Landscape Photography Workshops Lesson 06
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Prague Castle, Czech Republic. Fine Art Landscape Photography Workshops by David Osborn Photography
46. What Are Panorama Images
Panoramic photography is stitching multiple, overlapping digital exposures together to create one large panoramic photograph. Exposures are taken in the normal way, being stitched together later in the computer. There is no limit to the number of exposures that can be taken then stitched together. The initial raw images are all taken with identical camera settings in rows from left to right and from top to bottom – until you have captured the complete scene.
47. Panorama Heads & Nodal Points
Best shooting practice dictates the use of a panoramic head with the camera mounted on a special bracket that can be rotated on the tripod. The panoramic head is designed to rotate the camera around the nodal point of the lens, so the image content stitches correctly; the detail of every frame joins perfectly to avoid ‘double-imaging’. Any focal length of lens can be used, but each focal length of lens requires an initial calibration on the panoramic head.
48. What Is PTGui Stitching Software
Each exposure needs to overlap the next by about 25%. The content of this overlap area must be perfectly aligned to avoid double imaging in the final photograph. Each exposure needs to be positioned and then possibly distorted to make a perfect join. This is not possible to do manually; it requires special image stitching software. The best software for this job is PTGui. PTGui is incredibly fast and has great additional functions not available in other software.
The Psychological Benefit
49. More Natural Field Of View
Panoramic photographs have a very natural looking perspective when compared to using wide-angle lenses. Wide-angle lenses introduce unnatural distortions that disturb our perception of reality. The average field of vision of my panoramic photographs is 120-degrees, the same as human vision. To get the same 120-degree field of view in one frame on a DSLR requires a 10mm fisheye lens. Such a lens would distort so badly, the feeling of reality is lost.
50. Extremely Large-Scale Prints
Panoramic photography allows us to create very large prints with incredible detail. The scale of old master paintings, yet the detail of a photograph with massive cost savings. I use a Nikon D800E with a Sigma 50mm | ART lens; the quality is incredible. Larger files than a Phase One digital back, equal in quality, detail, and clarity. All for one-tenth of the cost and you would still have wide angle lens issues using Phase One. Panoramic photography is very cost effective.
51. Great Psychological Power
Done well, panoramic photographs have a psychological quality no other format can create. Satisfy the logical side of our brain that we are looking at reality; through the size of print, detail, corrected perspectives and three-dimensional quality – overlay this with an artistic painterly treatment and we create a psychological dilemma about what exactly are we looking at. The results are seriously powerful statements that captivate us; ones we want to study longer.
The Panorama Production
52. Stitching Images With PTGui Software
PTGui has two levels. Easy initial use: Load images, click align images, choose the ‘projection’ – job done. It also has complicated functions that take time to learn. What makes it brilliant overall are two reasons. One: You can create multiple panoramic images that all align pixel-perfect in Photoshop. Two: Its ability to correct perspective distortion, explained next. Once the panoramic files are created, we rejoin my normal retouching workflow as explained.
53. PTGui For Perfect Perspective Control
PTGui is brilliant for correcting perspective distortion without losing quality. Photoshop requires creating the final image first – then stretch the created final image to correct the distortions. This brutally destroys image sharpness, its crude. PTGui works in reverse; either add manual control points, the best method or move a preview of your image – BEFORE you create the final image. The final image is created with the correction done, meaning no loss in quality.
54. The Price You Pay For Panoramas
There are four main drawbacks. One: Editing the sheer volume of raw files created when you consider all the bracketed sets and different light conditions. Two: Being unable to see immediately what each stitched panoramic set looks like; as with standard image previews. Three: Panoramic files are large; they require a great deal more computer resources and Photoshop retouching time. Four: Composition cannot be done in the camera but only visually by eye.
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