Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 2nd Sep 2015
Creating panoramic images of Landscapes is a widely used technique - but what about panoramic images of wildlife subjects ?
This is a short article that explains when, how and why you should use this technique if the opportunity to do so arises.
If you are too close to your subject to fit it in the frame with your telephoto lens then this technique can work for you - yes you can move further away or even use a lens with a zoom, but this is not going to achieve the desired effect.
This technique is achieved by taking VERTICAL images of your subject. Start by first taking an out of focus image of the ground ! - this will then alert you later in Lightroom that it is the start of your sequence from which you will build your panoramic image.
Next - take 3 or 4 images of your subject, making sure that a part of the image in your first shot overlaps a part of the image in the next and so on until you have taken all the shots you need - also make sure that you leave space on the left and on the right of the subject.
At the end of the sequence take another out of focus shot of the ground so that you know where your sequence ends.
> In Lightroom CC - select the images you want to use - and then enable the LENS CORRECTION option for the lens you have used.
> then use the "PANORAMA" option in the "PHOTO MERGE" menu - your images will be merged into a panorama.
> ** Note that it is recommended that you take these images in MANUAL MODE to guarantee that all the images have exactly the same EXPOSURE
The main reason for this technique is so that you can create an image of your subject that has a really good "bokeh"... the effect of the "bokeh" is improved because you are closer to your subject. Moving further back would help you fit the animal into your frame without having to create a panoramic image, but the "bokeh" will also be affected and the background will become more distracting.
In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. - it is a Japanese word meaning "blur" - wikipedia
In this first example I took 4 images as quickly as I could hoping that the subject did not move a significant amount.
1/200 sec @ f4 ISO 400 white balance 5200K - for all images
THE FINAL RESULT:
Just to show the incredible power and versatility of the new lightroom Panorama feature, I created this next example with 3 of the images from EXAMPLE 1 and a single image taken when the Lion yawned.
I had to first modify two of the original images as there was too much of the Lions head in each of these two images.
Here you will see how I cropped off part of the face so as not to make it the prominent feature in the image. My reason for this is beacuse I wanted to insert the yawning image in between the two, and wanted to make the yawning image the most prominent of them all. The Panorama software stitched the images into a panorama of a yawning Lion.
1) I first cropped off the right hand side of the 1st original image
2) I also cropped off a bit of the left hand side of the 3rd original image
3) This image of the Lion yawning replaced original image no 2
4) I did nothing to the original image no 4
THE FINAL RESULT:
The software did an amazing job of stitching together these 4 images into the final yawning shot below:
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The Wild 4 team made my trip to South Africa a truly memorable experience. Photographing some of the orphaned captive animals at the private game reserve on the extension was a great way to start the holiday, and Stu's tuition on techniques, composition and familiarity with your gear was the foundation for the rest of the trip. In Kruger we had some wonderful sightings - including the 'Big 5' all in one day on two consecutive days! The highlights were spending 20 minutes with a leopard cub in a tree no more than 30 metres away, and on the last day watching a pride of 14 lions stalking a herd of zebra for more than an hour - just wonderful experiences! I'm sure the quality of the shots I took was infinitely better than if I'd gone on a regular safari, as the whole focus of the experience is expertly designed to maximise photographic opportunities - including only 3 photographers in the specially designed vehicle. Stu's knowledge, enthusiasm and patience were boundless, and Ann's spotting and catering skills were also priceless! I hope to visit Africa again soon, and without doubt Wild 4 will be my first option.
Greg Morgan, UK
I found Wild4 through an article in Popular Photography magazine about how to choose a photo safari. They were one of five recommended in the article. After checking them all out, I saw that Stu and Wild4 offered the kind of experience that I wanted: 1) Small groups of dedicated photographers 2) Variety in wildlife viewing 3) Tuition on photography and wildlife behavior 4) Good communication and organisation. I can say that Wild4 met and exceeded all expectations on all points (and then some). 1) We used one vehicle for three photographers. Stu is a trained photographer himself, so his goal was always to get us into the best position with the best light. Having only three on the tour meant plenty of room for equipment and the ability to shoot from either side of the vehicle when surrounded by a herd of elephants! It also gave us the flexibility to be patient and wait for the shot. 2) The three places we visited each provided a unique experience and wonderful variety in scenery and wildlife viewing. 3) Stu's tuition was excellent. It was there if we needed it but never pushed. Tips, reminders, anecdotes on wildlife behavior. All given with patience and good humor. 4) From the first email, the communication was timely & clear. Justyna was a joy to work with and handled the back-office part of the tour seamlessly. It can't be as easy as she makes it seem. Wild4 didn't provide the wildlife or the spectacular sunsets that we experienced, but they put us in position to enjoy and capture a little piece of it in our cameras and in our memories. Our Safari was amazing and I would not have changed a thing...well, maybe I would have eaten a little less. If you're looking for a Photo Safari, there is nothing to consider. Just go ahead and contact Wild4 Photographic Safaris. You will not be sorry.
Doug Croft, USA