MW Panoramas: Optimizing time for foreground images

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
CatchingTime
CatchingTime Regular Member • Posts: 218
Re: MW Panoramas: Optimizing time for foreground images

Lots of good info here, and you should probably play around with a couple different scenarios to see what works for you. For example:

  1. Perform a test of how far off Polaris can be with the 85 and still produce relatively clean stars. I've found that even with the 105/1.4 Art, Polaris can be quite a ways off and still get decent enough images (that being said, I'm a 'nightscape' guy, not an 'astro' guy).
  2. Second, the amount of overlap used, which also significantly impacts how quickly you can capture a given scene using a given lens; WA/UWA lenses need more overlap, longer focal lengths you can get away with less. There are tables and guidelines for this, but it really depends a lot on your specific sensor/lens characteristics as to how far you can push it (even with lens profiles 'correcting' the corners, how much noise is introduced is specific to your setup, and the resultant degree to which it negatively impacts your pano merge; this definitely applies to the foregrounds, not just the sky).
  3. Third, depending on your sensor, how little foreground exposure time can you get away with? I always shoot foregrounds within 2/3-stop of wide open, and only shoot wide open if desperate for time. High temps affect this (horribly, in the case of the desert during a heat wave!).

Regarding 'matching' the foreground horizon to the sky horizon, they almost never match perfectly between the foreground and sky rows, and the 'blurred' gradient produced on the horizon from the tracked sky necessitates that it's not perfectly 'accurate/realistic', anyway. The best way I've found to ensure to the best of my ability that they match is to shoot both a foreground and sky row perfectly level, but this approach may also waste precious imaging time as the sky row is capturing useless foreground, while the foreground may also require an additional row, depending on how much you want to include (this won't apply much to using >50mm focal lengths). But, the stitched rows always match quite a bit better (esp. for WA or UWA lenses, where distortion comes into significant play for accurate stitching). I hate using the 14 Art for panos for this reason, and almost never use it because only PTgui can stitch it well.

As Eric said, it is a constant balance every single night to prioritize what you need to capture, figure out how to capture that as efficiently as possible given your equipment, and then to let the conditions guide the order in which you capture the different components of the image. There are (many!) times when using the 105mm just won't fly with time available, and I thus often choose my focal length depending on the amount of time I have given sky/cloud conditions and shooting priorities. This time of year I can't get much more than 2 panos per night, though it's getting better every month!

As far as NR goes, I deal with all that in post, for sure; it's just not worth messing with for nightscape-type images.

Regards,

Jeff

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My $0.02 in a world where pennies are obsolete.

 CatchingTime's gear list:CatchingTime's gear list
Canon EOS 5DS Canon EOS R5 Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sigma 40mm F1.4 DG HSM +1 more
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