With this post I am starting a series dedicated to some of my favorite images, where I will be discussing the story behind the picture.
The first one is a little planet projection of a pano taken in Fort McAllister, GA. I visited Ft. McAllister a few years ago while vacationing in Savannah, GA. I was traveling light, with just my EOS 5D Mk III and a couple of lenses, without my trusty (and somewhat bulky) tripod and all of my pano gear.
It was a cloudy day, and I did not have any specific photography goals in mind, just looking to enjoy the visit and be a tourist for a day.
While walking on the fort’s grounds, I was intrigued by the sod covered bunkers that peppered the landscape, and I decided to walk atop one to see if I could find an interesting view… What I saw was the tree line enclosing all the grounds, a few small dormers that acted as vents for the bunker below my feet, and grassy mounds all around me covering other bunkers.
I thought it would be interesting to take a 360 degree panorama of the scene, with the intent of creating a ‘little planet’. Only one challenge, I did not have any pano gear with me!
I set out to capture three circular rows of images with my EF24-70/2.8L set to its wide end and f/8. To minimize the parallax errors inherent with a hand-held capture, I placed the nadir of my shot in a flat grassy spot, with no near objects sticking up from the ground plane. I also made sure to capture the two dormers on the roof of the bunker in a single shot, so that the stitch lines would not travel through them. I picked a small weed on the ground as a reference for the start of my rotation, firmly planted my left foot as a pivot point, cradled my camera in a portrait orientation and started the first row trying to keep the visual horizon level. By using my foot as a pivot point and cradling the camera to be approximately over it, I tried to keep the rotation of the camera as close as possible to the pivot axis, in a rough approximation of a pano setup.
Without moving my pivot foot, I the proceeded with the second (top) row of captures, using the tree tops as a level reference, and finally the third (bottom) row. Finally, I stepped aside from my pivot point and took one nadir shot at arms-length distance, which would fill the nadir and cover up the image of my foot!
All the images were stitched in PTGui, using the PoV correction function for the nadir fill shot and the Masking function to exclude my foot and leg from the stitch.
The shot worked, with a little luck and a little planning! The final projection was set as little planet, creating an interesting view of the location!
(Note: in this image I left a small black spot to indicate the nadir where the center of rotation was. That was erased in the final picture)