Dragons & Damsels Panoramas

Panoramas are not just for landscapes! I enjoy shooting panoramas for a variety of subjects. Plus they look interesting when you print them very large! Here are a series of multi-image Dragonfly & Damselfly Panoramas. I was using Canon & Panasonic Cameras, with a variety of lenses. The featured Blue Dasher Dragonfly image was 5 handheld images taken with a Canon 300mm lens, with extension tubes @ f/9, 1/250th sec. Then assembled and blended in Photoshop. When shooting panoramas handheld, I tend to overlap even more just to be safe & that I got enough overlap to blend nicely. I may not need them, but it helps if you do need more images when assembling them. The images below have some details on exposure & images shot per panorama.

Damselfly_3img_pano_1110038 pano

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 4 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens, blended in Photoshop.

Blue_Dasher Pano_43G3758 crp v3

Blue Dasher, Female – 400mm DO lens with extension tubes, Canon 1D mkIV,  3 image panorama, f/11, 1/250 

Eastern Forktail FM_DAMSELFLY STACK V1_43G0245

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 3 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens

 

Night Photos with iPhone 11Pro

We were taking an evening walk in our community to get a few more steps in before settling in for the evening. It was a pleasant evening and the sidewalks were well lit. As we were going by the Meeting House, I decided to try a few night images with my iPhone 11Pro. It is supposed to be pretty good in low light, but have not really tried it at night. Here it was actually dark and I was surprised how good the images were straight out of the iPhone. It seemed to automatically somewhat balance nicely the highlights & darkness. Especially since there was a wide mix of darkness, spotlights and ambient lights along the sidewalk. I have tried shooting Raw files on the iPhone 11 Pro, but did not see that much difference so I just shoot jpegs with it. But I do have my Photoshop setup to open jpegs as raw files so I can pull even more detail and have more adjustments from the jpeg file before I actually  open them in Photoshop. I have not seen a significant difference on the jpeg files in image quality doing this and have printed these kind of files quite large. It goes against my normal work flow of shooting Raw files on all my other cameras. I was using the iPhone 11 Pro’s 4.3mm lens (Full Frame FOV equivalent ~26mm). The featured image is also 2 vertical 16×9 images blended, side by side to get a little bit wider view. When I am photographing with the iPhone I usually always use the 16×9 format. The image below is basically from the same spot but I just turned around from photographing the featured image. I was pleasantly surprised at the images because the exposures were 1/30 sec. on the Meeting House and 1/8 sec. for the image below. The exposure actually seemed much much longer and you could see some blurry movement during the beginning of capture on the phone’s screen. But I guess the phone was doing a lot of processing & adjusting of the image as it was saving the final file.

Commons_2img_pano_16x9_iP11_4_3mm FF26mm

180 degree Opposite View from where I was standing

Spring Clouds Panorama

A cloud panorama taken last year in the Spring at a local park. I liked the stacked clouds floating above the bare trees in the landscape and the small pop of red on the building in the background. I wanted the main center higher clouds to be in the center of the image. For this image, because of the area I wanted to capture, I would usually only need 2 rows of 2 images each if I was using a full frame camera. But because I was using a m43 camera with a smaller sensor, I used a 5th shot for the center area of the handheld panorama. I have found that if I shoot the 4 corners than 1 image for the center, the images align easier & looks better in the final panorama when using the m43 format cameras. Images taken @ 14mm with a Panasonic 14-140mm lens on a m43 Olympus Camera. I put each image in a layered Photoshop file & auto aligned the images in the layered Photoshop file. Then let Photoshop blend those layers for final image. I saw on the town web site notification that this park will be open again today! But only allowing ~ 10 cars in at a time and must use social distancing guidelines. Seems strange since it is a huge area and if one car leaves does that mean 1 car can go in?

Wood Stork Sunset Panoramas

I am going through images from previous trips to some of our trips to Florida. Here are a few panoramas of Wood Storks I photographed from the Wildlife Drive at J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. I was using a Sigma 300-800mm f/ 5.6 lens, all @ 800mm. The Wood Storks did not move around to much, but the ducks were constantly  moving about.

I first tried a 5 image panorama which is the featured image. Because they were moving around somewhat I manually aligned the images and used soft-edge masks to blend the images for the final image. Then I photographed a 3 image version again at 800mm.

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Single image from 5 img panorama, Wood Storks @ 800mm

WoodStorkPano_3img_sundown_800mm_3-8mm_1D_mkIII_80I9249

3 images panorama @ 800mm

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Single image shot @ 318mm showing group of Wood Storks. Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 lens

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

 

14 Image iPhone Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge Landscape Panorama

For this landscape I used the 1.5mm lens on the iPhone 11 Pro and shot 14 images. (Full Frame Camera Field of View equivalent is 13mm). I brought the files into Adobe Camera Raw to adjust the files and pull out detail and balance my settings. Than I open them into one layered Photoshop file with each image in a layer. Next in Photoshop I align and blend Automatically the 14 images into one final blended image. I still have layered sections and save the layered file just in case I need to touch up something. Then I flatten the image for the final image.

