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Wild4 African Photo Safaris

Specialist small group photo safaris to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia

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SEPTEMBER 2015 - Wildlife PANORAMAS - Male Lion, South Africa

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.

WHEN ?
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.

HOW ?
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

WHY ?
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

EXAMPLE 1:
In this first example I took 4 images as quickly as I could hoping that the subject did not move a significant amount.

Settings:
MANUAL MODE
1/200 sec @ f4 ISO 400 white balance 5200K - for all images

1)


2)


3)


4)


THE FINAL RESULT:



EXAMPLE 2:

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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1 Comment

  • Lovely to be “too close”.  Great idea to get the wonderful stitched combo with the crops.

    Witta Priester - May 25th, 2016 at 5:38pm

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Testimonials I have just returned from a fantastic custom safari to the Kruger with Wild4. This was my second trip in the Kruger with Wild4 and everything from start to finish was absolutely perfect. I absolutely cannot imagine doing this sort of trip there with anyone else. Things were off to a positive from way before we landed. Justyna was as helpful and patient as ever from day 1 and I must say that her suggestions were all spot on. Not only did she sort everything out for us and made it look easy (although I very much doubt it was), but the information she gave us prepared us well for the trip. As soon as we met up with Stefan after we arrived, we had nothing else to "worry" about except take pictures. He was not only great as a guide with his experience, sharp eyes, and genuine interest in wildlife becoming obvious quickly, but he was also excellent as a driver who knows what works and what doesn't photographically and was thus able to position the vehicle perfectly. It was not uncommon for one of us to just say a couple of words about what we wanted to try photographically and he'd immediatelly be on it, getting us in the perfect position while adhering to the rules and keeping the wildlife's interest as a top priority - something all members of the group I was in appreciated immensly. Thank you Stefan, Justyna, and Stu for making this trip happen for us! I look forward to being back with you guys in the future!

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Testimonials For thirty-five years I had dreamed of going on a photographic safari in South Africa. This year I finally realized that dream and it is fair to say that my hopes and expectations were surpassed in every way. I had done extensive research on African photographic safaris on the Internet before settling on Wild 4 photo safaris. What an inspired choice that turned out to be! This family company run by Stu Porter and his wife, Justyna, and aided by Stu’s parents, John and Ann, provides the perfect safari experience for photographers of every skill level.  Stu is one South Africa’s finest wild-life photographers and a first-class teacher into the bargain. His knowledge of the habitat and habits of the animals and birds to be found in Kruger National Park is simply encyclopaedic. I was accompanied on the trip by my 25 year-old daughter, Amy, and we eagerly adapted to the early morning wake-up call to go off into the wilds in one of Stu’s specially fitted jeeps to photograph animals at sunrise.  Every day brought its special moments whether the spectacle of lions mating just a few metres from the jeep, or leopards lying lazily in the grass digesting a meal, or elephants and hippos frolicking in a river. The days sped by and we returned home with thousands of photographs of birds and animals to sort through and cherish for the memories they bring back. A safari with Wild 4 is more than a photographic experience with a master photographer: it is an initiation into the wonders of South Africa – its wild-life and spectacular landscapes - and, above all, an experience of friendship as everyone aboard the jeep bond in common purpose. Everything about Wild 4 is first class: organization is superb, accommodations excellent, choices of locale perfect. Our safari with Stu and Wild4 was truly the experience of a life-time.

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