Although panoramic photographs have been taken in sections and pasted together for years, it was the development of computer software that made seamless panoramas possible with a regular camera.
To create a seamless panorama with a digital camera, you begin by capturing a series of images around a single point of rotation, the optical center of the lens. Later, you stitch these views together with software.
There are a few important ingredients in getting good panoramic images.
Exposure and color balance
The software you use to stitch images together can even out the lighting in a scene but it helps if you give it good images to work with. When taking panoramas some cameras let you use autoexposure lock to ensure that exposure and white balance are consistent throughout the series of images. The settings are locked in at those used for the first image in the series after turning on panoramic mode.
Try to avoid extremes in lighting. These occur on bright sunny days when there are bright highlights and dark shadows. The problem is compounded because you may have to shoot some of the pictures into the sun. If you can pick your time, pick a day when it's cloudy brightovercast but with slight shadows on the ground. If the sun is out, shoot at midday to keep the lighting even. If you have to shoot at other times, position the camera so direct sunlight is blocked behind a tree or building when photographing in its direction. When shooting indoor panoramas, set up the camera to avoid shots of windows with direct sun shining through.
For years, photographers in the fine arts, such as Ansel Adams, have taken black and white pictures almost exclusively. If you want to work in the same medium, some cameras let you shoot in black and white as well as color. This mode is also useful if the photograph is going to be printed in black and white. One advantage of this mode is that black and white images dont have to be compressed as much as color pictures so their image quality is actually higher.
With digital cameras, you normally take one photo at a time, but youre not limited to that way of shooting. You can also capture sequences of photos. In this continuous mode, you just hold down the shutter-release button and images are captured one after another. You can then choose the best image from the sequence or use all of them to create animations on your computer.
In most cases, the camera uses a smaller image size, such as 640 x 480 or smaller, to take sequences. This reduces the processing needed so you can take images at a faster rate.
When shooting in continuous mode, youll take pictures more quickly if the light is brighter. You may get your best results in bright sunlight.
There are programs that convert a series of images into an animated GIF. When posted on the Web, the images are quickly displayed one after the other like frames in a movie. One shareware program you can use is GIF Construction Set.
A number of digital cameras can capture short movies that you can then play back on the camera's monitor or TV screen, post on a Web page, or attach to an e-mail. The cameras vary in their ability to capture video clips in a number of respects: