Tuesday, September 17, 2013
How to create large-scale panoramic images with intricate detail using your everyday DSLR
Digital photography is an amazing medium. The rate in which quality and performance are increasing is staggering, and the possibilities are endless. It's as if the digital age has opened up an entirely new world of thinking; I'm constantly amazed at the new things I see and how modern-day photographers push the envelope to create mind-blowing work that borders on the bleeding edge.
I had been primarily a wildlife photographer until a few years ago when I started spending more time focusing on nature landscapes. I found landscape photography enjoyable. I also found it to be challenging when trying to find my own unique take on the classic vista points and well-photographed national parks.
My newfound passion wasn't so much due to the expansive views multi-row panoramas provide, but for the ability to achieve extreme resolutions that allow me to create very large prints (10- to 15-foot widths and larger) while still showing extremely sharp, non-pixelated results. Imagine being able to view a supersized panoramic image from just a few inches away and having it be tack-sharp! That's exactly what I've been able to achieve by mastering the skills required to produce high-quality panoramic images.
In addition to the extreme resolution and endless printing possibilities, I also love the amount of depth and sense of scale you can achieve with multi-row panoramas. By capturing multiple images with a telephoto lens, the final "stitched" result offers up unique perspectives, even with the most iconic, and highly photographed, locations. The reason for this is telephoto compression—where the near and far of a scene appear to be closer together, making distant objects larger, so when you stand before a large print, it gives the photo an almost three-dimensional feel. This visual bonus can only be achieved by taking a multiple-image panorama.
What's A Panoramic Photograph?
Panoramic photography in our modern digital world consists of capturing multiple images in a sequence, then combining them (in a process called "stitching") to form a single final image.
The word "panorama" literally means "all sight" in Greek and first originated from artists and painters to convey a wider view of a scene. Early panoramic photographs were created by aligning printed versions of film; it proved to be difficult to align each frame perfectly for a quality end result. However, with today's powerful computers and digital software tools, it's now much easier to stitch digital images together. In fact, using the techniques I'll outline in this article, it's possible to create flawless panoramas and achieve extremely high-resolution results.
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