A wider view / by Mario Mirabile

I've had a fascination with panoramic images almost as long as I've had a digital camera. My first was a little Canon point-and-shoot. It had a panorama mode which displayed a set of guide lines to help with composition, alignment and overlap for each frame. I could never work out how it was supposed to work, so I would invariably give up and switch the camera back to auto. 

I think my first attempt was at  Mallacoota Inlet. As I said, I didn't really know what I was doing, and I ended up spending a lot of time tweaking and equalizing the exposure of each frame before assembling the whole thing manually. The result was less than inspiring, but quite a revelation at the time. My technique and tools have become more sophisticated since then, but even so it doesn't always work. When it does, though, it's still a revelation.

Tech Talk
A couple from my recent trip to the state's south-west. The first is Childers Cove. Tucked away off the main road near the end of the Great Ocean Road, it's not nearly as popular as some of the other attractions along that scenic route. In fact, on the day I visited it, I had the place to myself.I toyed around with focus stacking to try getting both the foreground and background in focus, but in the end I was able to get away with a single shot at f9 for each frame. A 3 shot pano with plenty of overlap.

The second is at a spot called The Crags, about 20 kilometres west of Port Fairy. It's a a much wider vista and required 9 frames. The wind was howling off the water, and even weighted down my tripod wasn't particularly stable, so I took the series hand-held. I've tried processing this image several times, and I'm still not entirely happy with the result. Something about the colours and contract just doesn't seem quite right.

Olympus E-5, Zuiko Digital 12-60mm, processed in Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6.