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Panoramic Photography

The tower at Cesny Krumlov

Taking panoramic photos can certainly be fun. And they show a great idea of what a place is like.

There is plenty of software that will help you stitch a series of photos together. You could try Panorama Factory for their freeware to start you on your way. You don't need to use a tripod but you'll get a better result if you do. And if you are really into wide photography, then a panographic head might be a worthwhile investment.

The biggest problem with panoramic photography is making sure you get a similar exposure for each shot. There is almost certainly going to be different lighting conditions across your scene, and these cause the camera to change exposure/aperture combinations to take each scene perfectly. But this is not what you want because when you come to stitch things together you'll find it very obvious that your scene is made up from different photos. For example, shadow in one photograph might might not effect the exposure too much, but in the next photo where perhaps there is more shadow, the camera will try to see more of the shadow detail. You'll often get problems with sky exposure as well where the amount of sky showing as part of the scene changes in each photo.

I find the best process is to set up the camera on a tripod, then look at the shots you are going to take and note the camera exposure for each one. Select an "average" and then manually set this time/aperture combination on your camera. Now take your photos.

If you can't set your camera to manual exposure, then press your AE lock and maintain your exposure that way.

Go Portrait Mode

Just because you're taking a panorama it doesn't follow that you should have the camera in landscape mode. Flip it over to portrait - you'll need to take a few more shots but it will give you a bit more flexibility in cropping the photo.

Don't forget that a panorama doesn't have to be across the scene, try some vertical ones too. This is a photo of the castle tower in Cesny Krumlov, a picturesque village in the Czech Republic. Eight photos have been stitched together with the software from Panoguide.com.

See more wide photos on Travelsnapz.

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