Panorama night with Elite and eXtreme with Bob Coates

Words by Bob Coates
Edited by Eryka Bagwell

I set up the Platypod eXtreme mounted with the Platyball Elite electronic leveling ball head. Note that the camera lens is mounted over the light entry point of the lens. Also known as the Nodal Point, this makes it easier to create the panorama. There is much less distortion using this method. It keeps your software from warping the pano. Learn more about it by doing a search online.

Once I checked the scene through the entire pano I made micro adjustments. As I mentioned earlier the Platyball Elite has a built-in level which runs on a single common 12V alkaline A23 battery (included in your purchase). Once the level is set, the rotation of the camera is above the pivot point ensuring the camera stays level as it moves through the exposures. I always photograph from left to right which makes seeing the images that are all part of the panorama sweep show together.

Exposures should be made with a manual setting so there are less possible variations. With the camera in a vertical orientation 12 exposures were made overlapping by about 40-50%. One panorama was created just after sunset in order to have detail in the red rocks as they would not have detail after dark. The second panorama was made to capture the stars. I made a small error when making that exposure. The White Balance on the camera was set to auto. Even though the exposure was manual that slightly changing White Balance caused some small issues that needed extra work in post-production. Set to a known white balance such as daylight for the most consistent results. 


The two panoramas were blended together for the finished image.

Adobe Photoshop’s Photo Merge was used to blend the individual panoramas. Blending of the two panoramas was done with a bit of Transform Tool and a layer mask.

To view more of Bob Coates work click here

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