Do you want to shoot sharp blue hour panorama?

There is something about a panorama that is so interesting.  I really love shooting panoramas.  It seems to me that landscape photography is synonymous with panorama.  Do you agree?

Shooting a sharp panorama from a Floating Quay at dawn.

Last year I came to this place after the fall color season was over.  Most leafs were already fallen and the resulting image was nice but…  I knew that this year I could do better.  However, there is a big challenge!  The floating quay is… floating.  Just breathing does make the quay moves a little and atop the tripod the movement is amplified.  How can I shoot a sharp panorama at dawn?

Getting sharp picture at 1/10 of a second at a focal length of 76mm (ISO 400 and f/5,6) 4 times in a row just before sunrise requires attention to every details.  On a floating quay it is a daunting task.

[bctt tweet=”How to Shoot a #Landscape #Panorama from a Floating Quay – #leafpeepers #photography”]

Making the shot

Here how to shoot a Sharp Panorama from a Floating Quay in these conditions:

  • Put the tripod at the lowest height considering the desired composition for the shot. This help reduces the sway amplitude;
  • Change the tripod leg height in order for the top of the tripod to be perfectly leveled;
  • Consider to use a parallax kit to avoid parallax errors associated with panning. Here is my Parallax kit.   This is one of the few options working with an Arca Swiss L-Bracket:
Long Handle Disk Clamp Arca Swiss Compatible Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL
Indexing Rotator Tripod Head Sunwayfoto DDP-64M
Induro Arca Swiss Quick Release Plate Induro PU-50
Sunway 200mm Plate Rail Arca compatible Sunwayfoto DPG-210
Bidirectional 90° Offset Double Clamp Arca compatible Sunwayfoto DDB-53
  • Put the camera in Portrait mode using a L-Bracket. Not only the L-Bracket enables mounting the camera in portrait mode, it is also a great protection in case of a mistake.  Without an L-Bracket it is very hard to mount the camera in such a way to avoid parallax errors.
  • Set the Rotator to achieve, at least, one third overlap in your panorama pictures.  In this case I selected 10 degrees.  The focal length I used gave just under 20 degrees in portrait mode. This allowed for a nice overlap.  While operating the parallax kit, we can feel each step using the Sunwayfoto Indexing Rotator.  No more guessing.
  • Adjust the quick release plate in the groove of the disk clamp in order for the nodal point to be just over the tripod axis.
  • Set the camera in Panorama mode:
    • self-timer to 10 seconds;
    • Choose your exposure manually (ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture);
    • Set your white balance to the appropriate value (do not use Auto White Balance);
    • Set focus manually using live view.
  • When ready to press the shutter:
    • Position yourself like a tripod by extending lightly your two legs and installing yourself in a corner of the Quay resting on the armrests.
    • Let the sway stop;
    • Press the shutter using the 10 seconds delay;
    • Gently put your hand back on the armrest of the quay.
    • Review the shot using the magnifier making sure it is tack sharp and take another one if this is a miss;
  • Rotate the camera on its axis and start over again.

Panorama Oka Golden HourOn this early morning I found the sky colors to be interesting.  The blue and pink of the sky created a contrast with the warm colors of the landscape.  Usually the colors are more interesting just after the sunrise.  All in all, I do prefer the Blue Hour Panorama to the Golden Hour one.  On this same morning I had my new Lifepixel Converted Infrared Camera.  Using the same setting and lens, I shot the same panorama using the Infrared option.  This give a very different look to the same scene.

Panorama Oka Infrared Black and WhiteIn conclusion: Sharp Blue Hour Panorama is possible.

You might have to go back a few time if it is windy to achieve a tack sharp panorama like this one.  On a floating quay, wind is certainly the worst enemy of the photographer.

Now, I need you to vote for one of the included pictures.  Which one do you prefer?

  • Blue Hour;
  • Golden Hour;
  • Black & White Infrared;

I can wait to know your opinion on these.  It is time to vote!  Use the comment option to cast your vote.