Panning for Gold in the Real World - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5

by Mike McNamee Published 01/04/2013


It is one thing using Hugin on indoor legacy files in the comfort of the office but quite another getting a pan together when it can be windy, dark, rainy or combinations of all three along with a rather remote and lonely location in a city. An opportunity presented itself when HMS Illustrious hove into view up the Mersey and parked up at the Pier Head - all in all, too good to miss. We decided to go out and make a high-resolution pan and see how things turned out. We did an initial trial around noon, double checked the location for the exact positioning of the warship, and made a trial stitch. We have photographed the Liverpool Waterfront so often now that the process is almost automatic but sometimes 50 yards either way up or down the river can bring important buildings into view depending on the exact position of the mooring.


Hugin became confused over the arrangement of the skyline.

The viewing distance across the river is about 1,000 yards (3,149.12 feet - thanks Google!) meaning that a 200mm lens would just fail to cover the length of a vessel such as Invincible. Our preference is to sweep a camera along the water line to ensure that all the buildings are vertically contained within a single row; this maximises the intrinsic detail in this important part of the image. Normally we would prefer to shoot with the camera in portrait mode but this only gave a field of view of 6.9° along the horizontal. Our initial tests showed that while it was possible to sweep manually, to do so at the speed required was a bit of a challenge in the dark.

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