"Sharing life's adventures through photography"

Panorama Photos

Panorama photos are fun to make if done correctly. Some subjects or scenes won't make good panos, but the results of those that do can sometimes be jaw-dropping.

There are certain guidelines that should be followed when making panos. A good tripod with a level helps. Set up and level the tripod so that when panning the camera, it rotates level to the horizon. The camera needs to be mounted in a vertical position on the tripod and it also should be level or plumb. An accessory hot-shoe level really comes in handy here.

Next comes adjusting the camera. It should be set on manual focusing so that focus doesn't change each time the shutter is released. Also exposure should be set to manual so it doesn't change during the panning process. White balance should be taken off of "Auto" and set to a predetermined setting such as daylight or maybe 5000K. As you can see by now, we are striving for consistency in each photo to make the stitching process go smoothly.

One last key element is to overlap each frame by about 1/3 from the previous one. You can see how I've done that in the following nine images. In fact, some of the images may even be overlapped closer to 1/2 frame as I would rather overlap too much than too little.

photo #1 photo #2 photo #3 photo #4 photo #5
photo #6 photo #7 photo #8 photo #9

The first photo (top left) was taken facing due south while the last photo (bottom right) was taken facing due north. I rotated the camera on the tripod from left to right after each picture being ever so careful as not to disturb any of my settings and captured the sequence of images.

merged photos

This is what the photos look like after being stitched together using Photomerge in Adobe Photoshop CS5. This view covers a little over 180 degrees from side to side.


This is what the panorama looks like after cropping away the irregular edges and squaring up the corners. The electrical wires overhead were a distraction to me, so I took the liberty of cloning them out as you'll see in the next picture.

cropped and cloned

This is the final image. I think the photo is much more appealing and pleasant to look at after cloning out the distracting overhead wires.

Click here to see a larger finished version of the panorama.

This panorama is of the Shelby County Court House and grounds in Shelbyville, Indiana, and was taken Memorial Day weekend, 2014.

The nine original images used in the photomerge were each taken with a full-frame Nikon D700 camera mounted on a tripod with an AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm F/2.8D IF-ED lens at 20mm. The exposure for each image was 3.00 sec. at f/16 at ISO 200 and white balance set at 5300K.

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Last updated or revised on July 21, 2020.
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