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Take a Walk on the Wide Side panoramas

Glenn Randall presents “Take a Walk on the Wide Side” on February 20th, 2017 at 7pm, Lone Tree Civic Center – a lecture on how to compose, shoot, and stitch together single and multi-row panoramas. It’s a wide, wide world out there. Certain subjects just cry out to be photographed in a panoramic format. Many of Glenn’s favorite images from his Sunrise from the Summit project, in which he photographed sunrise (or sunset) from the summit of all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, proved to be panoramas. Something about that ultra-wide angle of view, sometimes as much as a full 360 degrees, captured the exhilarating, humbling, and awe-inspiring experience of being a tiny speck on top of the world.

panoramas

Aspen panorama, taken along the Colorado Trail near the South Mt. Elbert trailhead, San Isabel National Forest, Colorado


The easiest way to shoot a panorama is to take a single frame and crop it to whatever aspect ratio works best for the subject. There’s no law that says that an image composed within a 3:2 frame must be shown with that same aspect ratio. Cropping has two disadvantages, however. The first is that you are limited in angle of view horizontally to the angle of view of your widest lens. The second disadvantage concerns print size. Panoramas look good printed big, but the biggest print you can make is limited by the resolution of a single frame.

panoramas

Swirling cirrus clouds over the Fisher Towers, Utah


The solution is to shoot a series of images, rotating the camera between shots so each frame overlaps the next, then stitch all the frames together in software. With this approach, it’s possible to create enormous panoramas—as much as 360 degrees wide—with great quality. Learning to shoot and stitch panoramas from multiple frames will open up a new world of photographic possibilities. No longer will you be limited to seeing the world through the rectangular frame defined by your viewfinder, with its rigid 2:3 aspect ratio. That view, as pleasing as it may be, is only the starting point in your search for the most evocative possible composition. Take a walk on the wide side, and you’ll never again be content to see the world in just one way.

panoramas

Milky Way arch over Turret Arch and South Window, Arches National Park, Utah

About Glenn Randall

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