Handheld Panoramas

The same basic technique I have previously described for shooting handheld HDRs applies to shooting panoramas also.  I have two handheld panos to show you in this post.

The first pano was taken in Trafalgar Square in front of the National Gallery.  The National Gallery is on the left, St. Martin in the Fields is near the center, and most of Nelson’s column on the right. 

This image highlights a problem that occurs in making panos, that is the need to keep the camera level through the entire pan.  In this case, I had to keep the camera level and try not to chop off the tops of the National Gallery and Lord Nelson.  I was successful with one and not the other, even when using my 16-35mm lens at 16mm.

The second handheld pano I want to show was taken in the Parthenon Hall at the British Museum. 

This was an awesome space, but the reason I want to show this shot is to demonstrate that handheld panos can be done indoors, even with dim lighting.  Again, I had my 16-35mm set to 16mm.  I set my ISO to 400, and the exposure for the scene was 1/20th of a second across the whole scene.  I am an aging geezer and the thought of having to shoot handheld at 1/20th of a second sends a chill through my bones.  But the image is sharp – how did I do it?  First, I was shooting with what is commonly thoght of as a super wide angle lens, and these can be very forgiving of minor shakes.  But the Nikon 16-35mm has a very effective vibration reduction (VR) system.  I have VR on my 85mm macro, and I have not been very impressed with it, but the VR on the 16-35mm is really effective.  I used it almost constantly in iffey lighting situations and would check the sharpness by magnifying the LCD image on the camera.  Each time I looked, my images were sharp – much sharper than I ever had imagined they would be in the situations I was shooting.