Living

July 26, 2014

Panorama photos of gorgeous Valley scenes -- and how to make your own

It used to take a sophisticated camera, special tripod and a computer to stitch together images to make a full panorama. Now, thanks to smart phone cameras, it's as easy as waving your hand to create seamless panoramic photography.

It used to take a sophisticated camera, special tripod and a computer to stitch together images to make a full panorama. Now, thanks to smart phone cameras, it's as easy as waving your hand to create seamless panoramic photography.

The panoramic function on the iPhone camera app, for example, allows you to swipe your phone across a scene to photograph 180 degrees or more for a perfect panorama. That's what I used to create this iPanorama photo essay.

FULL SIZE: See full-screen versions of Craig Kohlruss' panoramas

Here are some tips to help you make better panoramas:

The waving action should be done as evenly as possible. Try to pivot in a circular motion by just moving your arm and standing in a fixed position. Hold your phone level and then swipe evenly at the horizon, being careful to follow the line with the arrow in the app. Not all panoramas have to be at the horizon. As long as you make an even sweeping motion, you can capture a wide-angle scene at a high or low angles. Just be aware, the images may have some distortion.

You can do a vertical panorama by swiping straight down. Try it with a tall building or a tree.

The panorama function on the iPhone only lets you take one exposure setting and it starts where you start capturing. So, if the left side is too dark or too light to make a good overall exposure, try clicking the arrow to change the direction and start from the right side.

Practice. Try it a few times. You aren't wasting film, so you can take as many as you like.

I would love to see some of your panoramas. Send photos to photo@fresnobee.com, or share them on social media. On Twitter, tag @fresnobeehive or @ck_foto. On Instagram, tag @fresnobeehive or @craigkohlruss. Use the hashtag #beepanorama. The Bee will print a selection of shared photos in an upcoming Life section.

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