A Panorama is an extremely wide-angle view of the scene in front of you. In photography, a panoramic image is one which has a huge horizontal side compared to the vertical. Clicked vertical it could mean around 7 to 8 images stitched together. That or stacking up around 3 to 4 horizontally aligned images would lead to an image of the panoramic type.
So how does one go about clicking these images and then sticking them together?
First steps first, lets talk about clicking an image.
Here is a sample of steps taken to get the panoramic image shown below
- Composed in the head
- Place the camera and lens on a tripod, make sure the camera is in line with the horizon (bubble-head in the tripod or inbuilt horizon display level in the camera)
- starting from the extreme left, kept clicking and moving ensuring all images have a certain amount of overlap. This is to help the software tool to cut them later.
- Took all the images from the card to the disk.
- Opened the images in photoshop and used the Photo Merge utility to merge the panorama.
The final result is as following
Do you see any issues here? of-course you do. The sky looks different in each image and the stitched image isn’t seamless.
What went wrong?
We missed the most important step didn’t we?
Well, if we take multiple images and each of them has a different value of shutter/aperture (different exposure readings as each image is a different composition) we would obviously come up with images with different levels of brightness.
There are two solutions to this
- Note the meter reading for the brightest area of the image and after that switch to Manual Mode and dial in that setting for all the subsequent images.
- After taking the meter reading for the brightest area, lock the metering (AE-L/* button) and keep clicking.
Here is an example with the extra step of Locking the metering added in.
Thats how easy it is.
Unfortunately your DSLR cameras do not come with a pano mode but I guess the AE-L comes pretty close.
Before I wrap up this quick blog, here are a few things that will help you in your quest for that lovely panorama
- Stack Vertically rather than Horizontally – More resolution at the end would mean bigger print possibility
- If your camera does not come with a level checker (called Electronic Level Display in Canon and Virtual Horizon in Nikon) and neither does your tripod, buy a bubble level checker. It fits into the hot-shoe of your camera and can work fantastically well.
- As is always the case with landscapes, click when the sun is low in the sky. Gives a better depth to your images.
- Carry a tripod with you for Panorama images. If you do not have one handy, try using a bean bag. If that is not possible either, then make sure that you have overlaps of at-least 25 percent in each image so that even if the levels are not perfect, the software would be able to stitch them together.
- Tons of softwares available out there for pano stitching. Photoshop provides an easy Photo Merge tool that I use.
- Think creative, panorama does not always mean landscapes. Take a look at the fabulous image below by Ganesh H Shankar where he covers this topic beautifully. His latest images panorama image series from Corbett is a treat to the eye. Do spend some time learning from them.Thanks to Ganesh H Shankar for allowing me to share his image here
- Please note that panorama gives you a much higher resolution file as a result of the stitching of multiple images. Note that and use it as a means of coming up with higher-res images where needed