The Unbroken View

A World of Panorama

“Panorama” is defined as: “an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer.”

I like this notion. It feels good, generally.
And I’ve always liked panorama photographs. I think alot of us do.
I’ve always heard what a pain in the ass it was to make them though… and how time consuming. It made me shy to try for a really long time.

Well, I’m amending my previous stance because I’m starting to fall in love with the mighty panorama. Making them, I mean.

I’ve been dabbling. First with my iPhone, which I’ve been doing for years. My iPhone 6+ kind of kicked that into new realms… with images like this from France, for example:

But even the iPhone 5 that I took to France did a decent job over in France:


Go Big: The Day Has Arrived

Of course, creating panoramas is common amongst fine art photographers who do large prints… so I knew the day was coming for me.
Apparently, that day is has arrived. The fire is lit… I’m IN!

Truthfully, I’ve been making panoramas quietly for awhile, just practicing, seeing if I’d love it or hate it. Till now, I’ve been using my regular Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead and Photoshop when I do. (Start with what you got!)

Of course, the problem is, there’s some adjusting to do once the pano image is created… because regular ballheads create a parallax distortion. That’s where the image bends, or part of it leans in and look all wonky. Sometimes I actually like that… in which case I’ll use my wide angle lens and let distortion reign. Then again, sometimes the scene is too just big, even for a super wide angle lens.

The panorama images such as I envision need to stand up for themselves and be straight – and I ABSOLUTELY need for the process to be simpler and quicker than ever. I had no idea how timely my wish was!

Cut to now:

Specialized gear, YOINKS!! This was another reason I waited to so long. I wanted the creative need and desire to require the investment and fuss. Now it does! So, I just invested in a Really Right Stuff pano head. Pricey, but is the right tool for the job I have in mind. It gets assembled this weekend; my friend Peter Adams gave me my first lesson last weekend. [rubs her hands together with glee and anticipation]

I purchased Auto Pano‘s software. Photoshop’s Merged panos are really good… they’ve improved SOOOOOO much since I first tried using them a few PS iterations ago. But Auto Pano takes it to a new level of ease and accuracy, especially helpful in the case of hand held panorama images. Hey, I’m trying to create MORE time for myself in my life, not find more reasons to sit in front of a computer! This all helps.

I got fired up to get all this up and running now because y’know what? I’m itching to dig into landscape photography with my Fujis… and Monsoon season will be upon us before long! Woot! That means outrageously awesome light and skies for landscapes. The Lake Tahoe and the Sierras region beckon!

In the meantime, here are a few I did in France… all with either the Fuji X-T1 or X-T10, as noted. They took my breath away at first glance… more time saved, because the images simply exceeded themselves.


You may have seen this one, but it was the first handheld panorama I did – it was 6 or 7 images, I think – stitched together in Photoshop.
Fuji X-T10, ISO 6400, 16-55mm f/2.8.

From the top of the Pompidou Centre. 9 handheld images, stitched in Photoshop.
Fuji X-T10, ISO 1000, 16-55mm f/2.8.Pompidou-Pano1

From the top of the Sacre Couer in Montmartre; 11 handheld images, stitched in Autopano.
Fuji X-T1, ISO 1250, 10-24mm f/4.
NOTE: I literally gasped when I saw this done and at 100%. The clarity was stunning. I didn’t do too much to this… it was a bit dark, so it had to be lightened up… and tuned the colors to my desires some. No sharpening nor much of anything else!

Honfleur Harbor. 8 or 9 images on a tripod with my RRS BH-55 ballhead, stitched in AutoPano. This is where you can see the parallax distortion; in the curve. Pano heads eliminate that sort of thing. On this, though, I really like it.
Fuji X-T1, ISO 200, 10-24mm f/4.

I love big, wide open views. I’m unbelievably stoked at the idea of getting to create more of them! With the tools I’ll be using; Fuji for the most gorgeous base images I’ve ever seen, the Really Right Stuff pano head and Autopano software… this could be the start of something BIG!

Had to go there. Heh.

6 thoughts on “The Unbroken View

  1. Thanks Karen! I guess that’s why there is still a market for the ND! I appreciate your reply! Was hoping the HDR would work!

    1. Yup, I supposed there’ll always be a market for ND… it’s just a different way to think and shoot. Not better/worse, just a different animal.
      And honestly… with the demand for proper HDR settings… I’m curious to see if Fuji actually makes some of these changes in future. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they did. Even Sony got their act somewhat straightened out on that account.

      And true confession… sometimes I do cave and use Fuji’s HDR feature. Sometimes it even helps! It’s just not something I count on. I do my bracketed exposures manually for the most part. 😉

  2. Really enjoy ready about your adventures and viewing your excellent pictures! I love landscapes and landscapes with the sun or moon included! I am wondering what you think of Fuji’s HDR ir if you use ND filters? Thanks so much for posting all your pics and blogs!?

    1. Well Gene, HDR (auto bracketing) is definitely an area that needs improving upon, IMO. I think they need to the option for 5 stops of auto bracketing (right now there’s only 3, for those who don’t know). PLUS make the option for a range of + to – 3 between each stop. So, unless the light is fairly even to begin with, I don’t find auto bracketing for HDR all that exciting.

      That said, I haven’t been doing as much HDR anyway since starting up with Fuji. The dynamic range is so great, I can pull out what I need in post. Sometimes I’ll blend sections of darker and light exposures… but I’ll typically take those manually according to the situation and what range I need to get all the light, rather than doing it by auto-bracketing.

    1. Peter – with you as my sensei, I cannot go wrong! Got the rig all dialed in last night… it awaits nature’s awesomeness. 😀

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