Sunday, March 30, 2008

Learning to do better panoramic shots

Temperatures in the mid 40s, sunny and very windy.

Chores and such kept me around the house today, got some stuff done and still managed to sneak in a short ride.

One of my chores was to learn some more about the right way to shoot pictures that will be stitched together into panoramic shots. Boy, was I doing things the wrong way in previous attempts!

To sum it up, here's what I learned by googling "how to shoot panoramic pictures" on the Internet.

1. Go manual settings. No auto-focus, no automatic exposure settings, nothing. This is to achieve a uniform f-stop and speed setting in all the shots composing one panorama scene.

2. Try to use a 50mm lens or greater. The wider lenses have some distortion at the edges the wider the angle, stuff you don't notice but which can become "issues" when stitching such shots together.

3. Use a tripod! Wow, this one really makes a difference. I guess I'm not that stable a rotating platform. ; )

4. Try flipping the camera so you're shooting with it sideways, or in "portrait" mode you could say. The tripod I bought today enables me to do this easily. Yes, it takes more shots to cover your scene width-wise but you get more sky and foreground if needed.

5. Overlap by 25-50% each shot. This helps the photo-stitching software.

As I mentioned at the beginning, it was very windy so I did not stay out very long. It's a lot more work using a tripod but I think it'll be worth it when it comes to panoramic shots. Heck, I might even think about getting in the picture with Maria now and then!

Here's the result of using all the above techniques, did not have to make any corrections as I had to before and I really like the portrait method.


puzz said...

Good points! There is only one of them I don't agree with ;) I don't think tripod is that important for outdoor panoramic photos. At least with autostitch (here's my autostitch tutorial).

Charlie6 said...

nice tutorial, thanks for the link.

yep, a tripod is not mandatory but it helps a lot

irondad said...

When I blow the picture up I can see darker lines that might be the overlaps. Other than that, it looks like one photo. Neat!

puzz said...

Thnx charlie6 ;)

@irondad: Darker lines shouldn't be there... At least if you use manual camera settings and without the polarizer.

Charlie6 said...

yeah, there's overlap lines...thought I had gone fully manual...hmmm, more practice I guess.