Black Skimmer Panoramas

It is a challenge to photograph flying birds for a panorama. After some practice the success rate goes up (hopefully). Basically you shoot a burst of images as you try to cover the area of birds flying you want. Also panning as you shoot, going in the direction they are flying. I found that shooting with a wide angle lens for a large group of birds flying does not give you as much detail as shooting them with a telephoto lens for a panorama. A pretty high shutter speed is also helpful. You might have a few touch-up areas or overlaps to fix once you assemble the base Panorama.

Blk_Skimmers_ v3 Brig 5 17_43G2105The panoramas below are a group of Black Skimmers on or close to the shoreline. This is a little easier because most of them are not moving, but again you might need a few touch-ups here or there.


Black Skimmers, 4 images, 400mm f/4 DO lens

Blk Skimmer 7 sht pano v1

Black Skimmer Panorama, 7 images @ 400mm & 1.4X Teleconverter

Blk Skimmers v4 pano 2sht 400mm_1_4X_brig 5_17_43G0925

Black Skimmer Panorama, Early Morning, Bad Light, 2 images @ 400mm w/ 1.4X Teleconverter

American White Pelican Panorama

Another Group of American White Pelicans photographed along the Wildlife Drive at the J.N. Ding Darling NWR in Sanibel Florida. This was a 5 image panorama, handheld, shot with a 300mm f/4 lens, with a 1.4X teleconverter. When doing a pano like this, do not use auto exposure, especially with white subjects, because the exposures can vary, giving you different exposures which are harder to blend together. You then have to try to balance all the exposures before assembling the pano. Most people use a tripod for doing Panos, but I tend to do more handheld. The Pelicans are still moving, even slightly, so I still have to go in to the layered Photoshop file and erase some of the moving overlaps before the final “blending. The auto features usually works fairly well for the final “flattening” of the layers in your file. The hardest part is choosing which “mode” of auto align to use in Photoshop for the initial lining up of the layers. You might have to try a few of the choices and see which one works best for your subjects. It has a lot to do on the angle you are to your subject and also the focal length of the lens you are using. In Photoshop, under EDIT, go to auto-align. Then you have a few choices. It is a trial and error to see which method works best for your image. Auto align usually works fairly well, but sometimes “Cylindrical” works well for what I shoot also. It really depends on the focal length of the lens you are using and the angle you are to your subjects. Then go to Auto Blend to “blend” them together. The other choice here is “Stack” which is used for ┬ácombing a set of images you shot for more depth of field, for a sharper image across a wider area, in simple terms. Under Auto Blend also check on the Box – content aware fill transparent areas of your merged files. This fills in empty areas with what Photoshop thinks is missing, and works fairly well. This happens more with wider angle lenses because of the changing angle of horizons, skies and foregrounds have different perspectives as you are shooting from left to right. This comes in handy especially if you are hand holding your camera or shooting with a wide angle lens. Also Once you flatten your image, I sometimes crop from the top and bottom to make a better “composed” image. Sometimes shooting panos, you are shooting “Taller or Wider” than you want your final image. So cropping in helps the composition. The above is just a simple overview of shooting panoramas, you can find lots of info online.

%d bloggers like this: