Michael Breitung Photography


Panorama Tutorial Part 1

On my last day in Cornwall I took a 180° Panorama of Priest Cove at Cape Cornwall. In this article I’ll talk about the different challenges, which can arise when taking panoramic photos as this one.

This shot was till now the most difficult panorama I’ve taken. It has a huge dynamic range, it has the sun directly in the frame, which leads to lense flares, and it has fast changing light and clouds.

Panorama of the Priest Cove at Cape Cornwall

First some information about the photo: I used the Nodal Ninja 5L Panorama Head on my tripod, which I can fully recommend. Some of you might ask why to use a special Panorama Head? Those heads allow to hold the camera in a position where one can take panoramic images without any subsequent parallax error. This way the stitching of the panoramic photo will later be much more percise and a seamles panorama can be ensured without retouching.

Sure, todays software can cope with handheld panoramas and layer them together somehow. But never look too close. If you aim at high quality panoramic images, which stand the second and third look, you should really think about a special panorama head or at least a panoramic plate.

For the Priest Cove Panorama I needed four vertical shots to get in the 180° view of the coast. I was using my Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm on my Canon EOS40D. At 11mm eight shots would suffice for a whole 360° Panorama.

To account for the high dynamic range I used bracketing of three exposures for every vertical shot. So all in all there are 12 shots for the pano… Not completely true. The sun in the frame lead to lense flares, so I retook the pano one minute later when the sun was just out of the scene. Later I blended both panoramas to eliminate the flares.

That’s the shot in a nutshell. In Part two I will go through it in a little more detail.