Tag Archives: pano

Frederiksholm Canal in Copenhagen Panorama

Wednesday we had one of those weird Spring days where the weather goes from sunshine to rain to hail storms back to sunshine. The sky cleared about an hour before sunset but still had a layer of humidity and you get this fantastic soft warm light that you will not see on any other day.  There were only a few clouds about so I scouted for the best composition to include the warm red and orange sky and this strange otherworldly soft light.

I found my shot at Frederiksholm Canal in the inner city and here’s the result and the latest panorama release in my Copenhagen collection (click to see large):

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Frederiksholm Canal Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

As you can see the sun is just behind the buildings to the right and it’s not normally a good time to shoot this location with almost all of the buildings in deep shadows. But due to the soft warm colours of the light on this particular evening the exposure could be controlled, keeping most of the highlights and shadows in a single exposure and some fill light in RAWshooter brought back shadow detail. This is a stitched panorama of 6 vertical shots at 23mm using the 17-40mm f/4.0 L lens and PTgui did a perfect job stitching it. The finishing touch was the use of LAB colour space in Photoshop to get exactly the glow and look I wanted by soft light blending in a lab colour layer. As you know I am not interested in reality at all, I am interested in creating an expression of what I felt and saw when I shot the scene and I am also trying to create my own unique style.

I am very pleased with the result, what d’ya reckon?

The Great Australian Bight – camping at the edge of the world

“Life on the edge”, “living on the edge”, “if you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space”, “I tried living on the edge, didn’t like it much”, “I’ve been to the edge and back” etc. etc.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen PhotographyNo shortage of sayings about living on the edge. Well here’s my story about camping on the edge! Working on some old files the other day for my World Panorama Stock portfolio I rediscovered an old favourite destination and story of mine – The Great Australian Bight!

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen PhotographyThe Great Australian Bight is a bight than runs for more than 1,000 kilometers along the southern coast of Australia. If you look at a map it looks like someone took a huge bite (bight, geddit? haha) out of Australia! When you get there it literally is the end of the world; you stand at the top of cliff faces that descend 50-60 meters straight into the ocean and you truly feel like you’re on the edge and at the end of the world! I don’t know many people who have been to the Great Australian Bight and yet it is one of the most stunning and remote locations in Australia!

I realised the other day that I didn’t always have to write about the current photos I shoot, I could also write about older tours and older photos! This opens up a whole new bag of tricks (some might say can of worms) for this blog – so this is my story and “Lonely Planet Style” travel guide to living on the edge…

Getting there & around

To get to The Great Australian Bight you simply travel in your 4WD along the Nullarbor plain for a long time and when you feel like you’ve gone far enough you turn due South (there are no roads so any place will do). You then bump (be prepared for a few dislocated discs in your back!) across the open flat plains for a few hours and all you have to do now is remember to stop when the world ends! Here’s a map showing you the location, you won’t need a more detailed map, you really just need to remember to brake before you go over the edge. You can drive your car straight over the edge, but the chances of reversing back up are slim!

bight map

My trip to the Bight began in January 1999 in Perth with my mate Andrew’s tour company Bolstaor Coastal Safari (sadly the company is now closed) and onboard his 4WD OKA truck. We drove to the mining town of Kalgoorlie (distance: 600 kilometers) like a bat out of hell, stocked up on beer, food and Coke at Woolworths and then took the Trans Access Road (no food or fuel for 862 kilometers!) to the great Nullarbor Plains:

Trans Access Road by Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

We bush camped in the middle of the … bush! The next day we hit the Nullarbor Highway and at some point we took a right turn. After hours of bumping across the amazing landscape accompanied by Kangaroos we suddenly run out of World and have to come to a full stop!

Places to stay

Bring your own! (same goes for beer and food). There are no signs of civilisation here at all which is what makes it so fantastic so remember to bring your swag (bedroll) and some tukka (food)! We camped almost on the edge of the Bight and it was a spectacular camp and spectacularly windy! Here’s the late great Bolstaor Coastal Safaris OKA truck and our camp on the edge of the world:

OKA on the bight by Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

It certainly is one of if not the most amazing place I have ever bush camped. Hold on to your belongings though, the cold Antarctic winds arrive from the Indian Ocean with nothing in the way to slow them down and you’re the first thing they meet on land!

Things to see & do at the Bight

Sunrise! You simply must spend a night here so you can catch the sunrise! It is one of the prime locations in the world for watching the sunrise and see the day come alive and the red rock light up like gold. See my photo at the end of this post. Be prepared to get up really early and be prepared for working without daylight. I slept in all my clothes sans shoes and had my camera bag with me in the swag. So I just had to wake up at 4am (took some kicking from Andrew before that happened), find my shoes, check the shoes for snakes and scorpions and caterpillars, put on shoes, grab camera bag, stumble slowly towards the edge while wiping the sleep from my eyes so I don’t step over the edge – and I was ready for some magic!

Go fishing! At some places you can actually descend down to the beach and there are so many salmon to catch even I caught several (I actually caught a huge 5 kilo whale of a salmon!) The water is so clear you can see large schools of salmons dart across the waves and you just need enough arm strength (I have none, it’s a miracle I caught some fish) to throw the line out to these big waves!

