Get the bigger picture
Panoramic photography doesn’t just capture more of the scene, it increases your camera’s resolution. Rod Lawton shows how it’s done
Get your settings and equipment right for shooting easy-to-stitch panoramas
The world doesn’t always fit into the 3:2 aspect ratio of your Nikon’s sensor. We wanted to photograph the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol which, like most bridges, is long and narrow. We made sure we stood far enough away to get the whole bridge and its surroundings in the frame, but that left a large area of blank sky above and foreground below, which added nothing to the picture and made the bridge look quite small in the frame.
It’s the opposite of cropping because you’re extending the image area
We could have cropped off the top and bottom of the picture, but that would have cut our 12-megapixel photo down to five to six megapixels. The smarter solution when you’re faced with this sort of subject is to shoot it as a panorama. This is a series of overlapping frames which are then stitched together on the computer. We’re using Photoshop Elements and its Photomerge option for stitching, but other tools are available.
When shooting, all you need to do is keep the camera as straight and as level as possible. You can shoot panoramas handheld, but a tripod is best. You also need to switch over to manual settings on the camera so that there’s no variation in colour, exposure or focus between the frames. After that, it’s the software that does all the work.
For this shot, taking several pictures and stitching them together means that we get a picture with the right shape and, because it’s constructed from several frames, it has a much higher resolution than a single image taken with the same camera. Our finished photograph is over 30 megapixels!
The panoramic format suits this subject really well, and it’s the opposite of cropping because you’re actually extending the image area rather than reducing it.
EXPOSURE 1/80 sec, f/80, ISO200 LENS Nikon AF- S 18- 55mm f/ 3.5- 5.6G VR