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Photography

Inspiring

Panoramic

Photography FEBRUARY 2014 / PAGE 1


What is Panoramic Photography

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panoramic photo is simply any image which has two or more shots stitched together to make it appear as one large photograph. Creating a panorama is very useful if you don’t own super wide lenses, as often you can achieve a similar effect. Panoramic images don’t just have to be horizontal, you can also merge images vertically. Panoramic photography is a technique of photography, using specialized equipment or software, that captures images with elongated fields of view. It is sometimes known as wide format photography. The term has also been applied to a photograph that is cropped to a relatively wide FEBRUARY 2014 / PAGE 2


aspect ratio. While there is no formal division between “wide-angle” and “panoramic” photography, “wide-angle” normally refers to a type of lens, but using this lens type does not necessarily make an image a panorama. An image made with an ultra wide-angle fisheye lens covering the normal film frame of 1:1.33 is not automatically considered to be a panorama. An image showing a field of view approximating, or greater than, that of the human eye – about 160° by 75° – may be termed panoramic. This generally means it has an aspect ratio of 2:1 or larger, the image being at least twice as wide as it is high. The resulting images take the form of a wide strip. Some panoramic images have aspect ratios of 4:1 and sometimes 10:1, covering fields of view of up to 360 degrees. Both the aspect ratio and coverage of field are important factors in defining a true panoramic image.

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History

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ne of the first recorded patents for a panoramic camera was submitted by Joseph Puchberger in Austria in 1843 for a hand-cranked, 150째 field of view, 8-inch focal length camera that exposed a relatively large Daguerreotype, up to 24 inches (610 mm) long. A more successful and technically superior panoramic camera was assembled the next year by Friedrich von Martens in Germany in 1844. His camera, the Megaskop, added the crucial feature of set gears which offered a relatively steady panning speed. As a result, the camera properly exposed the photographic plate, avoiding unsteady speeds that can create an unevenness in exposure, called banding. Martens was employed by Lerebours, a photographer/publisher. It is also possible that Martens camera was perfected before Puchberger patented his camera. Because of the high cost of materials and the technical difficulty of properly exposing the plates, Daguerreotype panoramas, especially those pieced together from several plates (see below) are rare.

An 1851 panoramic showing San Francisco from Rincon Hill by photographer Martin Behrmanx. It is believed that the panorama initially had eleven plates, but the original daguerreotypes no longer exist.

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After the advent of wet-plate collodion process, photographers would take anywhere from two to a dozen of the ensuing albumen prints and piece them together to form a panoramic image (see: Segmented). This photographic process was technically easier and far less expensive than Daguerreotypes. Some of the most famous early panoramas were assembled this way by George N. Barnard, a photographer for the Union Army in the American Civil War in the 1860s. His work provided vast overviews of fortifications and terrain, much valued by engineers, generals, and artists alike.

View from the top of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, Albumen prints, February, 1864, by George N. Barnard

Following the invention of flexible film in 1888, panoramic photography was revolutionised. Dozens of cameras were marketed, many with brand names heavily indicative of their time. Cameras such as the Cylindrograph, Wonder Panoramic, Pantascopic and Cyclo-Pan, are some examples of panoramic cameras.

Center City Philadelphia panorama, from 1913.

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How To Shoot a Panoramic Image

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Tips to shot panoramic photo:

1. Don’t use a flash -The flash changes every picture and leads to problems when merging the images later. 2. Try shooting in portrait - When shooting a landscape panorama, shooting in portrait gives greater height to the resulting image. 3. Upgrade your RAM - Stitching images together is an intensive process, and ensuring you have a fast computer with plenty of memory is important. 4. Use a wide angle lens - This way, it requires fewer pictures to do a full 360° panorama. 5. Use a tripod - Unless you have a very steady hand, and a good eye for the horizon, a tripod makes the process far easier.

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