Big Ben's Panorama Tutorials

Photography tips

Choosing the angles

Even though you are photographing everything you can see from one point, there are benefits to be had from carefully choosing where you point your camera for each shot. For example, lens flare can be a big problem and there are generally two approaches to this.

Lens Flare

Shoot one image with the sun in the middle of one frame. If you're using a circular fisheye and shooting 3 images then you will only have the sun in one image, the lens flare will be directly above and below the sun and not at some strange angle, and you will also have a seam that runs through the shadow of the tripod making it easier to remove your own shadow.

Another approach, most often seen in IPIX panoramas, is to place the sun at the edge of an image so that the two adjacent images get a similar dose of lens flare.  Having the sun in the picture will invariably create an image with different contrast to the rest of the panorama. I prefer the first approach, giving me a broad area across which to blend the contrast to match the adjacent images.

Reducing parallax errors

OK, in theory if everything is set up perfectly you don't have parallax errors...  but one way to minimise them is to shoot directly at the things that are closest to you.  Placing them in the middle of the frame and away from seams reduces the possibility of parallax errors.

Footprints and trampled grass

Many people set up their tripod, shoot the panorama and then shoot the nadir patch to remove the tripod.  By this time there are footprints all over the place, or a circle of squashed grass from where you've walked around the tripod.  Figure out where you're going to put your tripod and then shoot your nadir patch before setting the tripod up and making a mess.

Stand at 90 to the main light source (usually the sun) when shooting the nadir patch image to remove your shadow.


Edge sharpness

Edge to edge sharpness (or lack of it) can be as much of a problem as light fall off. For this reason it is important to shoot at an appropriate aperture to maximise sharpness. Circular fisheye lenses are generally quite soft around the edges at apertures wider than f8. I could supply sample images but I won't. Test your own lenses to see what YOUR optimum apertures are.


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This page, its contents and style, are the responsibility of the author and do not represent the views, policies or opinions of The University of Melbourne. All photographs Ben Kreunen 2000

Ben Kreunen <bernardk@unimelb.edu.au>
Department of Pathology
Last modified: February 24, 2003