Thursday, August 26, 2010

Icelandic Panoramas

I feel like I have been off the Blog for weeks. I have been busy working, shooting, and also editing pictures from Iceland. I hope to have a gallery up sometime soon. In the meantime, I wanted to post the above panorama and tell a little of the technical story behind the shot. For starters the stitched shot is 123 megapixels. The original tiff file is almost 800 megabytes. A couple years ago I purchased a used 28mm Perspective Control Lens. This is a manual lens, no auto anything. Nikon does not make this lens anymore and I was lucky enough to get a good deal on a used one. For shooting panoramas, a few things during the capture will lead to better results during stitching. I used a Pano Head and Nodal Plate from Really Right Stuff. I know some of the software programs are really good at stitching, but using this setup is worth the time and effort. The 28 PC lens allows you to adjust your perspective either up or down without moving the camera. If you level your camera when shooting panoramas you will often have a level horizon right through the middle of your shot. By adjusting the vertical perspective of the lens you have more latitude to compose your shot.

In the shot above I added another step. I adjusted the perspective down so I could see the bottom of the canyon, no sky was visible. I took the shot and then rotated the barrel of the lens 180 degrees and then took a shot that was mostly sky; moved the pano head about 15 degrees and repeated the process until I had covered the canyon end to end. This was my first attempt to create a double layer panorama. Usually I shoot my panos with the camera mounted vertically and then combine 8 or 9 shots to create the pano. In the scene above I was not able to capture the vertical range I was looking for without this technique.

The picture was taken on our second day in the field. We were traveling through an area known as the highlands in the southern part of the island. The picture below was taken a couple hours after the shot above. The terrain seemed to change around every corner. It was a magnificent day!!

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