Since we produced our book, "America's Land of Tranquility: Visions of the Secret Beauty of North Dakota," I've become increasingly interested in panoramic photography. The book contained over 80 images, 5 of which were panoramics. Here are two of them:
These images receive continuous comments and are amongst my best-selling images. I think they appeal to people because they showcase the grandeur of wide open space. But, I think the appeal goes beyond just that. In a lot of ways, panoramic images begin to resemble what a pair of human eyes see in width and breadth.
The images from the book were created with a Fuji 617 panoramic camera on 120 film. Since migrating to digital, the need to use such a specialized camera has pretty much been eliminated. But, simply cropping an image to a panoramic size in Photoshop isn't really the answer because the field of view and the resolution (even in RAW) is compromised.
After thoroughly studying the hardware and software options, I recently purchased a Bogen/Manfrotto 303Plus head for my tripod and stitching software from Realviz. The tripod provides the ability to determine the nodal point (the center rotating axis) and accurately take the number of shots required to provide enough images to stitch together. Realviz is a robust software product produced in France that intelligently examines a series of individual images and elegantly stitches them together to make a true panoramic image up to 360 degrees wide and 180 degrees high!
The hardware/software application potential is unlimited. Stay tuned for some surprising examples. the image at the beginning of this post is one of the first ones I've dared to share. Let me know what you think!
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