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Oak Creek Marsh in Winter Fog (Full Pano) — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

Oak Creek Marsh in Winter Fog (Full Pano) — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

One morning earlier this year, after shooting a sunrise and seeing a fog bank in the distance, I headed in that direction in hopes of finding some more photos before the sun burned off the fog. Heading toward a small bridge over a marshy area, I found the sun showing through the fog and reflecting in the still waters, but really struggled as to how to frame the scene. A wide-angle zoom set toward the normal view of 35mm still showed too much blank sky and wasted half of the sensor’s pixels, so a normal 50mm was tried, and that also seemed inadequate. It was my own indecision about what to put in the frame that caused the indecision on what lens to use. After trying in camera 3:2 and 5:4 crops with the 50mm, the framed options still did not appear pleasingly balanced, so out came the 70-200mm. There were no other lens options left in the bag, and after still not being satisfied with any single framing, the only other tool left was a panorama. The image at the top encompassed the entire scene including on the right hand side, part of the railing of the bridge from which it was taken, which was eliminated with a slight crop on the right side. The idea was to record everything the scene had to offer and make cropping decisions afterward when all the panorama panels were stitched together and post processing was completed. So the camera was placed vertically on the tripod and the panels recorded.

Oak Creek Marsh in Winter Fog (Partial Pano) — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

Oak Creek Marsh in Winter Fog (Partial Pano) — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

In the post processing, some distracting, small tufts of “land” were cleaned up because they drew your eye to them and interrupted the steady visual flow through the scene, making the viewer pause there instead of traveling unimpeded through the image.

Oak Creek Marsh in Winter Fog (Small Pano) — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

Oak Creek Marsh in Winter Fog (Small Pano) — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

The second image is cropped slightly from the left side, eliminating some of the blank area, and the last crop above, focuses on the area surrounding the sun and reflection. There are probably several more options for cropping this panorama into normal 3:2, 5:4 or other ratios, and having those options was the idea behind creating the panorama in the first place, and in doing so, not losing any valuable pixels from a cropped single image.

Estuary in Fog — Jordan Lake, NC (Full Pano) © jj raia

Estuary in Fog — Jordan Lake, NC (Full Pano) © jj raia

The view from the other side of the bridge was a totally different scene. Instead of silhouetted trees, more detail and color was evident, along with the spring buds. The tree on the left was the initial subject, but the dark evergreen behind it was too distracting for a single image, and every effort to keep it out of the scene by moving right or left on the bridge was unsuccessful. The hope in creating this panorama was that the view of the whole scene from the more defined trees on the left, eventually being more and more engulfed by the fog as you go deeper into the distance toward the right, would lessen the impact of the distracting evergreen, and as it is, just didn’t seem to work. It was just a recording of the spot with no discernible focal point. But it was a friend of mine who thought the second singular tree toward the right was more interesting than the one on the left that was initially chosen as the main focus. By cropping out the entire left half of the panorama, a completely different image solved the problem of the distracting evergreen by not including it to begin with, while keeping the original concept of a subject tree and engulfed forest further in the distance, with the added bonus of keeping the resolution of a single image!

White Oak Estuary in Fog — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

White Oak Estuary in Fog — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

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