Lincoln Panoramas

Today I had hoped to be able to practice with the 6×9 Rangefinder but unable to make it work, I took a few panoramas of the cathedral in Lincoln instead.

The first is a photograph of the East view of Lincoln Cathedral. It is made up of 49 photographs in five rows of seven, using the same method that I used for the Alkborough panorama a few days ago. At this size it looks great but on closer inspection there are lots of ‘soft spots’ were the merge is not quite as crisp as it could have been.

49 photograph pano made of 5 rows of 7 images
49 photograph pano made of 5 rows of 7 images

This is a much smaller panorama of the houses opposite the East end of the cathedral. It has merged much better but disappointingly I have managed to capture the dog at an unfortunate angle.

4 photograph pano
4 photograph pano

I moved round to the south side to try again but when the 77 photos have merged in this image the horizontal lines have become quite curved. I suspect this has something to do with the way Lightroom merges all of the photographs together. I did try a few different settings but this was the best result I could get. I may try merging the photos together by hand in Photoshop to see if I can correct this problem.

77 photograph pano made of 6 rows
77 photograph pano made of 6 rows

At the West end of the cathedral there is a row of houses, several with blue plaques on, adjoining the stone gateway. The photograph is a good size and shape and is joined very neatly, probably the best of all that I have created today. I think three rows of five photographs will be the ideal size for my Constable panoramas.

15 photograph pano mande of 3 rows of 5
15 photograph pano mande of 3 rows of 5

Looking at the main entrance to the cathedral at the East side I initially took six photographs for a panorama. I took my time with this waiting for any ‘large heads’ of people coming close to my tripod to pass and also waiting for those people nearer the cathedral to move on a bit before I took their photograph again.

I’m pleased with the way it has joined and the clarity of the photograph. I think I should have allowed for a little more foreground in front of the cathedral though.

6 photograph pano
6 photograph pano

Building on the initial panorama I went on to take another seven rows of photographs. The horizontal lines are slightly bowed and again, at this size I think it looks pretty good but on closer inspection there are one or two areas of softness where it has been difficult to merge.

48 photograph pano made of 8 rows of 6
48 photograph pano made of 8 rows of 6

The following two photographs, taken from outside the castle are of the same view, the first is a panorama made of just six photographs and the other is made of 35 photographs. The six photograph pano has merged very well and every area of the photograph is sharp.

The larger pano has a lot more detail in parts of it but also has those patches of softness in some areas.

6 photograph pano
6 photograph pano
35 photograph pano made up of 5 rows of 7
35 photograph pano made up of 5 rows of 7

Before I really make my mind up, I will arrange for some of the photographs to be printed out at various sizes so that I can be very sure of the optimum number of photographs to use in my final panoramas.

Alkborough Panorama

Today I thought I would practice taking panorama photographs. I went over to Alkborough where I know there is a nice view of the rivers Ouse and Trent joining to become the Humber.

This is the normal view that I might capture from this spot.

Alkborough Pano-1-Edit

It was a bitterly cold day and the ground was muddier than I have ever known it but despite the numb fingers and appalling conditions I set my camera up on a tripod where I would be able to sweep it round for a good view.

Alkborough Pano-2To compensate for any distortion that can occur as the camera is moved around I used a bracket that holds the camera slightly backward of the tripod, giving it a smaller arc to travel through.

Before I started I hand-held the camera and took a series of portrait photographs freehand, trying to keep the camera even and trying to get a reasonable amount of overlap in each shot. I merged them together in Lightroom to create the photograph below. I actually started by taking photographs quite high up and as I moved round my hands dropped meaning that I needed to crop the image quite heavily to clean up the dead space.

Alkborough Pano-3-Pano

I used the spirit level in the tripod to ensure that the tripod was perfectly level and then I also used the gyroscope in the camera to ensure that as I moved the camera round it stayed level.

I used the markings around the tripod to mark where my panorama would start and stop, I also took a shot every time I came to mark.

I merged the photos together in Lightroom but because some images didn’t fit together well on the right I chose to crop that part of the image out. I also converted the image to black and white.

Alkborough Pano-14-Edit-Edit

My eyesight is not very good. I have an astigmatism and wear vari-focal lenses and tend to rely quite heavily on my camera’s auto-focus. I found that as I was moving the camera round the auto-focus was zooming in and out and I wasn’t sure how this would affect the final images. The next lot of images I took on manual focus. I picked a point in the centre of the scene, focussed on that and took all of the shots using the same setting.

Alkborough Pano-51-Pano-Edit

I wasn’t satisfied with this view and moved down the hill for a change of scene and, because it was so cold, I thought a little walk might warm me up a bit. I set the camera and tripod up similarly for this next view.

I like this better even though the curve in the hill does make it look a bit distorted.

Alkborough Pano-136-Pano-Edit

For my final attempt I actually did three sweeps across the scene. I took one where the horizon was at the top of the viewfinder, one where it was two thirds up the viewfinder and a third where it was just a third up the viewfinder.

I wasn’t sure how I would merge all three rows of images together but Lightroom coped with it brilliantly. I then just converted it to black and white.

Alkborough Pano-136-Pano-2-Edit

I think this is my favourite. I like that the trees are fully in view and although you can’t see it on here, I am impressed by the amount of detail in the scene.

Lois Connor

Lois Connor is a New York based photographer that is known for her black and white 7″ x 17″ large format panoramic platinum prints. She has photographed and exhibited internationally but she has a real affinity for China and has photographed the country extensively.

Connor sensitises all of her paper with platinum in order to print the photographs herself. With the ease of digital this is part of the process that isn’t often focussed on these days.

These are a few of my favourite Connor photographs.

This is a nice video interview in which Conner explains her background and how she became interested in the Ming Dynasty and came to photograph so much in China.

I really like the look of these large panoramic, black and white film photographs. The detail is incredible, the large scale is impressive and because they are in black and white they have a timeless quality. Many of the images include movement because of they have a long exposure which gives them a sense of fluidity.

I wonder if I can do something similar with my FMP Constable images. I’d certainly like to do something that includes this kind of detail and is viewed in large scale. It would certainly solve the problem of me not being able to fit everything I want to into the camera frame.

Baptism

This week at Scunthorpe Baptist Church there was a baptism service where two of the members of my youth group were baptised. I took some photos of them and one or two of the other people that were baptised too.

The lighting in the church is very dark and very orange so I have converted the photographs to black and white to compensate.

These are some of the photos I took of the occasion.