Choosing Wide Angle or Panoramic

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When your eyes pan across in a spectacular landscape and you want to capture that image, a wide-angle lens just might not give you quite what you envisioned. But four images stitched together for a panoramic view might produce the scene that compelled you to stop and photograph it.

Wide-angle lenses can give you beautiful photos that capture more of a scene than you can get with standard lenses, but sometimes they can fall short of producing exactly what you’re looking for. In this session, professional photographer Layne Kennedy explains how a panoramic photo can sometimes more effectively capture a scene that you panned across with your own eyes.

Panoramic Image Condenses View

Layne takes the viewer to a lush woodsy landscape, highlighted by soft blooms and gentle meadow. The scene contains too much to capture in a single wide-angle photo because the wide-angle landscape photo causes everything to get smaller, but a panoramic image can condense the view while still retaining the sight line.

Says Layne: “With today’s technology and the advent of digital and panoramic’s being stitched together, I can look at the same scene as I had seen it, in a 50mm or 80mm perspective, and I can stitch those together. I’m getting it wide, but I’m getting it with a medium telephoto lens by taking a series of shots and then letting Photoshop stitch them together for me to get a wide view without using a wide-angle lens.”

Pro Tip: Don’t Use Auto-Focus

The key to capturing gorgeous panoramic views is to avoid auto-focus. If that function is on, the camera may keep trying to find a spot to focus on, thereby throwing off the balance for the computer that tries to stitch together the images.

You’ll learn tips on how to focus on the most important part of your scene and pan from side to side, overlapping your shots as you go. Layne’s guidance brings you right into that scene and shows you exactly what he saw and what he felt he needed to capture to reproduce the landscape that enticed him to stop and shoot.

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