I find a lot of photographers shoot panoramas just for the sake of it. Personally, if I can capture a scene on a single frame, I generally will. However, there are times when you just can't fit everything into one shot, and that's when to take a panorama.
This shot, taken over Chatan Okinawa, is an amalgamation of six separate photos, all taken with the camera vertical on a tripod, one after the other. I could get most of this into a single exposure with a wide lens (something like an 18mm in full frame terms), but wide lenses create a lot of distortion in the image and they tend to push the background way back in the picture. These can create awesome photographic effects when you want them (many of my landscape shots are taken on wide lenses), but for this photo, I wanted as much compression as I could get. So, I used my 50mm f/1.8 Canon prime and lined up the individual shots that I would later stitch together in Lightroom. This was the result.
Hooray for software that makes stitching photos together so easy. The trick is to have just enough overlap that the software can easily match up the edges. It also helps to shoot on the same stop with the same focal setting and, ideally, the same ISO. These were 20 second exposures taken in quick sequence close to dusk. Given how quickly the remaining light was fading, I'm a bit surprised that they blended so well.
The next panorama I'm going to feature here is a shot of Tomari port n Naha City, I could have taken a very nice shot in one frame, but I'd have lost some of the water and some of the sky. This was taken at the highest point of a bridge, handheld, leaning over the side. There was no way I could have shot on a tripod and, even if there was, it would have done no good since the bridge was bouncing due to heavy truck and bus traffic. It is a three shot composite, encompassing the entire field of view available from that side of the bridge (180 degrees). I shot this with the camera vertical using a 14mm lens (on an APS-C sensor this is about 22 in full-frame equivalent) to make the water as prominent as possible. A longer lens would have created too much camera shake and I would have had to shoot on a much higher ISO. Here is the result.
The distortion produced by the lens is visible, far more than it would be in a non-panorama shot, but in this case, I didn't mind, because it brought the water to the foreground. To the eye, this looks like a standard photo, not the 180 degree panorama it really is, That's what panoramas are to me, composites that transport the viewer right into the frame as if they were really there.
Thanks for reading!
My simple blog about the art and science of photography.