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Creative Panoramas

You just bought a new camera with a cool Panorama function, and not sure what kind of panorama photo to take. Try a photo of the ship.

 

 
Voyager of the Seas - In the Caribbean, Sep 2002

 

I took this panorama in 2002 with a Canon Powershot A40, which was a 2 MegaPixel camera; and just holding the camera by hand (no tripod), I took 8 separate photos and stitched them together with the PhotoStitch software that came with the PowerShot. While you can see an abberation or two, remember that this is 10 year old technology. Many cameras today have advanced panorama functions built within that should allow for easier panoramas.

 

Tip:

One common mistake novices have when taking panorama photos is getting the horizon level left-to-right. This is where a small Gorillapod or monopod can come in handy.

 

 
Maho Beach - St. Maartin, Apr 2012

 

These days, you have two options for taking panoramas. If your camera supports in-camera panoramas, give that a try. Otherwise, you can take sucessive photos and stitch them together. While the latter approach can result in a higher resolution photo - you have to figure out how to display it. Fortunately, some on-line photo processing facilities, such as AdoramaPix can do a nice 10" x 20" size photo - perfect for panoramas.

Some Canon compact cameras used to come with a panorama creation software. There is little need for such software these days as most compact cameras today with a panorama function can do it in in-camera. However, the Maho Beach panorama was taken with a DSLR, then stitched together using Adobe Photoshop Elements. The Maho Beach photo was sequential photos taken of a single aircraft during landing.


Compact Cameras.

Many compact cameras these days include an automatic panoramic function. When using the panoramic function, you may have several options; number of photos in the panorama, in-camera processing, or processing via computer (which requires post-processing software).

Cameras of this sort are typically used hand-held, without the need for a tripod or expensive azmiuth alignment equipment. For the traveler, this means a simpler setup, with less equipment to carry.

Cameras with a panoramic function typically even display a screen with a target and aiming point to ensure correct spacing of each photo as shown below:


After the first photo, you are usually asked which direction you wish to pan, and then you will be presented with a target and aiming point.

As you pan the camera to align the two points, the target may turn a different color when it is aligned. Typically, the next photo is taken at this point, and a new set of targets are presented. This will continue until the panorama is completed.

However these cameras may not have enough sophistication to ensure you keep the camera level, and you can be mis-aligned on the horizontal access and the camera will still take the photo. This requires a steady hand and a sense of camera balance for the best results.

One advantage of these cameras is the instant result, as they can create the panorama in-camera. This can be useful as you know you have achieved the goal of creating a panorama. Otherwise, you wil not be able to see the results until you assemble the panorama in post-processing software.