A Panorama of Josh teaching how to take Panoramas

This is continuing my series of really boring blue sky panoramas. This time I figured that if I didn’t have a really great sky, I would include a bunch of people. Josh Bradley is giving a little presentation on how to take panoramas here. I figured I might as well take pictures of him. I didn’t listen, but I imagine that he would likely have told them:

  • Don’t include the sun – oops
  • Don’t use a polarizer – oops
  • Don’t include people – oops

You never know. Actually, those may or may not be somebody’s rules, but you never know, your picture might be great by breaking the rules.

In this case, I didn’t expose for the sun, I exposed for the people in the middle of the photograph, and let the parts with the sun blow out. I used a little dodging in lightroom to darken some of the left side to help compensate. I also shot at f/13 to try to get that star pattern. I would have liked to close down a little bit more, but my shutter was at 1/60th and with people in the shot I didn’t want to go slower.

I forgot to take off my polarizer. It was obvious in yesterdays post with the very dark sky in the center of the image. In this image, because I never got 90deg away from the sun where the effect of the effect of the polarizer on the sky would be greatest, the sky doesn’t look as blotchy as it could have.

Sometimes people in a panorama can work, but you need to be careful. I took 3 different ones, and in the other two, people were moving around, and the merge in photoshop lopped off parts of people. It would have taken a lot of extra work to use those ones by painting on the masks to reveal the parts of the people I wanted.

In all seriousness, the biggest tip I have when taking a panorama is to level the tripod. This is not the same as leveling the camera. The little bubble on the top of the tripod head, or those little attachments you put on the hotshoe level the camera. You need to level the tripod. Some tripods like my Induro have a little round bubble level at the base of where the tripod head mounts. I loosen the legs a little, and slowly push down on two of them until I get the tripod level. Now when you turn the head, it won’t move up or down as you are turning. Now, if you choose, you could tilt your tripod up or down to get the composition you are looking for. You don’t want it tilted left or right, so use your bubble level in the tripod head or the device in the hot shoe to make sure it isn’t leaning.

Go shoot panos. And for the love of all tripods that are level, try to pick out at least one cloud in the sky.