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

NPhoto - - Contents -

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

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