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PANORAMAS

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HOW IT'S DONE....

Panoramic images if correctly taken and processed can be breathtaking. This technique can be enjoyed with absolutely any digital camera offering the chance to print huge detailed panoramic views. I have images that would easily print 8 feet in length. When for example, you visit an amazing location when on your travels it would be a shame to not capture the location in the best possible way. There are still photographers that use panoramic film cameras at great expense. I say "forget that and go digital" An image that will rival any film camera can be captured easily with any camera as simple as a point and shoot.

This tutorial will explain how to set up your camera correctly, take a series of overlapping images and stitch in Adobe Elements, CS or Ptgui.

Firstly, camera set up.

If you were to imagine the panoramic image was taken as one single shot with an incredible non available lens that could capture a 180 degree view with no distortion, the image would be captured with one aperture and one shutter speed. This is the mind set you must tune in to capture multiple shot panoramas.
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STEP 1

Set the camera to M (Manual exposure)


Don't worry if you can't use Manual just set your compact to 'Landscape'mode and go straight to step 6
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STEP 2

Set the Aperture to f/8.


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STEP 3

Focus on where the center of your panoramic image will be to obtain an average exposure reading. Now, as you will know, in ‘M’ the shutter speed and aperture have to be set by you without assistance from the camera.


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STEP 4

Adjust the shutter speed until the light meter reading sits around the centre. Your exposure is now correct.


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STEP 5

Focus on a point about a third of the way into the scene. Then look on the side of your lens and flick the little switch to Manual focus (MF). If you don’t have a switch then set the camera to manual focus in the menu or with the 'MF' button on the back of the camera. This effectively ‘locks’ the focus at the point you last left it. After this, avoid touching the zoom.


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STEP 6

You are now ready to capture your panorama. The settings of the camera will ensure that each image will be exactly the same with shutter speed, depth of field and focus depth set in stone. This is essential for the final stitched image.


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STEP 7

Now choose where you wish the image to begin and take a series of overlapping images from left to right. Ensure you keep the camera parallel to the horizon and each image overlaps by at least a third with the proceeding one. If you are shooting hand held switch on the image stabilization if it’s available.

This should be the result. Note that all the images overlap.


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STEP 8

Take at least two sets of images.

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STEP 9

Post Processing. Look in article’s for ‘Stitching Panoramas’


I used this technique extensively in the worlds most photogenic city on numerous occasions. Some of the panoramas are simply stunning in their captured detail ranging up to 30,000 pixels in length.

Take a look in "New York 2011" and "New York 2013" to view smaller versions.

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