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Storm clearing at Jeremy Point

Adam Bolonsky

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It looks pretty good to me… but you have to decide how much you want to put into shooting & stitching good panos.

The camera on the tripod has to rotate about a point where the image inverts. But none of the camera bodies indicate where that is and it is typically not the ¼-20 mounting thread. So you need an adapter to mount the camera to the tripod so it can be adjusted along the optical axis. I had one machined from aluminum for the camera I use. You also should have an indexing head on your tripod for uniform angular settings.

Once the camera is set up select or place a near field object in line with a far field object. Then rotate the camera body and watch what happens between the near & far field object.

When the camera body is rotating through the point of image inversion the two points will stay in line. Otherwise they will appear to move out of alignment. If they are not aligned the auto-stitch will have a ghosted image requiring manual adjustments.

Another tricky alignment tilts the pixel array on the CCD so it exactly lines up with the axis of rotation. A straight line will show a jog at the stitch if the CCD array is not aligned to the axis of rotation. This is a trial & error adjustment that requires an adjusting screw or shim between the mounting bracket & the camera body. It is far more important than having the tripod leveled.

Narrow lens angles work better than wide angles. I used to take shots every 30 degrees and spent way too much time stitching them because of off-axis distortions. Then I went to 24 degrees and now it’s a shot every 20 degrees with the camera on its side and better results. The high end machines stitch every 5 degrees or less. That implies you need a lot of memory with you to save the shots.

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