Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Panoramas

I am going through old files that I have not had a chance to work on before. These are from a visit years ago to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The clouds were amazing on this visit so it was fun to do some panoramas. I photographed a series of handheld panorama landscapes but only worked on 1 of them back then. So here are a few more from that visit. Bombay Hook NWR is great for photographing multi-image landscapes because of the landscapes you see along the Wildlife Drive. On all the visits there we always saw amazing cloud formations. All images were taken with a 24-105mm lens @ 24mm, but the number of frames per panorama are varied. When shooting handheld panoramas you try to overlap somewhat equally, but it is better to shoot more than you think you need just to be safe. This way you have more frames to choose from when assembling the panorama. Once you get used to doing them you usually require fewer frames. The featured one is my original I posted then. The one below is a landscape made from 3 images, so there is more overlapping on each image.

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3 images @24mm, but less overlapping of images and finished more to the right

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Cloudscape Panorama across from entrance – 6 image panorama @ 24mm

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Cloudscape Panorama across from entrance – 9 images @ 24mm

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6 images (vertical) @ 24mm panorama to get more sky & clouds

 

i Phone Panoramas

I use 2 different methods when using my iPhone for panoramas (or for images just requiring a slightly wider view like the featured image). The examples here are with my older iPhone 6 when I was in Florida in the Spring. The iPhone 6 had a 4.2mm lens which is equivalent to a Full Frame camera lens Field of View of 29mm. Many times you get a “curve” on the horizon and a distinct “Curve” and distortion on the ends when using the panorama feature on the iPhone 6. It really stands out if you are on a road that is straight left & right of your position and you are basically shooting a pano looking down the road to the left moving the phone down the road on the right. You get a distinct “bowing” look to the image as in the last photo in this post. Sometimes you can say it is an interesting effect, but not really ideal for the image. How close the objects are in the center has another set of problems because the far left & right are farther away and with a wide lens on the iPhone distortion looks more prominent.  Because of this sometimes I take 2 (or more) individual images with my iPhone and use Photoshop to blend them for a panorama (or just a slightly wider view than the standard 1 image). I do this instead of the Pano mode in the iPhone which tends to distort the horizon line. The featured image is just a little wider so the tree on the right is more in the image. With the new iPhone 11 Pro, I have 3 lenses so I can shoot much wider than the older iPhone with the 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera Equivalent is ~13mm). In the examples below I also used the “Warp” feature in Photoshop (Edit>Transform>Warp) to straighten out the horizon somewhat which also can get a slight curve to the horizon in the image. I also have my system setup to open jpegs from the iPhone in Adobe Camera Raw to have even more options in adjusting my files before I even open them in Photoshop. Doing it this way, I can adjust the settings of the jpeg file, sort of treating it like a faux “Raw” file. It seems to really work well with my new iPhone 11 Pro. But these examples are from the older iPhone 6.

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2 Horizontal Images, stacked vertically for more clouds

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iPhone 6 – 2 image pano Stack for a little more clouds

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iPhone 6 – 2 image sunrise Pano for more width (Horizon Line Corrected somewhat in Photoshop)

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iPhone 6 – 2 image sunrise panorama, with more overlapping of images, assembled in Photoshop. This give a little more on the left & right sides. Sometimes you lessen the “curve” arc of the pano mode by shooting 2 single images and blending them then using the “Pano” feature.

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Panorama made with iPhone 6 showing “warping curve” distortion of railing on deck platform by just using the Pano feature on the phone. (Horizon line here was Corrected Somewhat in Photoshop)

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iPhone 6 Panorama shot @ Blackwater NWR Wildlife Drive – Showing distortion of road (on left and right) by just using the pano feature while standing on the road.

Extreme Snow Geese Panorama

I know it is hard to see here on the featured image, but sometimes I try images just for the challenge! I really thought it would not work, but gave it a shot anyway. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. This series worked! This is 50 closely overlapping images, combined in Photoshop, for a final image that is 170 inches long. I shot this with a larger overlap than usual because the subjects were moving and gave me more choices for working on the final layered file to fix moving Snow Geese on the overlapping sections. Before flattening the layered file, on the overlapping areas I could erase small sections with the movement I wanted to erase. There is probably more than a thousand Snow Geese in this group and they made a lot of noise, even at the distance I was from them. I let Photoshop churn away overnight so I am not sure how long it took to assemble. I would guess more than 5 or 6 hours, since it was my home system. I was using a 400mm lens with a 1.4X teleconverter. When I started to shoot this panorama I had no idea how many images I would end up with to combine. This was taken last year at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

Davidson’s Mill Pond Park HDR Vertical Panorama

We were going to go to a National Wildlife Refuge today but were not sure if it would be open because of the Government Shutdown. So we went to a local County Park to take a walk. It got up to 55 degrees here in NJ after weeks of very very cold weather, sometimes in single digits.

I did not find a lot of photo subjects, but by a smaller pond, the sun was high in the sky reflecting in the ice covering the pond. I thought it would be fun to try an HDR bracketed series of both exposures and images for the pano. I liked the reflections on the ice in the pond and stopped down to f/16 to get a nice starburst on the sun. Shooting multiple images vertically and horizontally with overlaps for both the panorama and Shutter speeds for the HDR effect.

Images shot @ 24mm, f/16, bracketed series of different shutter speeds for the HDR effect and series of compositions for the panorama.

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  combing 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.

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