera equipment and how to make the most of your equipment in a given situation.

Rural Panorama

10/21/2007 04:16

This afternoon I headed out into the Adelaide hills to try and take a photo of a vineyard that I spotted several weeks ago. I got the photo but I will have to go back to the same place and take it several more times over summer and especially at the end of summer.

Since we were out in the Hills we kept driving and ended up near Summertown.

There was some wonderful Rural scenery - as there is in the hills, and one place we stopped I grabbed by widest lens ant took a series of photos. I was not totally happy with the captured scene and decided to grap a series of the whole scene that I could assemble into a Panorama.

Here is the original photo taken at 11mm (22mm equiv) - Good colours, interesting sky, yet still lacking that something.

From experience, I knew that to get the best possible pano that you need to take care of details at the time of shooting. This means shooting fully manual at a fairly long focal length. So, I took several meter readings right across the whole scene and decided on the settings. Being a landscape, I selected a small Aperture - in this case F8, to maximise the Depth of field in the scene. When I finally settled on the camera settings I then selected my Focal point. Then, using Auto Focus I focussed before switching to manual focus.

For the Panorama, I chose to shoot it at a 22mm (44mm equiv) focal length using a portrait orentation. Firstly, I scanned the scene from 1 side to the other making a note of where the horizon was across the scene. Then I started taking the photos of the scene, making sure to leave around a 30-50% overlap to make the final assembly more accurate.

The 22mm focal length was a pretty good choice as it allowed me to cut out just a little of the foreground and a fair bit of the sky - which put the emphasis back into what first attracted me to stop in the first place.

I didn't bother with a tripod for this scene and shot it all handheld. As I was able to get a 1/80sec exposure time There really was no need in order to get a steady shot at the focal length I was using.

While onsite, I gave the images a quick once-over on my Camera, checking for obvious things like similar looking histograms and no blown highlights or blocked shadows (using the "blinkies" on my camera). Everything looked OK so I continued on my way.

When I got home, I took a look at the 6 photos that made up the scene and only needed to set the White Balance the same on all images. I processed the 6 RAW images as tif - as there was still a lot of work to do to produce the final results.

The 6 tif images were then imported into Autopano Pro and in a couple of minutes I had a preview. It looked fine, so I clicked on Render and waited another 7-10 minutes for the full sized pano to be created.  Autopano pro is just great - and so much easier than all other pano software I have used - Just set up your preferences, feed it the images and it stitches and crops it back to a rectangle and even automaticaly does some minor colour corrections. There was nowhere in the image that I could see a join.

The end result from my 6 images was a single image that is 9953 x 3088 pixels in size (29Megapixels). This image covers 126 degrees by 39 degrees field of view. With this image, It will print out at around 82cm x 25.5cm.

The resultant pano was not quite right so I then opened it up with Photoshop and made some very minor levels adjustments to finish it off ready for printing. Of course, I also made a smaller version for display on the web, and ended up with a 1128x350px image which can be viewed on my photoblog.

When you compare the pano to the single image above, you will agree that so much more of the scene is visible in the pano. Now, I just need to take the file along to my pro lab and get yet another Pano printed - I will need to get another Wall to display this photo.

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