A profusion of colourful flowers in a woodland setting.
May on Vancouver Island brings generally pretty typical spring weather. But this year we had some beautiful long stretches of sunshine with temperatures in the thirties. A local Woodland garden that features Rhododendrons of many varieties was in full bloom so I went and spent an couple hours wandering around and shooting. These panoramic images of various Rhodo bushes are all high resolution and show the detail of each flower in all its glory, yet offer a wider view than just the flower. By stepping back from the plant and using a telephoto lens I was able to shoot these images that are made made up many frames stitched together. The following images could all be printed on a wall mural 10 feet high and you could walk up to it and see dramatic detail in each flower and leaf.
Shooting high resolution images like this of flowers and other vegetation is really enjoyable to me. There is so much beauty in the larger scene but also at he macro level there is a lot of detail to be portrayed.
This spring I also have been working on truly macro level multi shot panos of small forest flowers only a few inches in height. Watch for these in the next blog post.
To see these and more high resolution forest images go to image gallery HERE.
In the image galleries you can use a virtual Magnifying tool to inspect the images more closely.
In May I went to New York City for the first time and was amazed by it.
Not being a big city person I wasn’t sure I would be happy there. But I LOVED it. Every moment that I wasn’t at the Art Expo I was out wandering the streets and riding the Metro at all hours of the day. Most mornings I was up to catch the sunrise as it lit up the buildings or Central Park. On the last day I started at 4:45am by taking the subway to Brooklyn to capture Manhattan with early morning light hitting the buildings.
Then all day was spent wandering around the financial district and the World Trade Center memorial. It was very poignant being here for the first time. We also went up One World Trade building to the lookout. Here I took hundreds of images looking down on the city from one hundred floors up, including a few big panos with 80 to 100 images in them. I haven’t built those ones yet as it will take me some time to get to them.
Later that evening my sister and I took a little ferry over to Jersey City and looked back at Manhattan as the setting sun painted the amazing skyline with golden light. We sat at the ferry dock and watched as the ferry boats transported all the workers home from the financial district and the lights twinkled on for the evening.
I will for sure need to return here and spend another week shooting. It definitely exceeded my expectations as a city.
Middle Earth, or so it has been dubbed since the filming of the Lord of the Rings movies, is really in New Zealand.
During December and January I spent a few weeks at home for the holidays. While I was there I spent some time with my brother-in-law exploring some fascinating high country landscapes in Central Otago. Growing up in the Cardrona Valley and Wanaka imbued in me an appreciation for these vast and seemingly desolate areas.
Leaving Lake Wanaka before dawn on two occasions we drove up through arid farmland and then on to the tops of some ranges as the sun broke over the horizon. The sunrise sent spectacular rays of light penetrating patches of fog that blew up the valleys.
Large format image paradise.
This area lent itself perfectly to expansive panoramic images. So I created a lot of large format images made up of multiple frames stitched together. There is not a lot of obvious detail in many of the scenes but with this photographic technique it allowed me to capture the essence of the landscape perfectly. Wide expansive vistas combined with the ability to look closely at the images and see detail that is easily missed.
On our first foray we left town in shorts as it was the middle of summer after all. As we reached an altitude of sixteen hundred meters the temperature dropped to one degree celsius. Another couple hundred meters and it started snowing and we wished we had dressed a little warmer. Shooting moonlike landscapes in the summer while snow blew sideways made for quite a contrast.
The diversity of life and subtle beauty can easily be over-looked with a quick glance. By spending time in this alpine environment one can witness bird life and many varieties of unique plants.
Typically a seabird, this Pied Oyster Catcher seems out of place in the alpine environment.
The most striking topographical feature in these areas is the Tors. These are Mica Schist rock formations that seemingly rise up out of the ground and are weather beaten and dramatic. Many years of wind and freezing temperatures have shaped these rocks into fantastical shapes. As time wears on the relentless forces of erosion break them down into ever smaller pieces. Due to the mystical looking landscape the area has consequently been used as location for many movies over the years.
Overcoming the challenges of shooting stitched image wildlife panoramics.
Stitched Landscape Panoramics have been popular for a while now and I have been enjoying the challenge of making epic landscape images with this technique. On a recent trip to Botswana my mission was to try super high resolution Stitched Wildlife Panoramics.
gathering at the local watering hole.
Large herds of animals at predictable sites like watering holes made it a bit easier to plan my approach. We were always in vehicles, making it a little trying at times. When the scene was on the other side of the vehicle nobody wanted me clambering onto their lap to get the shot. But fifty percent of the time the scene was on my side and I was able to experiment with this approach. I started with single row images, comprising of four to twelve or more images taken from left to right. (making it easier to visualize when loaded into in my photo processing software). I mostly used a gymbal head mounted on a tripod and secured to the open-sided vehicle with a bungee cord.
When the animals were more stationary it made it a bit easier to shoot a sequence without the movement of animals making the stitching process flawed. Elephants and giraffes standing still were the best subjects.
Note- Click on the below images to open in a larger scale and use the magnifying zoom tool to inspect more closely.
On the move.
When the animals are moving, such as a herd of zebra around a watering hole, the whole process is more difficult. In this case, I had to shoot and look ahead at the same time. Quickly composing the images with overlapping areas in spots that had no animals, or at least more stationary ones, made for better results . As you can imagine this was a very fluid method and it didn’t always work out well. But by taking several sequences I usually got something I was happy with. Of course this wasn’t confirmed until I returned home and started stitching the images together.
I mostly use Adobe Lightroom for the stitching process and Adobe Photoshop for final touches. Surprisingly, Lightroom is able to stitch images quite well even when there is some movement, eg a zebra walking. It intuitively picks the best parts of the overlapping images and creates a good join. Only a couple times did I end up with an animal with five legs.
After I felt comfortable with this technique I started adding double row panoramics. To do this effectively I had to be careful to not have any animals overlapping into the row above, as the animals would have moved enough by the time I got back to that area in the second row.
One animal surprised me.
One animal that was surprisingly easy to photograph in this way was the mighty giraffe. I did not know this but, as gangly as they look, they actually stand stock still at times. Thus I was able to do some creative images with them, singly and in groups. Some fun images I created were vertical stitched images going up and down their bodies as they stood motionless.
This was a very fun and rewarding trial and I am very happy with the results. Of course a return trip is in the works to perfect this process!
To see all of these wildlife panoramic images go to
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
This website is an extension of my photography business to highlight my super sized large format panoramic images. I am addicted to photographing and showing the world in a way that shows the full scene in front of me but also captures the tiny details present. Whether its a beautiful scene from my home of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand, or a herd of Elephants roaming through the bush in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, or a lone Orca swimming down Johnstone Strait, the desire is the same- To show the world in an exciting and dramatic way.