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Exposure bracketing for spectacular panoramas

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Picture of exposure bracketing for spectacular panoramas
After thousands of panoramas taken in all these years coming from the old manual Exacta film camera, then the Canon A-1, passing throught the full automatic EOS1, arriving to digital stuff and still improving myself, I think I came at a moment at which it should be a great satisfaction to share my tecnique and my knowhow.
So let's begin, in this instructable I'll show you a powerful way to improve your panorama style (..all right, your style could be already better than mine... let's say it's for anybody loves my panoramas!).

[UPDATE: for a full hand-book about making 360° pictures see here: the-Ultimate-Guide-for-easy-awesome-VR-panoramas]
 
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Step 1: Bracketing?!

Picture of bracketing?!
The bracketing tecnique consists in simple worlds to take, of the same subject, a series of shots equal in everything but a single parameter. This parameter is usually exposure, and in this case we name it "exposure bracketing", but a lot of bracketing types exist.
Exposure bracketing is essential in photography to save a wide range of details, each one in different light conditions, at least until someone will invent a sensor with a very wide dynamic range... but that's another story.

Step 2: Shot the serie

Picture of shot the serie
Modern cameras will automatically shot a bracketing serie, usually three photos, and you can choose the gap between them. I suggest 2/3 stop, or 1 stop if you think there is a large luminosity difference between shadows and highlights.
With the bracketing function the three photos will be taken in a very fast interval, so in my opinion you can take them hand-held (obviously only in daylight), but you'll need in that case to align them in post processing. If you use a tripod your work will be faster and more precise. For best result set the continuous drive mode H (the faster you have) and the bracketing function, turn on the lens stabilization (if you've it and if you shot hand-held, if you use a tripod set the 2 sec delay), and take your shots. Use RAW for best quality.
I hope you know you are now obligated to tell us how you do those amazing top-to-bottom panoramas. Is it an automated motorized mount?
andrea biffi (author)  mattthegamer4631 year ago
ahah, of course!
almost all my panoramas are taken hand-held, so there is a lot of post processing to remove overlapping errors. Anyway, traveling a lot by bike, tripod is too heavy, and also I prefer take shots in a fast way. I'll compose panoramas back at home.
Yes but the top-to-bottom seamlessness, and perfect capture of the view 180 degrees up and down and 360 around, is astounding.
andrea biffi (author)  mattthegamer4631 year ago
I'm a perfectionist ;-)
Are you going to write an Instructable on how you do it?
andrea biffi (author)  mattthegamer4631 year ago
Yes of course if you and many instructables members demand it ;-)
Consider it demanded, sir.
andrea biffi (author)  mattthegamer4631 year ago
andrea biffi (author)  mattthegamer4631 year ago
All right, let's say one is enough... I'll work on that ;-)
vonfear1 year ago
Hi,

only one question :)

I have to make 180 degres panorama at night and in HDR. Can anyone help me to do it, i cant use bracketing because of very long exposure times so i need to doit manualy i usuali overburn picture for 30" and use normal one and do it in 1/30 of a second. Which program is the best to do it or how to do it best in photoshop.

Tnx for all answers u can even email me on von.fear@gmail.com.
andrea biffi (author)  vonfear1 year ago
you can try an hdr program to merge the shots... Photomatix and Dynamic-photo are the most common.
Have you ever used autostitch?
Very good stitching program!
andrea biffi (author)  Greasetattoo1 year ago
Yes of course, it's the first program I've used to merge my (non spherical) panoramas many many years ago, but I don't use it anymore.
GREAT Stuff!
I have done some HDR, too!
How do you get your subjects to stay still for the different exposures?
I realize the camera takes them in succession, but that must be a fast exposure?
Thanks and keep up the GREAT work!
andrea biffi (author)  Greasetattoo1 year ago
Hi, some hdr programs have a deghosting function. Since this is not an hdr, I've managed the people stay on one layer and I've tried to not overlap them with other layers..
The faster the shots are taken the similar would be the shots, but there will always be differences if people are moving. Exposure time will not affect it, because is always much more short than interval between shots.
Thanks for the compliments :-)
jensenr301 year ago
wow. cool tutorial!
Awesome Instructable. If anyone wants to try these, I suggest practice editing bracketed photos and panoramas separately, then combine the two.

Do you print your work at all? I think this is when panoramas really excel.
andrea biffi (author)  stupidityisanart1 year ago
Oh yes you're perfectly right. I noted that the topics are huge and one instructable is too short to cover much of both. So I had to pass over some details.
Yes of course I've printed the better ones 1 meter long, they're awesome!! At International Furniture Fair here in Milan one of my panorama has been printed 10m long (look here)
Wow, there's a lot to learn here!
...and this one got Featured too :D
oh and in the homepage too!!
andrea biffi (author)  lindarose921 year ago
:-) yes! Although there is not much to build here!
andrea biffi (author) 1 year ago
You can see the the two 360° panoramas here:
Vacca Nonesa
Città di Chiusa
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