Panoramas and Ocean Waves Movement Solution

Thinking back over the past year, the first thing I did of consequence, on January 1st, 2008 was an interesting panorama test, during a hike. Waves in the ocean have always been a problem with stitched images! This technique works quite well.

We finally had a nice day, after 2 weeks of rain and wind. Eve and I hiked out to a headland we’ve never been to before, BlackLock Point, a few miles north of Port Orford. After about a 2 1/2 mile hike through the woods, trail on an abandoned road, dodging huge puddles, more like small lakes, the trail opens up in a grassy meadow a couple hundred feet above the ocean.

The views are pretty spectacular! We hiked on down to the remote beach, and I decided the spot was ideal for an idea I had. Waves, especially fast moving, are really a pain combined with panos!

So, I had my Canon 40d set up on the Panosaurus head, camera set to the lower speed continuous shutter setting, about 3 FPS. I practiced a couple times, then held down the release, while I very quickly rotated the camera, in the same direction as the waves. Shooting at F13, 1/1250 @200 ISO, it stopped the action and seems to have worked quite well.
It wasn’t the ideal test, as the contrast range was excessive, but there was no way to shoot multiple (HDR) exposures too! It is a 4 images stitch, using the Canon 17-40 L shot at 35mm.

There was very little motion between shots, only 1 small area that had to be cloned a bit to smooth it out. The sky was hazy/foggy by this time, and I was dang near shooting into the sun, so it’s not a great image, but it is a success!

I shot right to left, so I could make the first shot while catching the wave splash.
Blacklock Point looking south towards Cape Blanco Oregon


One Response to “Panoramas and Ocean Waves Movement Solution”

  1. I have a panorama (my first ever) taken years ago near the Port Orford dock looking south, a five image stitch taken without the skill, equipment or trick technique. In my naivete, the fact that waves move around a lot, and the complications for stitched images that that movement implies, hadn’t completely dawned on me. Some 12 aggravating hours of Photoshop cloning later, I had a panorama that looked okay, as long as it wasn’t enlarged.

    Thanks for this and countless other tips. It must be hard to be humble when you’re so talented and knowledgeable. Of course, I wouldn’t know…

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