Here's some practical advice on capturing your next great landscape shot, and the free software to use to stitch them together. What is Panorama Photography? Panorama photography is a technique that allow you to capture a scene that is wider than just one exposure. Done right, it can depict a dramatic landscape in great detail.
For my panorama of the club house at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, I took 6 different images from a tripod. Interest in getting your own? Keep Reading.
Tips for Getting Great Panoramas
Use a lens that has a focal length of between 40 and 100 mm or maybe even greater, depending on the scene. Stay away from using wide angle lens as they can create distortion on the edges. It can be fixed in post processing, but getting it right in-camera is always the best way to go.
Keep the focal length the same. That will pay off when you go to stitch them together.
Use Manual Mode to get the same exposure for each image. The exposure needs to be consistent to get the best results. Good results can be achieved in Aperture Priority Mode, if you are not comfortable with Manual Mode.
Lowest ISO possible and still get good exposure.
An aperture of f/11 or higher is recommended to get as much of the scene in focus as possible
Expose for the brightest part of the scene. Yep, "Expose for the Highlights".
The focus needs to be consistent throughout all the frames, so focus 1/3 way into the scene then turn off turn off auto focus.
It is best to center yourself on the scene, if possible, then capture images from left to right.
Use a tripod for best results, making sure not to cut off any elements that are high of low. It can be done without a tripod, just be careful to keep the camera somewhat level.
Shoot in RAW to get the best results in post process.
If your images were taken in RAW, Lightroom creates a panorama in RAW format giving you more control over the final image.
Shoot from left to right.
Overlay by 30%. It is very important to overlay your images, or the software will not have enough to match up one frame to the next.
Stitch your images in Microsoft Image Composite Editor, a free software tool, or any other software you may find. A free App for Apple mobile devices I have used is called Photo Stitch. While Microsoft ICE can read RAW files, Photo Stitch only can read JPEG.
To see a stitched panorama of the Raleigh, N.C. skyline, visit www.JohnDPatota.com.
Photo Challenge Take at least 3 images and turn them into a panorama. Let me know who they came out.