When I was in Canyonlands National Park, I mentioned I met up with two other photographers doing what I was doing: traveling around photographing and living out of their car. One of them was Walter Santos, and it was he who explained to me an important advantage in taking panoramas — the increased file size that allows for very, very large, mural size prints that remain sharp!! In the past I had tried the process of taking several overlapping frames across a scene a few times, but without much success. So while we were shooting at Mesa Arch (Image No. 24 from the Into the Desert Post), I took another shot looking just to the right to capture the other end of the arch to give it a try later on when I got back home. With some tweaking, I was able to overlap and line up the two images to create a photo of the entire arch looking out into the vast expanse of Canyonlands just as the sun began to go behind the arch itself. Using a really small aperture (f/22) created the sunburst. With one pano under my belt, I remembered an unsuccessful attempt from almost a year ago of nearby Jordan Lake that just never seemed to work out. I shot four vertical images across a spectacular sunrise because the color stretched completely across the sky and the scene just begged to be recorded from end to end. Right afterward, I tried the merging ability of Photoshop and wasn’t really happy with the results, so the four panels languished in my files for almost a year. After the Mesa Arch was completed, I gathered up the four panels and attempted to “stitch” them together manually using four individual layers. After a lot of tedious work, the four shots lined up and I was able to blend them together and finally complete the image from last winter I had hoped for. So, many thanks to Walter for providing the impetus to create these images; I’m sure I will attempt many more when the opportunities are there. By the way, please check out his site where you’ll see some great imagery at http://www.waltersantosphotography.com.
As an aside, and as a testament to what Walter was saying about creating large prints that remained sharp, while I was working on the Jordan Lake image, I was zoomed in at 100% searching for and cleaning up dust spots and discovered a very sharp airplane hidden in the clouds that I had previously not known was there!! Do I leave it in or take it out? Another dilemma!!
Last Light is another image using four panels which languished in my files for almost a year. Put together, they measure a whopping 7148 X 15612!! A single image, which I usually shoot in a 5:4 format, measures only 4912 X 6144. Printed, this image would be almost 3-16 X 24 inch vertical panels measuring 2 feet by 4 feet!! The Mesa Arch measures 4912 X 10282, or easily about a 16 X 36 inches.
The Wild Wisteria above is one of my “lazy” panos: it is just a crop from a single shot. The final image seen here is how I wanted it to look, but it may have been better to at least attempt a true panorama of several shots to be able to create a very large mural of these beautiful flowers entwined around the four tree trunks and maintain a crisp image. As Walter said, panoramas can become addictive…we’ll see if I can resist the temptation. Maybe I’ll attempt it again next spring.