Advanced Panorama Technique

Once you’ve played a bit with panoramas, you might want to raise the bar and produce professional-quality images. Here are some secrets the pros use.

[Hack #19] discussed the basics of capturing photos to be stitched into panoramic images, including putting the camera on manual exposure, using a fixed white-balance setting, and maybe even using manual focus. One trick you might not be using to broaden your shots is turning the camera vertically. Though you’ll have to take more shots to span the same 180° scene, you’ll capture more height in your composition.

When positioning the camera, it’s import to keep it level. If your horizon is flat, you can use it as a guide. Better yet, you can use a hot-shoe level [Hack #9] where your flash would normally go. Once the camera has been leveled, don’t continue to fiddle with its alignment; you’ll have a harder time stitching the images together on the computer.

Avoiding Parallax

One of the most important terms related to panoramic photography is parallax . Parallax is the very thing that gives humans depth perception, but it is the enemy of panoramic photography. Here is a demonstration of parallax. Hold your finger out at arm’s length; first close one eye, then the other. You finger moves relative to objects in the background. This is how we perceive depth. Now, while your hand is still out, close one eye again and this time rotate your head. You notice that your finger still moves relative to the background. ...

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