While working on a project in South Salt Lake for work, I continued up I-215 toward Parley’s Canyon for my lunch break to grab a few photos of what turned out to be a rather awesome looking sky. I found a little trailhead and made my way about 100 yards up the trail to an overlook of I-80 Eastbound below. It was a pretty steep drop off, but not as bad as Horseshoe Bend or other places I’ve been.
I set up my tripod, swapped out my lenses, set my camera to manual and started capturing the photos. If you’ve never taken a panoramic photo before, here are a few simple pointers on what to do.
- Assure your tripod is level. Most higher-end tripods have a bubble that will let you know when you are level, so make sure you are. You can also use the level in your camera if you have one (my Canon 60D does have a level so I can see when I am level via my LCD screen).
- If possible, shoot with your frame in portrait position. It may require more photos, but it will give you more room on top and bottom (thus a not-as-narrow panorama).
- Use your LCD screen to identify your first position and make sure you are in focus. If there is a lot of variance in distances in your panorama, use a higher f-stop (to allow a larger depth of field). The screen will also help you identify how far you need to move your camera for each new photo.
- Use manual mode (because if your camera adjusts anything (shutter speed, aperture, etc.), you will get different lighting in each photo, making the stitching process and final product “off” just a little.
- Start in one spot, snap your photo, then rotate the camera to your next location and snap another photo. You do want some overlap with each new photo so that there is a more gradual transition between photos to allow for any lens distortion.
- Once you’ve made your way around for your desired panoramic scene, try making any adjustments or angles and capture it again (it will save you a trip later just in case something didn’t capture right the first time).
I had to look up how to do the stitching using Lightroom, and here is the tutorial I used for that part of my panorama.
I was pretty pleased with how this photo turned out, but there are a few changes I would make if I were to go there again (which I might do in the spring when the mountainside isn’t quite as yellow with the cold of winter and lack of snow). I would also take a few more photos on this scene, because my 10mm lens distorted the road at the bottom of the photo that it wasn’t able to match up with the road from the preceding photo so I had to crop it out. There was also a vehicle in the frame that threw off where the yellow line in the road should have matched up, so had I made another pass on this capture I probably would have been able to include the entire bottom of the photo, thus showing the road as well. But the vastness of the canyon, the white clouds in the blue sky, and the intersecting roads were the purpose of this capture, but helped me understand a technique I can use in many, many, many other landscapes I hope to visit this year.