Tag Archives: Panoramics

Where in the world? Yellowstone

For the past five months, it’s been a bit like being part of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”    We’ve been on the road a great deal, at least five different travel destinations in that time with the shortest trip being a week. One of the many good things about that is that I have lots of images to share. 🙂

Our most recent trip was truly 20 years in the making.  We have been talking of going to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) for at least 20 years.  One thing or another always took precedence until we decided not to put it off any longer.  Despite it’s slightly lesser known status but due to it’s proximity to Yellowstone (due south 7 miles) we also added Grand Teton National Park to the itinerary.  We were there a week and felt like we only scratched the surface of these incredible places.  The word “amazing” was uttered hundreds of times throughout the week.

Breathtaking scenery, incredible wildlife in their natural habitat, the largest geyser field in the world, wildflowers galore, endless patterns and textures, water in all it’s forms, and much more ensured that my cameras were in constant use.

Almost 3000 images were captured and I’ve only begun to process them.   My favorite subjects to photograph are the details and the patterns and textures that often go unnoticed inside the larger scenes of life which present themselves to us, especially in places such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  Most of what I captured does fall in to that category of the often unnoticed.  But I could not deny the grandeur and majesty of these places and it seemed best to capture that in panoramic images (though, even these fall short of reality).

Unlike the panoramic photos that your phone may take, each of these images is a composite of from 2 to 8 different images merged in Photoshop to create one very large and wide scene, somewhat closer to how we see it with our eyes.  The wider panoramics have used the largest number of images to create them.  A blog is not really the best format to show panoramics, for instance the first image, a scene from the Lamar Valley in the NE part of YNP, is actually 36″ wide.   (Click on the images in the gallery to see them larger.)

This was the perfect place to play with creating panoramic images.  Every turn offered spectacular vistas.  However,  most of what I focused on were the details – the colors, the patterns, the textures.  I’ll share some of those, as well as details from other travels, over the next few weeks.  

Have you done anything recently that’s been on your list for a long time?

Hanging like the Clouds

Sometimes you just need to stop and hang for a while.

As an artist, never mind that, as anyone, there are ebbs and flows to our energy and our creativity.  I’ve learned over the years to not get overly anxious about times when the motivation seems thin.  It will pass.  Looking back, those quiet times have  often just been incubation periods for something new.

While out walking, I was looking up at the evening sky and the clouds and was reminded of a series of images I took several months ago with the intention of creating a cloud panoramic.  I found those images and created this scene that I had in mind when I shot those images.  It’s a very peaceful image to me and reminds me of the wisdom of just hanging out like the clouds sometimes.

Cloudscape   ©GSHaile

Cloudscape ©GSHaile Click to Enlarge

A Wide View: Playing with Panoramics

For over 10 years, I’ve had this dream of traveling Virginia’s Skyline Drive in April and capturing the dogwood blossoms floating in the spring forest.  That wasn’t what we found when we finally made our way along the famous route. Instead we found a bare forest still waiting for spring’s warmth to arrive.   As we all know, life rarely goes according to the scripts that we’ve written in our minds so it’s good to have a plan b, or c, or more.  So I had to rethink what to photograph.

One of the plans I came up with was to play with panoramics.  I’ve played with them a bit in the past and have not done any in a while.  Many of you may have or know someone who has the iPhone that creates panoramic images by simply swiping the camera across the scene.  They are fun and a little quirky in their distorted view of the world.

To clarify, Google gives this definition of panoramic photography: “a technique of photography, using specialized equipment or software, that captures images with elongated fields of view. It is sometimes known as wide format photography. The term has also been applied to a photograph that is cropped to a relatively wide aspect ratio.”

So an iPhone would be “specialized equipment” along with cameras like the film camera Noblex  that my friend Andi Alexander uses sometimes. or these cameras from Lomography.   With these cameras, just one wide angle image is produced.

Or, as I do, you can use “specialized software” to stitch together multiple images to create one that has very wide angle of view.  There is a lot of different software available but in the past few years Photoshop has become quite adept at panoramics.

How I make panoramic images:

In each case, I take multiple images of a scene. Using my body as a pivot point, and carefully keeping the camera in the same plane while pivoting, I progressively pan across a scene, taking anywhere from 3 to more than 15 images, each one a slightly different section of the scene.  It is important to overlap each image just a bit so the software has something to line up from image to image.

