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First Pano

nedcampbell

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Enjoying my new Mavic 2 Zoom. Here is my first pano with no picture editing.
I think taking pics from above the ground is going to be fun to do.
Feedback and critique welcomed.
 

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  • Geist Sunset - 09_23_2018.jpg
    Geist Sunset - 09_23_2018.jpg
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Enjoying my new Mavic 2 Zoom. Here is my first pano with no picture editing.
I think taking pics from above the ground is going to be fun to do.
Feedback and critique welcomed.

So it's a nice sunset. I hope you get many more :). I'm not sure how seriously you're looking for the critique / feedback thing, but here are my first thoughts:

1) I assume you used the internal "pano" function? That's fine, in general, but you'll almost always get better results if you do it yourself, particularly in a more complicated shot like this. There are a lot of reasons for that, some of which I'll get into below.
2) The main thing that strikes me about the shot from the perspective of someone who shoots a lot of sunsets is that the highlights are completely blown out on the right hand side of the image, around where the sun is. There's no real detail there in the clouds - it's just white. Again, this isn't uncommon when you're looking at a JPG shot in automatic mode. There are a few things you can do to help this, but they all require a lot more work in post than just hitting the button :).
3) Along with the highlights being blown, I'd like to see a bit more detail in the ground - especially on the right side it's hard to tell what's going on down there. Some of what I'll describe below will help even those things out.
4) Your perspective here is cool, but I find myself looking down at those boats on the lower right and wondering what the sunset would have looked like with that framed as the main foreground feature - especially if you had them diagonally positioned running off into a vanishing point. I think that could be a really cool shot. I'm admittedly new to the aerial photography thing as well, but I think the real key is finding an interesting perspective that you couldn't have gotten on the ground - something that I'm noticing goes against my natural instinct of "fly as high as you can and hope for the best." In the case of an aerial sunset, I think that means really paying attention to what's on the ground and tying to get the most interesting composition there you can - the clouds often take care of themselves (or don't, in which case it wasn't worth shooting anyway).

To expand on #2, here's what I would do to improve the shot from a shooting / processing perspective:

a) shoot in raw and stitch it yourself in an external program (Lightroom would probably work fine). The main thing you're going to want to do here is expose to the right. In other words, you want your exposure to be as bright as you can without blowing the highlights in the image. Using the histogram on screen can be helpful here. You'll also want to shoot in manual mode, and with manual white balance to make the stitching process easier (exposure / WB variations across the images are bad).
b) If you're willing to put in a little more work, this scene would probably benefit from shooting in AEB mode (I'd suggest 5 shots) and then merging those shots in an HDR panorama. Honestly with this much dynamic range, you might be better off manually bracketing (instead of using AEB) at 1 stop increments. If you're using something like Lightroom, you can merge the individual images into an HDR, then stitch the HDR images into a panorama, or if you're using an external program (like PTGui) I typically find that it's better to stitch the layers together first, then HDR merge them later.

Happy shooting. Look forward to seeing your next shots!
 
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