Shooting And Assembling Panoramas; A Stitch In Time—The Sequel Page 2

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Ready? Take a deep breath, click on Stitch, then sit back and relax. In just a bit the Fine-Tune and Save dialog appears with the suggested cropping outlined in red (#4). If you prefer another cropping or need to straighten the horizon you can do that here before you click on Save or, if you prefer, Preview. Images can be saved in several different file formats, including JPEG and TIFF.

#4

Panoramic GuidelinesAs with any panoramic stitching method a few simple guidelines will make the whole process much smoother.

First and foremost, be certain that the camera is level. It must also remain level as you pan through the images you plan on stitching. A tripod equipped with a leveling stage can be a great asset but at the very least use a bubble level that fits in your camera's hot shoe. Rehearse the shot a couple of times to be certain of the alignment and overlap of the images.

If you are shooting with a wide angle lens you'll need more overlap. Something approaching 50 percent is about right. If you use a telephoto lens an overlap of 20 percent or so will be adequate.

Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, which is the only city in California to have its downtown area devastated by a tsunami. The camera was positioned vertically. This is a composite of seven images.

Shooting panoramas is one time when you want to leave the polarizing filter in the bag. Otherwise the sky won't match from shot to shot. You'll also want to turn off the camera's automatic exposure system. I generally will do the complete panorama several times, bracketing the exposure settings or shooting in raw. Watch for things that move--waves in a coastal scenic, for example, will almost guarantee that you'll have problems with stitching.

The best advice I can offer is to practice at home in the back yard or at the neighborhood park. A trip to some distant locale is not the place to try to figure out what you're doing.

I love old barns. These are located on one of my favorite bike rides. I finally got around to photographing them.

Oh yeah, while you're practicing, let the kids get into each shot. They'll love showing up as triplets or quintuplets, and so will grandma.

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