How to Create a Bad Pano

Mt Charleston Panorama

Mt. Charleston near Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

This panoramic is pretty boring. It’s a good memory for my wife and I, but other than that there isn’t much right with this photo. The sky is boring, the foreground is nothing special, there are no peaks in the mountains to draw your attention, and the worst part is…nothing is in perfect focus.

So, why did I shoot this and why am I telling this story? I shot it because I was trying something new and practicing a technique to see what would happen. I’m telling you so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

The Technique:

    1. Hold the camera in a portrait orientation
    2. Set the exposure to manual so that won’t change while taking the shots
    3. Set the camera to release the shutter one frame at a time
    4. While standing up, turn your body either far to the left or right and point the camera to spot beyond where you want the pano to begin
    5. Start pivoting your body at your hips in the opposite direction of Step 4, and then start shooting
    6. Doing your best to keep the camera level continue shooting and pivoting at the hips until you’ve gone beyond where you want the pano to end

Once you get your photos uploaded to your computer use software to combine the pano in whatever way you choose. I used Photoshop 6 which does a very good job as compared to versions and years past.

The good news is, this technique definitely works very well for stitching the photos together (at least it did with PS6). Sure, you can go out and buy a pano head to make sure everything is setup perfect, but if the software is stitching it together well, save the money.

Fixing the problems isn’t really difficult. Make sure there is something interesting to include somewhere in the photo (just like any other photo) and make sure your shutter speed is high enough to not show the motion of the camera (that’s why mine is not in focus).

~ Daniel Kmiecik


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