The Stitching dilemma
I haven’t had much opportunity to get out and take photos lately due to being ill, work being very busy and just generally having stuff on my plate. This down time has provided me with a chance to reflect on the development of my photography skills and ultimately the images I am capturing.
My passion is ultimately in landscape photography and panoramic landscapes at that. Without having the money to afford a true panoramic film camera one must stitch digital images to create a panoramic image. The thing I have found hard with digital stitching is imagining the composition of the image without access to a single view finder and instead relying on what you see through 8 or so different images. I feel this makes the medium much much harder than taking single image where everything you see through the viewfinder is what you get in the final photo.
About 6 weeks ago I made a conscious decision to really slow my photography down and really think about the images I was capturing instead of getting all excited and just snapping away happily when presented with a great scene. The 2 biggest changes I have made as a result has been focusing on getting as much right in camera and a decision to reduce the number of stitched panorama’s I was taking in an attempt to obtain better compositions and ultimately more powerful images. I guess you could say that because of my love for panoramic landscapes I had gotten a bit caught up in the stitching craze, as lately anyone and everyone with a digital camera is stitching several images together to create an image several times wider than the standard 2:3 format of digital. By focusing on stitched images I felt that it was having an adverse impact on my photography as I was very often capturing a poorly composed and relatively average image. I am amazed looking on the various photo sites on the web how many people are creating these panoramic images just because they can. There seems to be very few people posting photos who actually do it well. Yes it creates a nice wide perspective and yes it creates a much higher resolution image but at the cost of the quality of the image content which in most cases does not even warrant being printed.
I therefore decided to create a new work flow for when I am out taking photos. I still obviously seek out good light and then find a composition that works, however now I nearly always focus on getting a great single image shot first up. To me a great lower resolution image is always better than an average high resolution image. This is especially true given today’s technology which allows you to blow digital images up a lot smoother than in the past. Then if there is enough interesting light left and I have exhausted all single shot image possibilities I will look at a panoramic composition. I find that whilst I would love to be capturing inspiring panoramic vista’s that sell by the hundreds my skills are not up to it yet and therefore I am better off focusing on improving my single image capture skills before moving on to more complex situations. This is not to say that I don’t capture stitched panorama’s anymore I am just drastically reducing the number I take.
By sticking to this over the past 6 weeks I am capturing much better images, in fact what I believe to be my best work to date. By getting much better at taking single image shots I think it will eventually lead to a better understanding of what makes a good image to which I can carry over into panoramic image taking.
I am in no way saying that people should stop doing things they enjoy but for me personally as an aspiring landscape photographer it is what I feel I had to do to move my skills to where I want them to be.
Has anyone else had this dilemma with digital stitching?
Finally to check out some Aussie’s who do digital panoramic stitching well check some of my favorite sites for this type of photography. These guys range from amateur through to Pro;
Thanks for visiting