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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Yellow Brick Road panorama, March 2, 2009

Intersection of South Walnut and Washington Streets, Nanticoke PA
Panoramic composite of six images
March 2, 2009

I must have made quite a sight this past Monday, walking against the wind through a cemetery, my long black coat bundled around me and flapping behind me, carrying a partially-collapsed tripod with a camera the size of a deck of cards on top. I had toyed with disassembling and re-setting-up the tripod every time I saw something interesting, but after the second time I decided "The hell with this!" and began to carry it like a wizard's staff, legs folded together but fully extended, careful not to trip and smash the attached camera against the ground.

I made my way through the cemetery in the northwest corner of the complex of cemeteries that line Washington Street and came out the side gate that opens up onto the road still paved with yellow-pink bricks. This alley has long been one of my favorite subjects for painting and photography, and I decided to take a shot at it again this day. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I hiked along the grassy tree-lined strip so along it as not to leave my pigeon-toed bootprints on the bricks.

I decided that since panoramas seemed to be the order of the day, I would run across the street and try to get a panorama of the cemetery and the road. There was pretty much no traffic this afternoon, but naturally several cars showed up as I tried to cross the street. I set up in front of what used to be Skatarama, near a spot where I had once found an old red bandanna hanging on a fence. I waited for one more car to pass, and then began snapping my photos - twice as many as the Panorama Assist mode recommended, to maximize the overlap of the images.

A word to any would-be panorama photographers: Avoid utility lines wherever possible. Some parallax effects are always going to come into play whenever you take a series of photos from a single pivoting point and then try to merge them together into a single flat-ish image. You want to have lots of overlap in your images so you can do all sorts of cheats and blends to make the image look seamless. But with utility lines, there's nothing you can do to make them look seamless and straight. I did my best, generally choosing points where wires connect to some foreground object to do the breaks. But some artifacts are obvious in the photo above. The section of wire in the very middle of the image turned out to be the most difficult to make look smooth.

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