A Comprehensive Guide to Panoramic Photography

Creating perfect panoramic stitches is an essential skill for photographers aiming to enhance their landscape skills. This technique, when mastered, offers not only incredible resolution and detail but also a unique perspective that elevates the art of photography.

Coming to you from Ben Harvey Photography, this informative video delves into the nuances of panoramic photography, offering a comprehensive tutorial. Harvey discusses the importance of gear settings, post-processing techniques, and most crucially, what to avoid during the process. He emphasizes the use of manual focus and manual settings to ensure consistency across the stitched images. Moreover, Harvey explains how panoramic stitches offer higher resolution, allowing for significant cropping capabilities and the potential for large-scale printing. This aspect is particularly important for photographers looking to exhibit their work or for those striving to achieve a higher level of detail in their images.

Additionally, the video explores the aesthetic benefits of panoramic photography. By stitching images taken at longer focal lengths, photographers can avoid the distortion typically associated with wide-angle lenses, preserving the depth and perspective in their photographs. This technique is beneficial in capturing expansive vistas without compromising the scale and proportion of distant elements. Harvey's practical advice on the orientation of the camera, the use of an L bracket for stability, and ensuring levelness through spirit levels is particularly useful. These tips not only enhance the quality of panoramic images but also simplify the stitching process in post-production.

Harvey's tutorial extends to the intricacies of exposure settings and lens choice, highlighting the need for a longer lens to compress perspective and maintain the integrity of the scene. This video is not just about the technicalities of panoramic photography; it's an exploration of how this technique can transform a photographer's approach to landscape photography, encouraging them to think beyond the conventional frame. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Harvey.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Are you sure that the nodal point is the sensor level? I say no. The modal point is the lens that is used for focussing. For lenses with a distance scale, the modal point should be located approximately there. Fine tuning is then carried out using two elements at different distances.

You’re right, the nodal point isn’t the sensor. That’s why the panorama heads pull the camera body back a little bit. I have a nodal panorama head that came with instructions how to find the nodal point. I can’t remember how to do it, but it’s basically the point where the light rays converge in the camera lens. Imagine a side view of a camera and draw a line from the bottom of the sensor to the top part of the front lens element, then a line from the top of the sensor to the bottom of the front lens element. The center of that “x” is the nodal point.

The nodal point is indeed the optical centre of the lens, not the focal plane.

ben harvey has a variety of videos . . . many of which have errors ranging from not too important, to just outright wrong and stupid.

fstoppers, which itself is nothing more than a load of click bait, is doing an even greter disservice by recommending other sites that are . . . the same or worse.

Being a talking head, bucking for sponsorship is alright, but at the very least if someone is going to do that, they could at least make the effort to double-check their "information"

When I shoot handheld panoramas I use the internal leveling system in the viewfinder, that way I can be level across the pan. I also use the view find marks for overlapping which would be about 20%. It is amazing how well they turn out. Using a 90mm lens shooting a top and bottom row stitched together has great definition.
What I have wondered is if there is that much difference in distortion using a nodal point vs not using one. Perhaps your next video?