Tag Archives: Panorama

NW Art & Air Festival 2013: A Few Photos

iSoar - NWAA - 2013-8Had a chance to get out for the hot air balloon launches this weekend over at the NW Art & Air Festival in Albany, OR.  This year – I worked the entire weekend with only a 17-55mm f/2.8.  And yes – there were times I wished I had the fisheye and, yes, there were times that something a bit longer would have helped.   But it was a good challenge nonetheless.

By the way, been digging the VSCO filters.

And, yes, that’s one of those crazy “tiny planet” panoramas up there.  Over on the Camera 47 Facebook page you’ll find a few more.  I’ve been experimenting a bit with them lately.

 NWAA - 2013- for the blog-2

 NWAA - 2013- for the blog-3

iSoar - NWAA - 2013-2

iSoar - NWAA - 2013-5

NWAA - 2013- for the blog-15 - 1000xE

iSoar - NWAA - 2013-3

NW A&A 2013 - Saturday - low res-5

 NWAA - 2013- for the blog-13

Lensbaby Panorama Photography

OK – it’s been a flurry of posts recently as I’m trying to clear my backlog – and, oddly enough, this will be the third straight post with a car photo.

And, yes, the title reads correctly: Lensbaby Panorama.

It’s an idea that I’ve had clanking around since I picked the lens up.  Everything is all fuzzy except for a very specific sharp area – and it’s all stitched together with Photomerge – which sounds easy enough…

(Note: A quick search will turn up a few others that have traveled this way.  It appears we’re currently a small crowd.)

While at the 2009 Portland International Auto Show I tried my second Lensbaby panorama.  As for the first?  Well, it’s buried somewhere in my photo archive – and is not yet stitched together.

So, why a car?

First, the ‘57 Chevy is an iconic American car and it has that great silver trim running down the side – a great focal point.

Second, I had a Lensbaby right there on the camera and I wanted to try this technique.

Some details:

This image used 10 photos shot with the Lensbaby Composer at f/4 on the Canon 50D.  Instead of twisting at the hip – I mostly repositioned myself along the length of the car for each image (this is probably not good technique – but then again – neither is using a Lensbaby for a panorama).  After a lot of futzing with Photomerge – it looked like Perspective view was going to give me fewer bad alignment points.  This also gave the shot some unexpected elements – which I think works – at least for a test image.

I did have to crop some of the individual images prior to the merge – as I was getting some sharp and some blurry segments on that center trim.

Once I chose Perspective – the final image couldn’t be cropped without losing part of the car.  Tradeoffs!  I chose to keep the whole car in the image, flattened the layers, and filled the white space with black – keeping the jagged edges as a sort of frame.Lensbaby Panorama - 57 Chevy-1

Then I thought about it a bit more – and I imagined that a lot of car folks weren’t going to be happy with a funky ‘57 Chevy (even if I kinda liked it).  So, I had to make a run at a Reposition Only image.

The lines don’t align as well (say that 10 times fast…) – but it does look more like the history books and less like an old taxi with oval wheels.  I also like that I have photo to the edge of the image – and not the jagged frame.Lensbaby Panorama - 57 Chevy-3

And on both images – to help isolate the car from the busy background – just a bit of layers, erase, and a dash of B&W.

A few thoughts:

  • Take lots of images – more than you might take for other panoramas.
  • LB images can be difficult to align using just the algorithms in Photomerge.
  • At least in Elements 6 (I don’t know about CS4 or Elements 7) – only the Perspective and Reposition Only settings in Photomerge allow the user to help align the images (see previous point).
  • Just for fun – I tried the Cylindrical setting – and Elements dumped the job.  Not satisfied – I tried this a few more times – with the same results.  I might try again on later images – just to see if it’s a trend.
  • Patience.  The image might take a bit of elbow grease.
  • Patience.  The image might not work.  I didn’t show the Ducati motorcycle or Lotus Elise panoramic images…
  • Have fun (remember – it’s a Lensbaby).

Panoramic Images with Photomerge

There are a lot of resources out there on how to shoot panoramic images.  Bunches.  And I’m not going to try and match them in either content or depth.  Instead – I just want to share some panoramic techniques that I use when I’m traveling light and fast – no tripod or ball head bracket in the bag.  Of course, I think Panosaurus and Nodal Ninja are cool – but I don’t have either – nor do I typically travel with a tripod.

So, what’s a photog to do when you just want to get the shot – but it’s simply just too big?  Keep shooting.

A few tips:

  1. Shoot your camera vertically  – this will help you capture more information – making it easier for you to crop later.
  2. Shoot with a wide lens if possible.  I like my 24mm – but I’ve shot ‘em with a 70-200mm.  The best lens is the lens in your hands.
  3. I keep AWB on – but I try to remember to set the camera to manual – and expose for the “middle” of the scene – not the brightest or darkest part of the image.  If you forget and shoot the whole scene in aperture priority – not all is lost – but it may take a bit more futzing on the back end to create a natural looking image.  If your depth of field is changing from image to image – that could be a bit more difficult.
  4. Overlap your images by 30-50%.  Hey – you’re shooting digital – it’s OK to toss a few out.  Some folks suggest twisting from the hip if you’re shooting handheld.  Probably good advice.  Honestly, I have no idea where I twist – I’m probably doing it all wrong.
  5. Adobe’s Photomerge – it used to only be in the top end Photoshop packages – but for those who don’t use CSx – it’s been in the Elements package since 6 (and in case you’re curious, I use Elements 6 for panoramas).  I tend to use “Reposition Only” – as this typically gives more image to adjust and crop later.

And then it’s just tweak and publish! 

This image was with a 24mm lens in Joshua Tree National Park – and I have no idea how many images were used in the pic.

panorama for blog - low res-2 The following image, I know, was just posted a few days ago – but this is a recent example of a panoramic image with the 70-200mm.  If I remember correctly, this is a composite of seven or so images.

50 Million Lost - low res-3

And sometimes when taking these images handheld – you’re going to make mistakes.  This image was taken at our campsite at the base of Mt. Thielsen last August.  If I crop this image to eliminate the uneven edges – I’d take about 500 ft off the mountain.  Is my intent here to sell the image?  No.  I just want to remember a stunning camp site.  Counting the jagged edges – there’s probably 10 or so images assembled here.

panorama for blog - low res-3 

And the following image from The Svens in concert is a three shot panorama – hand held with a 50mm lens . 

the Svens - low res-3

Bottom line – keep shooting.  Even 5 years ago it wasn’t this easy to be this sloppy and still have the possibility of getting a good image off the conveyer belt.  Maybe this post should be re-titled “Confessions of a Lazy Photographer”.

On the other hand – if you have a “flat” shot – one with no pop but you know it has potential– and you just really want to use it somewhere – here’s a technique to make it look like a panorama.