Watch the dolphins! There are a large number of dolphins surfing the waves and putting on a show. At the right time of the year you can also see humpback whales.

Study the wildlife! We found a very nice quiet python snake (I have a photo of me holding it that I’m not showing you!) and Andrew’s brother Peter got stung by a small scorpion (nothing happened except his finger turned purple)

When to go

It’s a fairly windy location to say the least! And the wind is usually of the cold variety coming from the Antarctic. So I would reckon it would get a bit cold camping here during the Winter months (June-August) and I would recommend going during Summer (Dec-Feb) as I did.

Conclusion

The earth is flat, believe me, I have seen the edge! If you’re in Australia and get a chance, I wholeheartedly recommend going to the Great Australian Bight and see the edge of the world with your own eyes. It has been 9 years and this is one experience that never fades, I absolutely loved every second at the Bight. Loved how remote and desolate it was, how rough it is, no signs of civilisation at all and plenty of wildlife.

And now…the photo that won’t fade either thanks to digital technologies.

My Great Australian Bight panorama

This is the shot I was dusting off for World Panorama Stock. It is my favourite photo of the Bight. Originally shot on Fujichrome slide and scanned on a Minolta slide scanner using the super VueScan software it is now a lovely 16-bit colour high quality 72 megabyte tiff file.

This is sunrise at the Great Australian Bight in all its glory,
click to see large size on my gallery:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Great Australian Bight – the edge of the world
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

World Panorama Stock & my new Sydney Panorama

As always, it’s a panoramic world for me!

wps-logo I recently became a Pro member of World Panorama Stock, a great stock site that specializes in high resolution, high quality inspirational, Rights Managed only panoramic stock imagery to professional photo researchers, graphic designers, advertising agencies, publishers. I am very happy to be working with them as I am a big supporter of the panoramic format!

Yes, I hardly need to reiterate that I love the panoramic format and World Panorama Stock is a great way to display and hopefully sell more of my panorama photos. Click to see my feature World Panorama Stock page with my bio and the images that I’ve submitted so far. There are many other fantastic panoramas for you to enjoy, check out some of the other featured photographers or use the category or search feature.

Sydney Panorama and the 17-40mm f/4.0 L lens

My latest panorama release is a stitched panorama from Sydney, shot from Kiribilli across the harbour. It is late afternoon and the sun is low and the strong sidelight lights up the Opera House. The panorama is 7 vertical images stitched in PTgui and then I did some post production in Photoshop, including a custom vignetting and some dodging and burning. PTgui did a very respectable job of blending a panorama shot across the harbour even with water in motion. This is the big drawback of stitching digital panos as opposed to a true panoramic 6×17 camera – motion! Especially water is really hard to stitch, there will be a big difference between shots when you have a bit of wind. I probably still have a bit of cloning to do in this panorama shot, but here it is – click the image to see 1000 pixel version on my website:

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Sydney Panorama, Opera House, Skyline and Harbour Bridge

Like many of my panos it is shot with the Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L lens and I really recommend this for landscape and cityscape work including panoramas. It is super tack sharp (a fair bit sharper than the 24-105mm f/4.0 L lens!) and the coating on this lens produces some fantastic colours even without polarizer (which of course you can’t use in a stitched pano!). Only problem with the 17-40 L – it’s actually too light so it doesn’t create enough counterweight, shooting handheld I always end up with slightly tilted horizons! Well, the weight problem will be cured when I get the 16-35mm f/2,8 L !

Super Wide Panoramas

Sorry for neglecting my blog and not uploading any new photos to my website, this flu virus has really taken it’s toll.

I did get around to stitching a few panoramas and that brings me to a problem with display very wide (more than 4:1) panoramas online. My “standard” aspect ratio photos I upload at 800 pixels wide/tall whereas wide stitched panoramas I upload at 1000 pixels wide. I want to show enough detail to customers on my website but I don’t want to upload at such a large resolution that my file can just be grabbed and used directly from my website (and I’m not a fan of big intrusive watermarks in the photo).

But even a 1000 pixels wide image is really just a thumbnail for these super wide panoramas, most of them are up to 10 images stitched and more than 10,000 pixels wide so at 1/10th the size you loose the magic. I wish I could show you the incredible clarity and detail of these original files! I am also looking for a printer where I can do a 3 meter wide print of these files without sending the file to an expensive lab.

Here’s a few examples of super wide panoramas, please click the image to see the 1000 pixels wide version on my website.

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Cannon Hill at Hawk Dreaming in Kakadu National Park, Australia

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House at sunset

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Ubirr Rock in Kakadu National Park, Australia

I really hope the future has some exhibition in store for me where I get to display these as 3 meter wide prints so I can show you these photos as they’re meant to be seen! Until then you have to settle for viewing my 1000 pixels wide versions and trust me when I say that the originals I sell are fine art quality files so detailed you feel you can walk straight into the scene through the screen!

