A desert panorama is my latest project. Over the last three years I’ve made several panoramas of desert scenes that I am really proud of. They reflect the color and majesty of the geology and foliage that is prevalent in the area. The image I am working on this time however, has thrown a curve ball at me.
In all the previous panoramas I placed my camera vertically in my tripod. Then I made a series of overlapping images to build my composition. “Cathedral Grove” my all time favorite panorama was captured in this way with a Nikon 50mm lens.
The desert panorama I’m working on has it’s own special challenges. It’s a commission, so I’m making it for someone else. And it needs to be a panorama with an aspect ratio of 2 to 5 so that it can be split and mounted on the wall as two separate 16 inch by 20 inch images
The perspective created by the lenses I tried first – a 50mm and an 18mm to 140mm set around 100mm – did not work. With the depth of the desert scene being so vast the visual elements in the composition were rendered too small and therefore with less emphasis than I intended.
A second issue to be dealt with was the 2 to5 perspective my panorama required. A significant crop would be needed. The result was not appealing.
So as to bring the main elements of my composition to the forefront I decided to use my 12mm to 24mm wide angle zoom. To gain the perspective of 2 to 5 I determined that a horizontal camera setup would work best. An underexposure of one stop provided the drama in the sky I visualized. Photoshop helped me deal with the distortion that occurred by using the wide-angle lens on the camera being in a horizontal position.
I’m pleased with the resulting panorama as a single image. But as a split panorama I feel that the left side of the image needs the presence of another element. That part of the image is somewhat empty in my opinion. As a split panorama each side must stand alone as an effective composition. So, I’ll travel to the Tonto National Forest again this week and try again.