Rodney Campbell's Blog

Panoramic Experiments…

by on Sep.12, 2015, under Life, Photography

I’d never attempted a stitched panorama from a moving boat before so I figured now was the time to experiment.

I’d just come out of the water from my first swim and the light was still fantastic and the hills were aglow. For this cruise I’d packed light – I just brought the camera with the all purpose 28-300 zoom fitted with the polariser.

I’ve shot many handheld stitched pano’s before but none whilst the surface I was standing on was rocking gently back and forth. The water was very very deep here and we weren’t anchored.

It was time to experiment…

Lake Argyle Experiments

Lake Argyle Experiments

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 145 mm, 1/160 sec at f/6.3, ISO 360

I was only interested in a fairly tight view of the hills in the distance glowing against the blue water and the sky just starting to light up. The shapes and folds of the hills were so interesting it was hard to know when to start and stop – you just wanted to include it all.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

My first run through was shot at a tight focal length of 180mm and I took 46 vertical frames across. I havn’t even attempted to stitch them together.

My second run through was at a slightly wider 145mm and 30 vertical frames were taken.

Shooting at such a long focal length for a stitched panorama is normally difficult enough to get and keep things level right across the whole pano. Doing it for 30+ frames… handheld… on a moving boat – madness you say!.

My technique is simple:
– keep the horizon line level going across the middle of the frame as you slowly rotate (your body) and take the frames. Keep the camera as vertical as you can.
– when taking a frame take note of what is at the edge of the frame on the middle horizon line and rotate to move that point to the middle of the next frame (giving you a 50% overlap).
– don’t stop – just work your way across the whole set.

Remarkably the experiment seems to have worked – tho it did just about kill photoshop when I was doing it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been exporting all the frames for a star trails set at the same time!.

Anyway I got complaints about my drive running out of temp space whilst attempting the stitch. I think this caused it to fail to do the blend between frames. I kinda liked this end result because it shows exactly where all the source frames were and how they overlapped when I took them so I’m leaving it this way for all the world to see :).

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/30 sec at f/6.3, ISO 280

The sun had now set – it was time to head back after a fantastic afternoon – tho it wasn’t all over yet…

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