Bran­don Yoshizawa

Bran­don Yoshizawa cre­ates panora­mas to cap­ture the sprawl­ing vis­tas and cityscapes of the Amer­i­can west

NPhoto - - Contents -

Panora­mas are Bran­don’s pas­sion – and in the western US, he’s found lots of amaz­ing vis­tas to shoot.

I grew up in Tor­rance, Cal­i­for­nia and started tak­ing pic­tures four years ago as a way to doc­u­ment my trav­els around the world. Be­ing able to cap­ture amaz­ing vis­tas and city sky­lines al­lows me not only to share these views with oth­ers, but also to cre­ate mem­o­ries that I will be able to look back on for a life­time.

My first cam­era was a Pana­sonic FZ-28. As my love of pho­tog­ra­phy grew, I pur­chased a Nikon D7000 and be­gan plan­ning trips around photo op­por­tu­ni­ties. Get­ting up early and stay­ing out late to chase the light be­came the norm. I love the func­tion­al­ity of the D7000, es­pe­cially the ISO ca­pa­bil­i­ties and dual card slots. It’s light and com­pact enough not to weigh me down when I am out hik­ing.

Get­ting more in a frame

Most of my land­scape pho­tos are taken with the Tok­ina 11-16mm. Some­times I still won’t have the field of view that I need to por­tray the en­tire scene, so I use panoramic pho­tog­ra­phy to ex­pand what can be seen. For ex­am­ple, the sky­line shot of San Fran­cisco [1] was taken from Trea­sure Is­land and is a three­shot hor­i­zon­tal stitch of the city and the Bay bridge.

With the ad­vanced stitch­ing soft­ware avail­able, cre­at­ing panoramic im­ages is eas­ier than ever but there are still things

to re­mem­ber to en­sure that the pro­gram can align ev­ery­thing.

I scan the en­tire scene to check the rec­om­mended shut­ter speed and aper­ture, and if the dy­namic range dif­fers greatly I’ll switch to man­ual mode and choose a mid­dle ex­po­sure to me­ter from. If the dy­namic range is too great within each frame, I’ll first bracket shots for ex­po­sure, then com­bine them as a panoramic im­age, as with the im­ages from Death Val­ley [2] and Lake Cres­cent [4].

I level my tri­pod and cam­era to avoid dis­tor­tion and con­verg­ing ver­ti­cals that can cause prob­lems with stitch­ing. If shoot­ing hand­held, I ei­ther shoot ver­ti­cal or zoom out so I don’t have to crop out de­tails.

The sign of suc­cess

All rules went out the win­dow for the shot taken from be­hind the Hol­ly­wood sign [3]. I had to stand on a stool to be able to see over the fence, bal­anc­ing my tri­pod against the fence. I also had to shoot down­ward. Not be­ing able to level ev­ery­thing and not hav­ing a head that can ro­tate around the nodal point of the lens caused par­al­lax and align­ment is­sues with the sign and cre­ated dif­fi­cul­ties when stitch­ing, but it was worth it.

While I use a cir­cu­lar po­lariser on most of my land­scape shots,

If the dy­namic range dif­fers greatly [across a scene] I’ll switch to man­ual mode and choose a mid­dle ex­po­sure to me­ter from

one thing to watch out for with panoramic shots is un­even po­lar­i­sa­tion, as it will change depend­ing on your an­gle to the sun. Use it care­fully or re­move it for panoramic pho­tos. Lastly, I tend to over­lap my shots by 30 to 40 per cent to en­sure there is enough data to stitch prop­erly. All the pho­tos then get loaded into Pho­to­shop, which does the heavy lift­ing.

I have been for­tu­nate enough to travel to some amaz­ing places, and hope to be able to keep cap­tur­ing them for a long time.

02 Death Va lley Badwa ter Basin Nikon D7000, Tok­ina 11-16mm f/2.8, 1/5 sec, f/14, ISO100

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03 03 Hol­lywo d Sun­set Nikon D7000, Tok­ina 11-16mm f/2.8, 15 secs, f/8, ISO100

04 Lak e Cres­cent

Nikon D7000, Tok­ina 11-16mm f/2.8, 1/8 sec, f/11, ISO100

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