Growing my skillset as a photographer

May 04, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

If you take yourself seriously as a photographer, you know you need to grow and challenge yourself. From my years of experience as a photojournalist, I might find myself most at home photographing people, portraits, Manti Temple weddings, families, events. But I know that to advance as an artist I need to challenge myself.

I have never considered myself the finest landscape photographer, but having friends like master landscape photographer Luke Tyree makes me push myself to expand more areas of my craft.

I decided to attempt a painfully technical, and slow, technique for landscape photography as a way to push myself towards some growth. I set out to create a panorama shot, stitched together from bracketed exposures. Essentially I wanted to turn 12 photos of varying perspective and exposure brightness into a photo that was ultra-high resolution and contained a greater depth of color and detail than is normally possible in a single photograph.

The technique, like any good landscape photo, demands reprieve from the slightest hint of vibration, which could turn a sharp, vibrant photo into a blurry mess with the touchy telephoto lens I was using to get a little reach across the green fields of the farms and ranches stretching between Manti and Ephraim. A turn-off on a back country Sanpete County road led me to the location, which was dotted with details like haystacks and an old school bus, but still had a huge expanse of green space along the valley's length.

Tripod. Check. Wireless shutter release.check. Bracketing and manual exposure settings dialed in. Check.

Clickclicklick. Recompose. Clickclickclick. Recompose. Rinse, repeat.

In the end,I wind up with two sets of about a dozen exposures each to stitch together.

After combining the bracketed exposures using Lightroom, I stitched the individual merged photographs into seamless panoramas. In one of my images, a bird was gracious enough to take wing during the shot(s).

The results, were satisfying. Still not the equal of landscape masters, but I feel a growth in the challenge. Would I have learned more from failure? No clue, but success is sweet and satisfying. Go ahead, pixel peep, they could be worse...right?

And the practice pushed me to expand my perspectives as a photographer, and now I have more "growing pains" to relieve, so I will.

The photos in this blog post are not the originals. The originals were nearly 200mb in size, and could have been printed at more than 100 inches on canvas and look spotless. You'll have to settle for more web-friendly versions. I hope you enjoy them.

bracketed panorama No. 2



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