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About the Environment and Panorama Photography

As with any landscape photography, the range and depth of color are best brought out by photographing the panorama during the 'golden hours', which happen just before sunrise and just after sunset.

We have looked briefly at the movement of the camera but, whichever landscape you decide to photograph, it is also worth considering any movement on the scene, before you get to the process of taking the images. Remember that the movement of clouds and the sun's arc through the sky means that the individual images will differ if too much time elapses between shots. Changing the exposure settings to compensate for this is not really an option as this will cause discontinuity in post-processing.

Architecture can be particularly problematic as shadows are more clearly defined in straight lines. Wind will cause trees to bend or leaves to shake. Stray objects may get blown into the frame and rain may cause changes to surface colors. You could compensate for all of this in post-processing, but ideally stillness in the scene will make life a little easier, making the final result a little better.

Under any circumstances, working at a sedate pace will cause complications, just as working too hastily with insufficient preparation. Being prepared for nature's little eventualities means that you should allow very little time to elapse between the taking of the first photograph and the last. This will make it less likely that atmospheric or lighting conditions will compromise the continuity of the images.

I cannot begin to tell you how many panoramas I have attempted (and ruined) in the past, containing doppelgänger dogs and floating torsos. Therefore, also try to consider how people and animals will affect your panorama, particularly if they are moving through the desired frame. They may end up occupying a position that will place them where you intend to overlap the images for stitching or they will appear in two of the images rather than just one. Try to wait for a quiet period when the scene is least populated.

A function of the PTGui software allows you to highlight objects that you would like erased during the stitching process and, though it takes a little practice, it works well for the majority of the time. Of course it is best to avoid this in the first place wherever possible.

In short, decide in advance the elements of the scene that you feel are integral to the final panorama and run through, in your mind, how you will work through the shots.

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