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by Phil Ball

Q.  My new digital camera has a Panorama mode but I have no idea how to use it. Do I need special software to do this?

A.  Panoramas are used to take multiple photos, side by side, In order to join them to create a long and thin photo. The advantage of stitching panoramas is that you increase your image size to get an image that will print larger than normal. Start at one end and keep turning until you have covered the area that you want. Then download the images to your computer and stitch them together using software. The disc that came with your camera probably has a stitching program in it and if not, most photo editors can stitch panoramas for you automatically and easily.

If your camera has a panoramic mode, use it because it simplifies things. If not, then take the photos manually. Do your best to level the camera and make sure that each succeeding photo overlaps the previous one by 20-30% and do your best to insure that the camera uses the same focus and exposure for all or they won’t blend together well. Sometimes the software can blend uneven exposures but often it can’t. I created a panorama out of five images just now. Each photo was about 8x10 in size but the finished panorama was still 8” tall and about 35” in length. Panoramas can be made from just two photos or many. Don’t forget to try verticals for tall subjects.

Published: Courier 9/20/09 - Page 5C