I’m not able to visualize how a panoramic-format image may fit here on the blog page, but here goes. Yesterday began poorly while trying to hit the little white ball around the pasture (golf course), but improved as I drove south of Alliance looking for photographic subjects — primarily the thunderstorms that the weather station was talking about. I try to carry a portable weather radio when storm hunting and the U. S. Weather Service out of Cheyenne were tracking a storm and possible tornado east of Harrisburg and moving northeast. I won’t claim to be a techno-nerd, just a nerd, but the handheld GPS unit showed a nearby county road that would put me in an ideal location to watch the storm as it moved safely by (hopefully!) as it traveled northeast. Panoramic format images are becoming easier and easier, both with software like Photoshop and with the new point and shoot cameras, and other cameras, that offer “sweep panoramic” capabilities. Click the shutter and sweep the camera across the subject and the camera does all of the work. Here I made five or six vertical-format, full frame images–no tripod, just compose each frame in the viewfinder keeping an “overlap”, something at the right edge of the first frame included in the left edge of the next frame and so-on, “overlapping” about 20 percent within each frame. I’d also defaulted the camera to manual mode, made an exposure test (of the brightest sky on the image’s left) then set the camera to the correct f-stop and shutter speed, AND SET THE 35MM WIDE ANGLE LENS TO MANUAL FOCUS. Later in Photoshop at home, I selected the six frames, GIVING ALL THE SAME BASIC RAW DEVELOPMENT DEFAULTS SO THEY WOULD “MATCH”, AND SELECTED the “merge” tool in Photoshop — it did the substantial processing to merge the individual images — once I began working with the single panoramic image I added some usual refinements, dodging and burning, contrast, sharpness and the standard post-processing tools that were once completed in the darkroom under an enlarger. BUT THE SOFTWARE did nearly all of the pano work faultlessly!
While watching the storm clouds gain strength and move northeast, a goldfinch landed on a near-by thistle, giving me time to remove the 35mm wide angle and mount a standard, 70-300mm zoom lens on the camera.
I hope to do a series of panoramic images like the one above across the Nebraska Panhandle as a personal assignment, but I’ll always try to keep an eye open for the “smaller subjects” that share our space and time.