The vistas and landscapes of Londolozi are beautiful and sometimes your lens just isn’t wide enough to capture the scope of a whole scene. A way to circumvent this problem is to take multiple images and then stitch them together using post-processing software to create a panorama.

Here at Londolozi, I work with guests daily to make their photography dreams come true in the Londolozi Studio and although a variety of different programs are available for the amateur and professional photographer, here we choose to use Adobe Lightroom due to its wide-ranging post-processing capabilities and user-friendly format. For those of you more acquainted with Photoshop, James Tyrrell did a blog previously on how to create panoramas using this programme.

Part 1: Capturing the Image:

These are a few important points to remember when taking the photographs you will be using:

1. Overlapping is one of the most important tips. Each image to be stitched together should overlap by 50%. By overlapping this much, you ensure that there is enough information for Lightroom to use to merge the images together.

2. Keep your camera level. In order to do this, I advise shooting with a tripod. This not only helps with keeping your camera level and but will ensure that you have stability. With a panoramic this is very important as you are taking multiple photographs and in order to help with the overlap and subsequent stitching, you want to keep them on as close to the same plane as possible.

Panorama Clearing: This photograph was taken at sunset; it was very important for me to keep my camera level so that the horizon would appear straight. Shot at 1/320 sec at f7.1, ISO 1250 with the Sigma for Canon 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Lens.

3. Metering is also really important, as you want to keep the same exposure across the images. The easiest way to achieve this is to shoot in manual mode, adjust your settings so that you get the desired exposure and shoot away.

Panorama River: Before taking this image I had to make sure that I had the correct metering so that the image would have a consistant exposure, as half of this image was in the shade. Shot at 1/125 sec at f7.1, ISO 640 with the Sigma for Canon 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Lens.

4. When taking a panoramic one should ideally choose a subject that is not moving. Movement causes blur or doubling up of the moving object. So to avoid this when shooting a panoramic that you absolutely have moving things in, try to take the shots as quickly as possible.

5. Ideally, one should shoot vertically (portrait mode). This means that you will have more space available to work with in the final image.

Panorama Safari: This photograph was taken in the early hours of the morning, I shot this vertically (portrait mode) so that I could include as much of the blue sky as possible. Shot at 1/320 sec at f/8,0, ISO 250 with the Sigma for Canon 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Lens.

6. Shoot with a wide-angle lens. For most of these images I used a Sigma for Canon 20mm lens  F1,4 DG HSM Lens, something that is available for rental from the Londolozi studio.

Part 2: Creating the Image

Now you’ve captured the photos you need, you’re ready to stitch them together in Lightroom:

1. Once you have imported your panoramic shots into Lightroom. Select them, right click, select Photo Merge and select Panoramic:

2. A preview will then be created and the Panorama Preview Menu will appear. Select Spherical, then tick the Auto crop box and select Merge.

3. Lightroom will then take a couple of minutes to merge and stitch the images together:

4. Your finished product will then be created as your last image in the Library module. You are then ready to edit your image in the Develop module (highlighted in blue).

My finished product after some minor adjustments…

Panoramic Impala: I had to make sure that this photograph really quickly as my subject, the Impalas, where moving. Shot at 1/1250 at f/7,1, ISO 800 with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens.

Many phones these days have a special panoramic feature but despite constant advances in phone cameras, the quality of the image and the resolution produced are still going to be inferior to that you which you can capture with a DSLR Camera.

That being said, here are two of my favourite panoramic shots from the last month, taken with my iPhone 6.

Panoramic Sunset: This photograph was taken whilst stopped for a sundowner at Mhangeni Donga

Panoramic Sand River: This photograph was taken just after sunrise whilst stopped for a coffee at Taylor’s Crossing.

So next time you visit Londolozi, don’t be shy to try something new. Come and visit in the Londolozi Studio where I’d be happy to help you to keep expanding your panoramic skill. You could even print one of your safari panoramas onto canvas, which look amazing in this format.

panoramic, Londolozi Studio, Kylie Jones

A panoramic printed here in the Londolozi Studio.

About the Author

Kylie Jones

Studio

Being someone who loves the bush, people and photography Kylie has found her way to her dream job in the Londolozi Studio. Despite completing her Humanities Degree, she felt unsatisfied and found herself drawn to doing a wildlife photography course. Being both creative ...

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11 Comments

on 10 Top Tips For Expanding Your Panoramic Skills

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Michael & Terri Klauber

Kylie, Thanks for the tips! We will check it out in Lightroom for sure!

Kylie Jones

Pleasure Michael, on your next visit her we can experiment with some panoramic shots!

Denise Vouri

Kylie, I really appreciate your tips for panoramic pictures. I will try it with some photos I took in Africa in February and will consciously use the photographic techniques while in Paris and Barcelona over the next three weeks. I have a 14-24 lens, Nikon that should work. Thank you.

Kylie Jones

That is very exciting that you are wanting to take your own panoramas. Your 14-44 lens will be perfect for this kind of shooting.

Jeff Rodgers

Great post . . . please keep all your great photographic tips and tricks coming.

Kylie Jones

Thank-you for your ongoing support Jeff, I will keep them coming!

Al Kaiser

Thanks Kylie. Will definitely give it a go now that I know how!

Kylie Jones

Pleasure Al, would love to help you out getting the perfect panoramic shot on your next stay!

Rich Laburn

Thanks for the tips Kylie, great insight into how to best capture these types of photographs. Is it true that you get better panoramic images with a special panoramic disk plate. How does this piece of equipment enhance the images?

Kylie Jones

Its a pleasure Rich. Yes it is true that you get better panoramic images with a special panoramic disk plate as you get more stability as well as you are able to pan smoothly to create a sharp panoramic photograph.

Mary Beth Wheeler

Hmm, I think I’d like to play with this…!

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