When it won’t fit in one frame

23Nov12

Have you ever raised your camera to snap some sweeping vista — or maybe a cramped interior — only to discover that it won’t fit in a single frame?

Happens to me all the time.

I used to mutter naughty words and curse myself for not having a wider lens. Until one day, it occurred to me: “Why not shoot a bunch of frames, and then stitch them together?”

Armed with inspiration (and a healthy dose of ignorance), I began practicing the technique during my European adventure last September. I started in Venice, where some of the most spectacular views are obtained from bridges — which means that you can only “back up” so far before taking an involuntary swim.

I also found that the technique worked well as I strolled Venice’s narrow sidewalks: By walking parallel to the opposite bank, I could capture more of the buildings’ façades.

Sometimes it worked brilliantly, and you’d never guess you were actually looking at 10 or 11 frames.

Other times? Well … not so much.

But as I refined my technique, I found it more and more useful for shots that would otherwise be impossible. Here’s the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, for starters:

Want to try this for yourself? I’ll be back with a tutorial tomorrow.



9 Responses to “When it won’t fit in one frame”

  1. Wonderful shots H!! 🙂 **

    • 2 hmunro

      Quite a compliment, coming from my favorite South African photographer! 🙂 Thank you!

  2. Ooh, I’m looking forward to the tutorial!

    I was surprised to recently learn that even the first-ever photographers would often stitch separate frames of one scene together, mostly to compensate for the focusing shortcomings of their primitive lenses. And as soon at the mid 1800’s artists were taking multiple shots of their subjects and superimposing them onto another fantastical scene of their choosing…basically Photoshop-ing. So you’re in good company here I think 🙂

    Absolutely love the last picture, and in general I have to say that even the “unsuccessful” examples are still beautiful in their own way. Keep it up my friend!

    • 4 hmunro

      Aw, Corey … it’s as if you’ve read my mind. I felt a bit bashful posting this, because I’m usually a photography purist who eschews fancy techniques like stitching and HDR. So thank you for the reminder that post-processing has existed since the early days of photography. (And sometimes, with hilarious results — but that’s another blog post.)

      As for that last picture, I’m happy to report that it’s been chose for publication in a calendar next year! I’ll be sure to send you a copy when I get my samples. 🙂

  3. I sort of discovered this for myself in 1984 on a trip to Germany. Armed only with my lousy 110 camera and faced with the mammoth Cologne Cathedral, my only choice was to back up as far as I could and take a series of photos. I manually arranged the prints (remember those?) in an album so you could see the entire structure. I did the same with a few other scenes around Germany. I scanned in the photos I took of the interior of the Berlin Olympic stadium and used AutoStitch to bring them together and it worked pretty well!

    • 6 hmunro

      Ha, Jim! Yes, yes … I do remember prints — and also the giddy anticipation I’d feel on my way to pick them up. I kind of miss that sense of discovery as I saw my images for the first time. But I still prefer knowing that I got it wrong and being able to re-shoot it on the spot.

      As for your handmade print collage: That sounds wonderful! Do you still have it? It might make for kind of a fun blog post (hint, hint …).

  4. Lovely photos, H!
    If you like photography, we’d like to invite you to participate in our next Travel Photography Competition. Here are the details:
    http://hitchhikershandbook.com/your-contributions/travel-photography/
    Happy travels!

    • 9 hmunro

      Thanks for your very kind comments — and especially for inviting me to enter your Travel Photography Competition! I will be honored to submit a couple of images for voting. Thank you!


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