Panoramic Photography Part II: Advanced Tips

By knowing the distance of where infinite depth of field begins for each specific lens you have you establish where to place your foreground and sufficient DOF for you chosen scene. You don't necessarilly need the background tact sharp all the time. Certain subjects that might not be as interesting such as background mountains with out much detail are something I don't worry about being tact sharp. Many photographers have their own opposite view of this. If you are conifident in what you want it doesn't matter.

1)”Establish your subject” and build around it. This would be your foreground, middleground or background, I use them all as main subjects in different compositions. The photograph below is an example of this with the mountain as the main subject and the dunes below as foreground. The photograph in the top of this post has light as the main subject in the grand scenic.

2)”Know how much depth of field you will need.” If you decide to shoot vertically you might need more DOF. If you know what focal length you want to use this will help you decide on turning the camera horizontally or vertically. Sometimes you will want more or less compression between subjects, this is part of how bold or subtle things may look in comparison to eachother.

3)”Don’t worry if your idea isn’t something you know can’t put together now. Shoot it anyway, I shot panoramas before I ever had a clue on how to put them together.” Think ahead! You’re processing skills will always get better and so will editing software as time passes.

A little more on Depth of Field: By knowing the distance of where infinite depth of field begins for each specific lens you have you establish where to place your foreground and sufficient DOF for you chosen scene. You don’t necessarilly need the background tact sharp all the time. Certain subjects that might not be as interesting such as background mountains with out much detail are something I don’t worry about being tact sharp. Many photographers have their own opposite view of this, if you’re posting photos in critique forums and don’t want to hear complaint from other photographers that are not going to buy your photographs then you might consider focus blending to allocate for the loss of DOF. If you are conifident in what you want then it doesn’t matter most perspective photo buyers buy on emotion or have a connection with the place you are showing them.

First image location: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Second image location: Mesquite Dunes Death Valley

Tuckee Mountain Panorama

I will continue this topic further in a later blog post. Read part I here.

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4 Responses to “Panoramic Photography Part II: Advanced Tips”

  1. Derrick Says:

    Fantastic tips, and truly outstanding photos.

  2. Jenny Wilson Says:

    I went through the hard drive and found a panorama I did with a point and shoot. It was hand held so I figured it would never line but CS3 put it together just fine, who would of known! Thanks for the tips Steve.

  3. Jay Levin Says:

    Steve,

    Have you done any HDR panoramas to deal with images with very dark shadows?

    Jay L.

    • Steve Sieren Says:

      Jay, yes I do use multiple exposure images blended by hand if I need them. You don’t always want to see detail in the shadows, if A photographer creates an HDR panoramic with a few trees in golden light against a shaded hillside cliff, they could rob the depth by flattening out the light. Or they could keep the cliff dark with detail and still enhance the visual tension between hilights and shadows. I see lots of HDR work where the light and depth is flattened then black and white compensation is added for contrast, this works for some subjects but not all.

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