About six months ago I was barely delving into shooting landscapes when I decided to head over to Kerry Park for an epic sunset (one of the most beautiful views of downtown Seattle and most photographed views to boot). While I had fun shooting the pinks and oranges on the horizon I also learned a lot, mostly from the other photographers that inevitably filled the small park. One of the most interesting things I learned is about taking panoramic images.
Yes, the iPhone does a pretty fabulous job (which really pains me to say, but it's true) of grabbing some nice panoramic views... if you can manage to keep it straight as you pan. But, just like any iPhone image, the resolution is limited and the quality will never be (or so I hope) as good as shooting with your average DSLR. That being said, there are several things I had to find out for myself (that shooting a pano shot on the iPhone wont' teach you) to help me capture a much more complete and well-composed panoramic image than simply making several shots in a straight line across the horizon.
There was an older gentleman at Kerry Park that day with a pano-plate, an add-on device where your camera sits that speaks to your DSLR, automatically taking several layered images that stitch together to make a beautiful panoramic shot. At the time, I didn't quite understand why all those photos were necessary, but after playing in Photoshop and out in the field... I'm starting to get the hang of things.
While I was in Iceland and down by the harbor in the capital city of Reykjavik, I decided to try my hand at a panoramic shot of the bay... from the image below you can understand why that seemed like a good idea. While I did take many images layered one over the other, I realized later (while trying to stitch them) that it still hadn't been enough. Panoramic images pull together in a sort of bow tie shape. You have to take shots at least two images deep as well as several wide in order to get the undistorted final image you see below. While it wasn't perfect, it was a great intro to understanding these times of images.