Shooting stitched panoramas

Last week I talked about shooting cropped panoramas – this week I’ll cover shooting stitched panoramas. Stitching is the process of shooting several photos and using software to stitch them into one panorama (vertical or horizontal). I’ll assume you know all the basics of shooting stitched panos, this post will focus on my experiences of shooting them.

Visualizing the end product in a cropped panorama can be a bit tricky but at least you still have the shot in your viewfinder – with a stitched pano you really have to exercise your imagination! I’ll focus on shooting the stitched panorama in the field – not the stitching. Get the shot right and stitching is not too hard.

Let’s kick off with an example, a wide view that is only possibly using stitching (unless you own a 6x17cm panorama camera!). This is a very wide view of Brisbane (click to see large):

Click to see large size on my gallery!

This shot is made up of 5 horizontal images stitched together using the brilliant PTgui software. The final product of this pano is 5600 pixels wide (enough for a good 150cm wide print) and looks fantastic.

To illustrate the components, here’s a screenshot from PTgui’s “align panorama” window allowing you to clearly see the 5 images:

pt-gui-stitch-brisbane

As you can see I cropped a lot of the panorama after stitching it and this is how you should normally do it – always leave a wide margin for cropping later, already in the stitching process you loose quite a bit of the top and bottom when the images are warped and stitched together. In this case I actually have a bit too much margin but never mind. I also decided to crop a lot of the right side after seeing the stitch. Notice how much overlap of the images I have, this is important.

Shooting the stitched pano in the field

The above shot is almost 100% automatically stitched by PTgui. I think I may have manually deleted one or two control points and of course I aligned the horizon manually. Apart from that PTgui did all the magic with a flawless result because I took great care in shooting this in the field. So how did I do it? I use these rules:

  • Visualize. This is the most important part (just ask Ansell Adams). You cannot see the end product here, you have to visualize it.
  • Use RAW. You really really have to shoot raw for stitched panos. You need the images to be 100% identical and only raw allows this. If you must shoot jpeg (why?) then it is really important to set manual white balance.
  • Everything on manual control! Shutter speed, aperture, iso and focus absolutely must be on manual control so they don’t change between shots. Oh and don’t zoom in or out between shots!
  • Find the correct exposure, like in the example above part of your panorama will like include much brighter sky than other parts. So get the exposure right, you don’t want to burn out the highlights in half the pano!
  • I practice the sweep several times before shooting the images. I sweep from left to right but it doesn’t matter really. Practice the sweep or you’ll start shooting and discover that your body can’t actually rotate 180 degrees around your spinal cord!
  • Don’t rotate around my body. I start off with spread legs, right foot in front and lean forward (like I’m the karate kid). I then concentrate on rotating around the lens nodal point when doing the shoot. I use my legs to rotate, keeping my upper body still. At least you have to focus on rotating around the camera, keeping the camera in one spot and. This is very important, fail this and you’ll introduce some heavy parallax errors in the stitching.
  • If using a tripod for this you should use a panorama head or you’ll almost make it worse by using a tripod (since you’re rotating around the tripod screw in the camera, not the nodal point).
  • It’s a good idea to zoom in to at least 35mm so you don’t introduce too much barrel distortion from your lens. Don’t zoom in too tight. You need plenty of  margin for stitching and cropping.
  • Overlap! Create overlaps by at least 30% but 50% is better.
  • You need to keep the horizon in the same place in every shot. If shooting a horizontal panorama then I just stick the horizon in the middle. It’s easier to keep it in the middle from shot to shot and I’m cropping it later anyway.
  • If I’m shooting stitched panoramas in the Australian outback – the hardest part of all is actually ignoring the flies crawling into my nose, eyes and ears!

Practice this again and again and you’ll get so good at shooting the separate images that the next bit – stitching the images is very easy and almost automated! That’s why I’ll only briefly cover it here in the next paragraphs, I find that the shooting part is by far the most important.

Developing the raw files

One rule here: the adjustments you make to the raw images must be 100% identical! That means you can easily do you normal RAW development, set the white balance, exposure, fill light, black and white point, saturation, curves etc. But do this on one of the photos and then copy these adjustments to all of the shots! They must be 100% identical or they won’t stitch properly.

Stitching and software

I use PTgui and I find it amazing, it is an incredible piece of work and easily worth the money. There are several other commercial super stitch programs as well but you can easily learn by using some of the free stitch programs. A free stitch program is probably included in your camera software, or try the free demo of AutoStitch.

More examples

Have a look at my two panorama galleries, the main panorama gallery and the Australia panorama gallery for many more examples of both cropped and stitched panos. Feel free to comment or email me with any questions!

It’s a panoramic world for me

I love panoramas and always have and I’m really satisfied with how digital photography has enabled me to shoot my panoramic visions without owning a panorama camera. I think my eyes have a built in 3:1 aspect ratio because that is how I see the world: 

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Head up in the clouds and a big wide view!

A final word of warning: shooting panoramas is very addictive 😀 You may find the standard 3:2 format useless after shooting a lot of panoramas and having been bitten by the pano bug (and flies, mozzies etc. in the outback!)