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Improve your wildlife photography skills by downloading Villiers’ app, Learn by Example – Wildlife Photography, in the Appstore or Google Play Store. It’s available for both smartphones and tablets. If you come across a jaw-dropping scene of a thousand buffalo covering the open plains or a large herd of elephant congregating at a waterhole (above), and you find that you can’t fit them all in one shot, don’t despair. You can create a striking panorama during post-processing by stitching together a series of photos taken with your zoom lens. Here’s how you do it: • Switch to Manual Mode (M) and choose a relatively high f-value to ensure the depth of field is not too narrow (f/11 should do). Set your ISO to between 400 and 800 and then choose the shutter speed value that gives you the best exposure. We do this to ensure that all the photos in the series look similar. • Now turn your camera vertically and start taking a series of photos from left to right, making sure that each one overlaps about 20% with the previous one. Take the photos quickly, but smoothly, making sure you don’t cut off treetops and that you keep overlapping images. I usually take four or five sequences (each containing about 10 photos) just to make sure. These photos can now be stitched together in processing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to form a panorama shot. I always try my best to take a good combination of close-ups (above) and wide animal-in-its-environment kind of shots (below) so that I can combine them later for maximum impact in articles and blog posts. That’s why I love my Nikon 80-400mm zoom lens so much – it allows me to get very close and reasonably wide without having to change lenses. Canon’s 100-400mm lens will give you similar results, but unfortunately the extremely popular 150-600mm Tamron and Sigma lenses are not nearly wide enough for striking environment shots at 150mm, especially if they are used on camera bodies with internal magnifications, which is often the case. If you do use one of these longer zoom lenses, it’s best to keep a second, wider lens (like a 24-70mm or 70-200mm) close by. Take a photo of the ground or the sky between each sequence, just to remind you which photos belong in which series. Don’t forget to use your smartphone’s Panorama function. I’m very impressed with the outcome of my iPhone’s pano shots. THE POWER OF ZOOM STITCH THEM TOGETHER TOP PANORAMA TIPS: 71


1-October-2016
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