Foraging Sandhill Crane Panorama

I am still working on images from our trip to Lake Woodruff NWR in Deland Florida. But I thought it might be interesting to show how I am working on hand-held multi-image stacked panoramas of moving Sandhill Cranes or other moving subjects. This panorama of a foraging Sandhill Crane is made from 5 handheld images, assembled & aligned manually in Photoshop. Sometimes Photoshop does a good job aligning them automatically, but for handheld I tend to align the layers manually. Then edges are blended with soft edge masks in different layers to blend images to fit. On moving subjects you need to shoot more images than you normally use so you have a choice of areas to blend in for the final since the Crane is moving. Blank areas are  filled in with the content-aware fill feature in Photoshop. Images were taken with a 300mm f/4 lens. Final image is 22″ x 26″ @300ppi. Once you do a few you get a better idea of sections you need to photograph and how much overlap you need. For the Cranes I concentrated on photographing the head, neck & legs for one main area and then a couple more shots for the bulk of the body. I let Photoshop align & combine the head and leg images, then the bulk of the body. After that I aligned those 2 main sections for combining into the basic full image. There were some blank areas in the background edges, so I used Photoshop’s “Content Aware Fill” to fill in the main blank areas. When first starting it is best to shoot more images than you need. This gives you more options for the panorama. It is better to have too many images than not enough. After practice you will see that you get a “feel” for how many images you need. On a moving “subject” I concentrate on leg areas and then head & body areas. On this example it is more legs & head, then body areas since the head was angled down.

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 3.24.55 PM

Screen grab above showing area to be filled in using content aware fill.                        Below are images that made up the final Panorama. The first 3 are for the head & feet, the last 2 are for the bulk of the body and top background area.

pano setup_MG_7774-2

Sandhill Crane 5 Image Panorama

Another panorama from Lake Woodruff NWR. This time is a 5 horizontal image panorama, stacked for a vertical image.  I was using a 300mm Canon f/4 lens. It was strange on this trip that they seemed to not be wary of people. They would walk right near you as they were feeding in the grasses or walking by. It was definitely a fun trip!

Sandhill Crane Panoramas From Lake Woodruff NWR

On our trip to Lake Woodruff NWR in DeLand Florida we were hoping to see Sandhill Cranes. They did not disappoint us. The only problem was it was a spur of the moment trip so I traveled light and only chose the lenses I thought would be best. I did not want to load up the car with too many lenses to carry once we got there. So for long lenses I brought a 300mm with a close focusing capability and a Tamron 150-600mm zoom for versatility along with teleconverters. Usually the Sandhill Cranes are in large flocks or off in the distance. The first walk in to the trails, 2 Sandhills landed right by us within a couple of feet. They stuck with us for quite a while giving me the opportunity to get a lot of portraits. But to get the whole Sandhill Crane in, I resorted to shooting panoramas of them. All panos were shot handheld and assembled in Photoshop. The featured image is only 2 vertical images blended because the Crane was a little further away from me at this point.

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Sandhill Crane, 2 Vertical Image Panorama, 300mm lens

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7 horizontal images, handheld panorama, 300mm lens

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Sandhill Crane,  2 Vertical Image Panorama, 300mm lens

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Sandhill Crane Panorama, 7 Horizontal Images, 300mm

Lake Woodruff NWR Sunrise

When we were at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge I mainly used my iPhone 11 Pro for landscapes. I did not want to carry 2 larger cameras, so I used long lenses on my main camera and relied on my iPhone for landscapes. I have found that when shooting a series of images to blend for panoramas, you have to overlap the images even more on the iPhone than with a regular camera. I did not want to use the panorama feature on the iPhone because you usually get an odd warped distortion or curved section in the middle of the panorama even if the subject is straight across from you. I think this is mostly because of the extremely small lenses for the sensor in the iPhone. I also used the 16:9 format in the iPhone for many of these images instead of the standard 4:3 format.

The featured image is 3 horizontal images stacked vertically. I shot these with the 1.5mm lens, 4:3 format, iPhone 11 Pro. (Full Frame Equivalent is 13mm)

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4 horizontal image Panorama, 1.5mm lens

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7 horizontal image Cloud Panorama, 6mm lens

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8 Image Panorama, 1.5mm lens (At corner of path where path turns 90 degrees) This is also the look you get when using the built in pano feature in the iPhone even if it is not at a corner, but is a straight horizon in front of you. It distorts the sections right in front of you because  it is closer to the lens. That is why I shoot multiple images and assemble them in Photoshop.

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2 Image Panorama, 1.5mm lens

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3 Image Panorama, 4.3mm lens

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4 Horizontal Images, Vertical stacked Panorama, 4.3 mm lens

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