Tag: panorama

Sage & Shadows

Sage & Shadows

I have been soooooo busy with everything! People, projects, classes, etc., etc. I finally got out for a bit of a hike, and brought my camera along, too, loaded with Portra 400. I used my Olympus OM-1n, which is a favorite camera of mine. The lens was the 50mm I had attached to it. Interestingly, my tape that I put on any camera with film in it told me I had loaded the film on 3/6/2021, exactly one year to the day that I was out and about!

I am always rather “hmmmmm” about Portra 400. A lot of people like it, but in post I always need to do something to it. I probably should just not use it for anything but portraits since that is what it is intended for, but I don’t often take pictures of people.

Anyway, the hike was fun – and kind of scary since I went by myself and part of it was rather steep, with fall-offs that could be treacherous. Getting old is not fun, and losing a sense of independence in some areas is not where I want to be. However, prudence was there insofar as my husband knew where I was, and I had my phone.

This is a little sage plant, newly growing in the moist soil above a creek. I couldn’t get a really nice shot of it by itself, and that is when I set my exposure and took multiple images to stitch together. In the end, I liked this composition, and just messed with it until I got something I liked.

A Patch of Daffodils

This is a panorama shot with a very narrow DOF. The focal point could have been better, but it is the row of daffs in front of the trees. The third clump in the very front from the left is best in focus, but I probably could have focused on the blooms in the second clump. Oh well.

I probably took 60 or so images here, and got a really well-covered area. The point is to see the different layers of in and out of focus areas. The foreground is sort of in focus, then the daffodils, and then moving back, the trees become increasingly more blurred. Sometimes doing these big panoramas can produce exciting pictures – other times, rather meh to downright worthless.  If you enlarge the picture, you will be able to see the levels of focus more clearly.

The beauty of digital! So much can be thrown away, so much can be play, so much can be a learning experience that is cheap – film does not make this an economic adventure at all.

Making Panoramas in LR and PS

My interest in panoramas was sparked by the wedding photography of Ryan Brenizer and what has become called the Brenizer Method.  Essentially, Ryan Brenizer became famous for creating a very narrow DOF in panorama portraits of couples.  I think they’re great!  I have used it in landscapes and still lifes with some success.  It’s where digital cameras are so good to have in your camera collection.

Taking panoramas is fun with a DSLR or whatever D style camera you use.  I think smaller numbers of pixels help if you tend to shoot a lot of images.  I know I do.  My Df is a 16 megapixel camera, and sometimes i just take a scattergun approach to shooting – lots of images covering more area than I think I want.  I try to take a picture of my hand to show where my pano pictures begin and start.

To get consistent image exposure, it’s necessary to use manual exposure and turn off auto focus.  Consequently, I like to take an image using my preferred f/stop and do everything else on auto.  Test images are important and worth the few minutes required to do. This will give me my shutter speed and iso.  If the image is too light, I might drop the EV and so on.  Once I like what I see, I set up the manual techniques, take a picture of my hand – often out of focus – and begin to take pictures.  On a conservative day, I take maybe 20 images; on others I have taken as many as 130 or so.  Fewer images taken  works out better – easier on you (that camera gets heavy) – and easier on your software and computer when stitching the images together.

I have also done panoramas using digitalized film images.

Once done, I import my images into LR.  Looking for my hands, I export the images into subdirectories labeled, conveniently, Pano 1, Pano 2, etc.  Use whatever you like.  During the export, I change everything in size, using, for instance, 1024 as the length of the long side of the image.  When you have a 100 images, reducing in size is important.  You can also apply filters globally across these smaller images.  These details I assume you know how to do, or learn.

After reducing all the images in size, I do a Cntl-A in the subdirectory to get all the images, and do, in LR, Edit, Merge to Pano in PS (down at the bottom of the pop-up menu).  Off to PS and after clicking OK, the magic begins.  It can take awhile.  The nice thing about using PS as opposed to LR for a photomerge is that any ones which cannot be used in the pano are kicked to their own spots in the final image.

Here is an example of a panorama I took the other day.  All told, 137 images.  You can see that PS decided some did not belong in the final merge.

This pano was also just plain bad. I redid it and this was the result:

The panorama in PS can be more than huge! Make sure you go to Layers and choose Flatten Image. If you try to save it without doing this, PS will bug you to remind you. Do it. Then save it and it will go back to whatever directory you have the original images in LR.

After cropping and editing, the final result was this one you see at the top of this post.

The Next Valley After the Storm

This is a pano of 4-5 images I took with my phone when I went out chasing the sunset the other day. I found most of our walking areas closed because of the rains – muddy trails, swollen creeks – and so followed roads into the surrounding mountains. When I came to this view, I had to really think – where is this? It took a minute, but then I realized I was overlooking the Santa Rosa Valley (I live in the Conejo Valley), from a vantage point I had never seen.

Summer

This has been – and still is – a summer with heat every day.  Luckily, the nights cool off from 100F to 72F, and the humidity is low.  That is the only good news is that life is bearable.  But, with fires burning everywhere in California, the sky is not blue but yellowish, and the light that comes in has a orangish glow.  Ash is dropping out of the sky.

I haven’t been doing too much of anything for the past several weeks for a lot of reasons, but lately I’ve been struck with the urge to look at some of my pictures differently in post:  I don’t care what they “should” look like, I want them to “express” what I want them to look like!  And this heat is the perfect example of expression.

Taken with a Cosina CX-2, panorama of 9 images, stitched together and cropped in PS6 using Agfa Vista 200 film.