Panorama Photography

Badlands Nation Park, and why I'll probably never be an astrophotographer

We visited the Badlands National Park recently.  The entire purpose was to try my hand at astrophotography. It was a bit windy the night we went out, but I was still able to capture a few shots. None of them are worth showing the public though; they all turned out a wee bit blurry because I used way too long of a shutter speed. At least I know what I did wrong. 

Badlands Selfie | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Besides the shutter speed, I learned a few things about astrophotography...

  • It is way harder than it looks

  • With my camera I need to be in place, and focused in, before the sun goes down

  • I am a great big chicken when I am standing out in the middle of no where, in the pitch black.

Badlands by Day | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I seriously would have had a Blair Witch Project experience if my family had not been out in the pitch-black-you-can't-see-beyond-a-foot-in-the-darkness-of-night with me.  I can totally relate to those poor kids...

Joshua Leonard:
I heard two noises coming from two separate areas of space over there. One of them could have been a deer, but the other one sounded like a cackling.

Heather Donahue:
No way!

Joshua Leonard:
Yeah, it was like a serious cackling.

~Blair Witch Project

Badlands by Dusk | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I think I will stick to the daylight for now, and something I happen to enjoy, panoramas. 

Things you will need for beginning astrophotography....

  • A tripod

  • A remote trigger.... I have an app that will do this for me, or you can use your timer. Which is what I ended up doing because I forgot about my handy app.

  • I used a wide-angle lens, because I was wanting a landscape shot.

  • An editing program, because no matter how great of a shot you make, astrophotography almost always needs a boost from editing.

This is a great site if you want to explore astrophotography further.

You can see more of our visit to Badlands Nation Park at my new Instagram gallery called @wanderingroad

A Sneak Peek of Yellowstone National Park

The good...

I have a ton pf photos to edit of our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National park. It was an epic trip that left me with a list of photographic opportunities I want to pursue in the near future. A trip back is a definite must. 

For now, I'll leave you with a sneak peek of three panoramas that I took with my iPhone. I have several others that I took with my DSLR that I will share at a later date. Yellowstone and Grand Teton is a must for panorama photography. You'll really cannot capture the topography of the landscape without using panorama. 

Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up

The fun; Tips and Tricks for Panorama Photography....

~If you plan to print your panoramas think about the length. Generally, you do not want to stretch them out too long, or have them too narrow. I have found that a 3:1 ratio is a great size to print. 

~If you are sticking your panoramaS together from individual shots you'll want to shoot in portrait aspect so that your short side will not be too thin. 

~If you do not have a panorama track for your tripod, don't worry you can still shoot them by hand. I plant my right foot and pivot from left to right (in a semi-circle) never moving my right foot. It takeS a little practice but the results are fairly spot on. 

~When shooting individual pictures for your panorama always shoot with an overlap of 15% to 25%. I have found when sticking photos together that 25% tends to work out a bit better for me. 

~Before you begin to shooting, pivot while tracking with your eye to notice where you might have to adjust up or down for the curvature of the Earth. This is very similar to following the line on your phone when shooting in panorama mode. 

~I always shoot more than once just to make sure I have what I need. So, I shoot my shots left to right, overlapping each shot, and then begin again. You can always delete your photos later, but it's hard to stick them together in Lightroom or Photoshop if you do not have enough information. 

~I like to stick mine together in Lightroom using the panorama feature because I can then adjust any aspect issues in Lightroom in the Transform Panel if I have any curvature issues in my final photo. 

Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up
Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up

Life Thru the Lens 20/52.... Custer State Park, S.D. and Wind Cave National Park

The Random....

Did you know that the buffalo is now the national mammal of the United States? This statues is not to be confused with the national emblem, and national animal, of the U.S. the bald eagle. Oh course, it comes with no additional species protection, but.... stop me now before I digress into a conversation about how it is NEVER a good idea to try to pet a bison. Or, take a selfie with one.

The Good....

I captured these beauties in Custer State Park, one of our favorite places to visit in The Black Hills. 

Do you want to learn about travel photography? Try CreativeLive's   Travel Photography Toolkit . (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

Do you want to learn about travel photography? Try CreativeLive's  Travel Photography Toolkit. (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

Tips for taking photos of wildlife....

  • A zoom lens is a must so that you can keep a safe distance from the animals, both for your protection and theirs.
  • A camera bean bag is a terrific aid in keeping your camera steady when you are capturing wildlife through an open window of a car. (You can see the one I use in the sidebar.)
  • Always use common sense, if the animals seem agitated move on from your location.
  • Never, never, never approach wildlife!!! With all the events taking place in Yellowstone and in our local area, what seems like common sense must be reiterated... these are wild animals they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. No shot is ever worth the loss of your life.
  • Wait for it. Take your time and just simple watch the animals for a while. A good shot never happens right away. We waited for this big guy to gradually make his way towards us before I got the shot I wanted. 
Want to learn new techniques for outdoor photography? Try CreativeLive's  Unique Outdoor Photography Techniques . (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

Want to learn new techniques for outdoor photography? Try CreativeLive's Unique Outdoor Photography Techniques. (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

The Fun....

We head down to the southern Black Hills quite often, and on rainy day in the early spring we went buffalo baby hunting. Unfortunately, we were a bit early, which was a bummer, but we did happen to come upon these fluffy bison in Wind Cave National Park. We might, or might not have, sat there for about 30 minutes watching these guys. We were quite amused, we have never seen buffalo with such shaggy hair on their heads. 

Winde Cave National Park | Life Thur the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Since we did not find the treasure I was hunting for, I thought I might as well try my hand at taking photos specifically for a panorama. This shot is made up of 13 shots total and then stitched together in Photoshop. I am pretty happy since it was my first try at a stitched panorama. But, there is always room to improve...

1. I should have taken my shots in portrait view so that the short side of my photo would have been bigger pixel wise. My overall shot ended up being 13047 by 3165. Not bad, but I would have to upsize on the short side to print this, because (very basically speaking) I could print a 43 by 12 picture. I'd want it to be bigger than 12 inches on the short side. 

2. I forgot my tripod, or I should say I just didn't bring it. I was not planning on shooting a pano on this particular day.

3. It was sprinkling which made for a really pretty sky, but I needed an umbrella to protect the lens from water. My camera is waterproof, but keeping sprinkles off the lens is always a challenge without an umbrella. 



New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

Life Thru the Lens weekly linkup | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I'm linking to these lovely photographic communities.... join along!