Monday, March 31, 2008

Panorama How-To (learn from my mistakes!)

Abandoned house panorama

I took this panorama in Saskatchewan this winter, but it took me about two hours to edit in software due to a few mistakes I made while taking the photos that make it up. I'll explain those mistakes here in an attempt to help others avoid having to learn these lessons the hard way like I did.

First, the focus. It'd be best to have a large depth of field. When I took this shot it was getting dark outside, so I was using a large aperture in order to be able to hand-hold the camera while taking the shots. That may have been ok, but I focused on the house in the first shot, then a third of the way into the scene for each additional shot. As a result, the foreground infront of the house is blurred due to the shallow depth of field while the foreground is sharp in the rest of the shots.

Second, exposure. It took way over an hour of manually blending out the exposure differences between the shots. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Take meter readings throughout your scene, then find a middle-ground, shoot RAW, and use Manual Mode so the exposure doesn't change from one shot to the next.

Third, white balance. Same as above. My white balance was set to "Auto" and was slightly different for each shot. Choose the closest manual white balance setting you can and use it for each shot in the scene.

There are other issues with this particular shot that bother me -the horizon isn't straight, etc. But, I think it was a good scene to use the technique on and I certainly learned a lot by trying it!

2 comments:

xtacocorex said...

I made those same mistakes on my first pano, seen here with a fully manual camera: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xtacocorex/533933063/.

I started shooting with my Pentax ME (Aperture Priority only) and got this panorama with one off frame, the clouds really helped keep the shots consistent: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xtacocorex/2339339788/

With all your post processing the pano still turned out well. I'm still learning my process with composing them. What program did you use to stitch them?

Erica said...

Thanks for your comment. I used hugin for the stitching.

Yours looks great, btw!