How to Capture Digital Landscape Panoramas

By Ricardo Da Cunha
This next educational blog demonstrates how to shoot and then stitch a panorama image. This first part focuses on what is required when out shooting the panorama where part two will then provide instructions on how to finally stitch the separate images taken to produce the panorama. The advent of digital photography now means that it is easier than ever before to create a panoramic photograph. Trying to produce a panoramic image in the past with film meant a significant investment in specialist panoramic format equipment but now for a small outlay you too can be producing striking panoramas. The first part is the shooting. Using a DSLR, follow the simple steps below to capture all of the separate images required to stitch them together on a computer later:
7 Easy Steps to achieving a Landscape Panoramic Photograph
1. First of all a tripod is a must for taking panoramic photos and you must ensure that the tripod head is perfectly level!
2. Start-off by setting-up the camera vertically using a portrait orientation in order to reduce the amount of edge distortion and to provide more scope at the top and bottom of the frame for cropping later
3. Next with the camera in Aperture Priority mode (Av), determine the exposure required for each separate image that will be taken by panning across the entire scene whilst holding the shutter button halfway down in order to check the recommended exposure (in this case shutter speed). Change the shooting mode to Manual (M) and then set the exposure for the brightest frame in the set this way ensuring that you preserve the highlights in the brightest frame(s)
4. After setting the focus, switch to manual focus
5. Avoid using automatic White Balance (this does not apply if you’re shooting in RAW format)
6. Begin taking each image and overlap each segment by 30%
7. Shoot each image as quickly as possible to avoid any changing light. If shooting during the times of sunrise or sunset change your sequence of shots to start from the opposite side of the setting/rising sun
That’s it! Shooting digital panoramas is really not that difficult!
Bonus Tip: Never use a circular polarizer filter when shooting images to stitch together into a panorama as the circular polarizing effect in each image will create a wave effect and ruin the final panorama. This only applies if the sky is framed within the composition.
I hope you got something out of these tips and if so please share it with others who might also benefit from them.
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