I often take Panorama’s, but seldom actually stitch them together.
So let me step back a minute. Panorama’s are a wide span photo, either vertical or horizontal. These days you can do them with your camera or point & shoot, where in some ways they are easier. Just press the button to go… and again to stop. Wa-la.
To do them with DSLR is a little more complicated. In Photoshop, you do a Photomerge, which is hidden under the obscure tree File – Automate – Photomerge. Select the photos you want to merge and it will whir and wiz until it comes up with a compilation of your photos stitched together. You’ll have to do some cropping or Content Aware patching to fill in any holes… but wa-la… the Pano.
A good tip when you do the Pano in camera is to stick up one finger to designate that you are beginning a pano… then take your series, trying to remain level to the horizon and constant focus & exposure as you sweep your photos across, then stick up 2 fingers to designate that you are done.
This way when you are going through you digital negatives you know you have done a pano and can stitch it together using Photomerge in Photoshop.
Admittedly, I will take them, but rarely get around to or bother to stitch them together. Maybe it’s because they just don’t inspire me as great photos, they are difficult to print, and hard to email. Some subject matters do lend themselves to the pano format however. So don’t necessarily blow them off. Give them a try to enhance the story telling of your trip.
Slots canyons are a landscape that is reminiscent of the desert southwest. They are completely unique to Arizona / Utah area. It’s not like they are common in Florida or Maine. They are canyonesque shapes and textures that are unique unto themselves.
Here in Arizona they are common through the Indian Reservations… which unfortunately makes them expensive. But there are other less accessible places to enjoy them, though they do require knowledge, agility, and a hike to get there.
They also require, if you’re so inclined, finesse in capturing them photographically. Slot canyons are an illusive subject matter with their sandstone form and varying light. They represent an abstract challenge to capture visually.
For me, they are difficult to capture. Maybe because I tend to photograph tangible subjects like wildlife and landscape. Photographing something abstract takes imagination. You must see the shapes, contours and contrasts without washing out the colors. It’s also technically difficult because the poor (dark) lighting conditions require a tripod … and a cloudy white balance setting promotes the orangey hue. Pity I don’t have more opportunity to practice.
Have you been to… or heard of Alstrom Point? It’s on the back side of Lake Powell, north of Page. We have seen photos of this amazing place and wanted to check it out for ourselves. If you go to Page, continue west to Big Water. Stop at Big Water Visitor Center for a fascinating education in this dinosaur rich area, with over 4000 dinosaur’s being discovered just in the last 10 years, many newly discovered species. They’ll give you a detailed map on how to get to Alstrom Point. But essentially it’s behind Big Water along a long 2 hour dirt road.
The overlook was nothing short of stunning.
We camped out so we could get sunset, sunrise, and star photos. We enjoyed it so much, we stayed 2 nights. It was one of those magical moments that you remember for a life time. Watching the full moon rise over the lake was fantastic. This orange ball rose just behind Gunsight Butte, lighting up the sky like it burst into flames.
Because we were there 2 nights we got to do sunrise and sunset, as well as night stars.
Pictures don’t do it justice. It was a fabulous couple days.
We have been to Antelope Canyon Slot canyons maybe half a dozen times over the years. The first time we saw the beams of light and had the place virtually to ourselves… that was quite some time ago (decades). We have seen the crowds increase, but never such as we saw this past weekend.
Yikes! What a ZOOOOOOO. I would never go back. They pack so many people into the canyons that it’s just not fun. It’s bumper to bumper people, and you can hardly get a photo in. It’s a money factory… they pump through 400 people an hour in the short distance in Upper Antelope Canyon. We found it absolutely disgusting. It was on and off raining all weekend. We were fortunate enough to go during a reprieve from the rain. The next day it was driving rain… and they were loading up the buses come rain or shine… no matter that there would be no sunshine, decent photo opportunities, and miserable muddy conditions. How unfortunate that nature has become such a tourist attraction that they can hold your credit card hostage with no consideration for the personal experience.
Having said that, our friends from the U.K. had never seen it and had made the special request to see this marvel… so we went. We shot up, and got shots devoid of people, which really doesn’t tell the story.
Lee’s Ferry is that desolate less talked about destination outside of Page. Everyone hears about Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon, but few are familiar with Lee’s Ferry. Lee’s Ferry is the launch point for Grand Canyon rafters.
It’s cliffs and buttes are part of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and Soap Creek area. We had intended to explore the area with our boat, but apparently the boat had other ideas and wasn’t up for the trip. So instead we did some hiking. Our dog, Journey, kept us from doing anything to strenuous which was fine.
The area is very cool with all it’s rock formations and boulder ‘art’.
Being in the middle of nowhere the stars were brilliant and picturesque. Next time we hope to take the boat and see Lee’s Ferry from an entire different perspective.
So I bought a 10-stop ND filter for Scott Stulberg’s workshop… but never got a chance to use it. So when we were in Lee’s Ferry and did the waterfall hike, I had to try it out. The 10 stop ND filter is pitch black. You can’t see anything through it when you use it. It’s main purpose is to give waterfalls that silky ‘cotton candy’ motion blur in bright daylight. You focus and compose your photo first, then put the blind filter on the camera (on the tripod), and do a long exposure. Fascinating tool!