Creating Panoramas with a Digital Camera

I’ve been working with Smithfield Shopping Centre in Cairns for the last two years, they are entering the national shopping centre awards for 2008 and asked me if to capture certain aspects and angles to promote the centre. The above photograph is of the newly redeveloped southern entrance, with the advent of a new playground in the shape of a dragonfly thats their logo, large chess pieces, gardens, chairs and the addition of more shops along the front.

All of this might sound quite easy, just whack up your camera and wait for the right light… right? Well yes that’s the last part. First of all I organized that the cleaners left the chess pieces, tables and chairs out during Thursday night shopping, which doesn’t always happen. Checked with security to tell them I’d be creating havoc. Luckily dad left me his 4×4 Landcruiser ute while on his round the world trip, which I positioned over a medium strip and onto a park. Once the camera is lined up, this is where i run around moving trollies out of site, picking up rubbish and making sure every thing is in position like chairs and cars.

Now for pressing the shutter bit. I put my Gitzo tripod on the roof of the cruiser and used the bubble level to get a perfect horizontal pan. Placed the camera on the tripod head in portrait to get a wider (higher) angle of view, that means I put the camera on its side. I have a special bracket for that. Then adjusted the zoom,hyper-focal (maxium focus), exposure and ISO. The exposure settings were ISO 100 3.0sec @ f11 ending up in a nice sharp clean image. This shot comprises of nine separate images rotated 15% each time on the tripod. I processed this image in Photoshops>Photomerge but that’s a whole other story.