Snow Geese Panoramas From Blackwater NWR

On our weekend at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, I like photographing the great landscapes and also the birds and wildlife, plus detail images I find interesting. On the first day the weather cooperated and I got a lot of images to go through. As I was photographing the large groups of Snow Geese, Tundra Swans and Canada Geese in the water, I wondered if multi-image panoramas shot with long lenses would work on the large groups of flying flocks of birds. You could just use a wide angle lens, but that would not be a very large file. And for a long flying group you would have a lot of blank blue sky on the top and bottom.

So as large groups flew by, I would shoot a series of the flying birds, panning as quickly as I could, to try to capture the whole group. I could not use a tripod and just shoot the same spot in the sky as they passed because the sky & clouds would be in the same place with different birds. I was using a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. So at 10 FPS I got quite a few frames of each group as they flew by. Then I chose the best frames for overlap and manually lined them up for position. Then retouched some overlap wing positions or birds that overlapped.

The featured image is made from 4 images of the series I shot on the first day. The first day was a beautiful day with nice blue skies. I manually lined up the images, blending them in Photoshop and touching up a few overlaps.

snow_geese_bwr_12_18_5img_pano_43_728mm_v2

The 2nd Image is 5 images shot on the 2nd day which was more overcast and kind of a gray day. Again manually lining up the images in Photoshop and blending them together. I had tried to automatically let Photoshop CC2019 align the layers but it could not because of all that was going on with the birds. These final images are between about 80 inches and 110 inches long. I probably would not print them but I know it sort of works.

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