The image below demonstrates one step along the way.  This started with 17 images that I took, slowly sweeping the camera from right to left and pressing the shutter 17 times.  Those 17 images were then processed in Photoshop CC with Photomerge to get something like what you see below.  I’ve separated each section a bit and added the orange so that you can see all the parts.  Actually, the sections fit quite nicely together (though they are each on their own separate layer) when the software is finished.

Pieces of Panoramic_Gail S. Haile

Pieces of Panoramic_Gail S. Haile (Click to enlarge)

I then merged all 17 layers together so I have just one complete image, straighten and crop a bit, do a few adjustments to the color and detail and the result is what you see below in Skyline Panorama 1.

©Gail Haile_Skyline Drive Panorama 1

©Gail Haile_Skyline Drive Panorama 1 (Click to enlarge)

Some more examples:

Skyline Panorama 2 is the blending of 12 separate images.

©Gail Haile_Skyline Drive Panorama 2

©Gail Haile_Skyline Drive Panorama 2 (Click to enlarge)

Skyline Panoramic 3, while it looks similar to #2 is 10 completely different images of the same scene.  I played around with it as a black and white and preferred it this way.

©Gail Haile_Skyline Drive Panorama 3

©Gail Haile_Skyline Drive Panorama 3 (Click to enlarge)

As our drive along Skyline progressed, we came across this stand of extremely tall trees where the afternoon light was creating interesting patterns.  I thought it would be interesting to do a vertical panoramic so took 16 images moving the camera up the trees from the ground to the sky.  The sepia tones of the final image highlights the light patterns better than the color version did.

©Gail Haile_Trees Panorama

©Gail Haile_Trees Panorama (Click to enlarge)

There are more precise and complicated ways to create panoramic images but this worked for me on that day when I needed to have another plan.

What do you do when your plans get changed?


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Fifth Friday: 8/30/2013

Welcome to the end of August.  Like me, you probably are stunned that we’ve come to the end of what we think of as summer.  How did that go by so quickly?!

On the last Friday of each month I’ve been sharing a bit of what I’ve been doing creatively the past month.  For your visual enjoyment, I offer a sampling of August’s images.


I really enjoy creating images of people’s homes, camps, even businesses.  We spend much of our time and create many of our memories in these places, so it’s very meaningful  to have a formal “portrait” of them. This is a camp in the Adirondacks that has witnessed a great deal of this family’s special moments, both the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Lake Bonaparte Cabin_2012

Lake Bonaparte Cabin_©GSHaile


Much of my time this month has been spent in the studio capturing the bounty of the flowers that we are blessed with in the summer.  I have thousands of images that I can work on during the cold, grey days to come.  I have, though, worked up a few of them and these are a couple of my favorites.

Purple Coneflower 1_©GSHaile

Purple Coneflower 1_©GSHaile


Purple coneflower 2_©GSHaile

Purple coneflower 2_©GSHaile


For two days, I had the pleasure of working (playing) with my daughter-in-law, Katy, sharing some of my knowledge of photography.  One of the days, we headed out on the back roads to do some long exposures and panoramic images. This panoramic scene from the farmland near Augusta, NY begins to capture the beauty that I have come to love about central NY state.

Summer Fields_AugustaNY_©GSHaile

Summer Fields_AugustaNY_©GSHaile


One of the techniques I’ve been working with is exposure blending and this is an example of that process.  It is a layering and merging of 5 different exposures, choosing by hand, which parts of each exposure will be part of the final image.

Queen Anne's Lace_©GSHaile

Queen Anne’s Lace_©GSHaile


And finally, this lovely aspiring actress with whom I spent a very creative couple of hours in the studio.  I love working with actors and dancers, as they are so comfortable in front of the camera and come with their own set of ideas so that the session is a very collaborative time.

Never See Me Fall from Grace_©GSHaile

Never See Me Fall from Grace_©GSHaile

September is already filled with many creative possibilities.  The Class of 2014 has begun coming in for their senior portraits and I love how they fill the studio with their special energy. I have a few special projects and excursions planned.  I hope your September holds the process of good energy and possibilities.