Week 8: Landscape: Wide Angle/Panorama – This is a great opportunity to explore panorama stitching and create a wide sweeping landscape.
Today was unseasonably warm, rising to 61°F (16°C) in the afternoon, so I took the opportunity after my Saturday taxi driving for the entire family over several hours to visit a local nature preserve while there was still some sunlight left and before the next round of vehicular collections was due.
I know the experts all tell us to use a tripod for panorama shots but, to be honest, I was in a bit of a rush, and I know I have pretty steady hands,so I initially tried using the in-camera panorama mode of my Panasonic GX8 to produce this quick image:
For everyday use I think it does a good job. The camera uses rapid fire mode and you simply pan it left to right. The only downside is that it produces an image only 1920px tall, so it’s a bit limited for printing.
So, over to the manual approach and the use of stitching software, as requested in this week’s challenge. I have used the free Hugin image stitcher before which is very capable and allow for a lot of fine tuning. However, this time I used the much more intuitive (and free) Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE).
So the process is to take a series of shots when panning, ensuring that at least 30% of the image overlaps between frames. This gives the software a lot of ability to match elements in the images and so map them properly. By using the camera vertically I was able to get a panorama 5002px in height and 17695px wide. Big enough to do a lot with! The reason is wasn’t full sensor height was because I hand held and wasn’t perfect in holding it level throughout the series, so ICE had to crop it to get a straight edge. It’s all easy to do though.
I made several composites but in the end I chose this one, simply because I liked the texture of the corn (maize) field in the foreground: