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Nature's Image Photography Workshops and Tours

MERGED PANORAMAS – WIDER THAN WIDE-ANGLE

October 2021

Did you ever encounter a scene that was so big – so massive – that you couldn’t fit it in, even with your widest angle lens? In those situations, have you considered trying a merged panorama?

My storm photo (above) is an 8-shot merged panorama. My rainbow photo (below) is a 6-shot panorama. That means they were constructed using multiple images that were later merged into a single frame using software. I use Adobe Camera RAW, but there are other options, so chances are the software you use can do something similar.

There are some obvious advantages to a merged panorama. You can capture very wide views that you could never fit in with a single frame. And you can do it without so much of the ‘barrel’ or ‘fish-eye’ distortion that you often see with very wide angle lenses.

You can also end up with a massive image file, so if you have always wanted a giant panorama photo to hang on the wall, this can be a great way to get it. An image created from multiple photos creates photos that can be printed up to metres wide.

Because I have a YouTube video showing you how I merged my rainbow image into a single panorama, I wont’ try to explain the editing process here. If you are interested you can WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.

But it’s important to get things right when you take your original set of photos, so here are four tips to help you improve your chances.

  1. Shoot vertical (portrait orientation) photos. A series of 8 or 10 vertical photos will most likely create a better result than three or four horizontal shots.
  2. Make sure this a good overlap from one shot to the next. Aim for about 33% overlap. Which means if (shooting left to right) a tree appears one-third from the right of one shot, it should appear about one-third from the left of the next shot. Your software uses this overlap to correctly align the pictures.
  3. Shoot further to the left and right than you think you need to. It can be surprising how your photos will come together, and if you stop with your subject right at the edge of your first and last shots, they can be chopped off when you crop your final image.
  4. Keep an eye on exposure. If you change your angle to the sun as you shoot your images, the exposure level can change. Try to keep the exposure level as constant as possible in order to make sure one photo is not brighter/darker than the next.

OK there’s my quick look at the merged panorama idea. Next time you are out shooting a huge landscape, you might like to give it a try.

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