Between the both of us, we take a lot of photographs. This time we actually took over 2,000 photographs. Digital does make
a big difference now.
I used a Pentax DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex), 2006 Model *ist DL for all my photographs. Whereas Mary Ellen uses
either a Canon Powershot S21S (Point-and-shoot type) and a Canon Powershot A300 (Point-and-shoot type) as a backup.
Frequently, we have to shoot the scenes separately since we both have entirely different points of views from which we
pick the best.
All too frequently, ordinary 4 x 6" photographs just cannot capture the majority of the scenic beauty that exist
west of the Pecos River/Interstate 25, whereby making the panoramas necessary. Sometimes even then, a photograph of any kind
just cannot capture the scenic beauty, only the human eye can!
When I see a magnificent and worthy scene, here is what I do to make a Panoramic:
1. Set the Pentax DSLR on shutter priority for at least 250th/second or greater.
2. Determine an average exposure (f-stop) by scanning the entire scene.
3. Check focus and depth-of-field when scanning the entire scene.
4. Set the Pentax DSLR to the manual exposure priority setting.
5. Re-check to insure the shutter is set to at least 250th/second or greater.
6. Manually set the f-stop to the average exposure for the entire scene.
7. Re-scan the entire scene to check for composition, overlapping shots, focus, et cetera.
8. Take the numerous shots rapidly from left to right since things may move.
Do all this, and more, while someone is yelling at you, "Will you hurry up, I want to go!"
Post-Production of the Panoramics:
After I downloaded the photographs into an external hard drive attached to a laptop computer, I stitch the numerous photographs
together (2-8) to produce the panoramas.
Adobe Photoshop Elements has a simple plug-in to stitch photographs together, which I used for many years, but the Panoramic
Factory software is the best available software anywhere. It is excellent and cuts the time to assemble each panoramic picture
(with adjustments) from at least 20-30 minutes with Adobe Photoshop Elements to less than 10 minutes using Panoramic Factory.
Printing the Panoramics:
Here is the biggest problem doing panoramics, getting them printed. While traveling cross-country I have tried Wal*Marts,
CVS drug stores, Walgreens drug stores, et cetera and I had limited successes. I do know for a fact that the hardware/equipment
that is used in these stores can actually print panoramics of 4 x 10" and/or 4 x 12".
The problem is that the vast majority of personnel that work in the photo departments of these stores just are simply
clueless or just too lazy to print these panoramics. The reason being is that it requires them to actually read and think
to accomplish the task using the Fuji or Kodak computer systems in the photo department. Now with the self-service photo
terminal kiosks that exist in these stores, the store personnel have no desire to talk to you. Also these self-service photo
terminal kiosks do not have the ability to handle panoramics.
Rarely, we find a location that can do the panoramic prints with a good price. But when we do, I jump on it. As we did
at 2 locations in Moab, Utah. Another option I found is that to send them on-line to a processor, but that takes time (1-2
weeks) vice the 1-Hour service that is needed when you are on-the-road.
In our numerous cross-county travels we have found that in general, with very few exceptions, people are genuinely nice
and friendly, but all too frequently they are slower than Turtles and/or dumber than a brick. Mental sharpness and/or a New
York minute has no meaning whatsoever in their lives.
Mary Ellen and I have a running gag/question, "Who is dumber, the people that work at Wal*Mart or the people that
shop there?". Go figure.