This past weekend brought me what I believe was my greatest challenge to date. I was asked by the stunningly beautiful Compass Point Beach resort to work with them to create what will become their ‘signature’ image – a panoramic shot of the entire resort.
Easy enough – panoramas are a breeze with a quality lens, a sturdy tripod and a little bit of Photoshop magic to merge the final shots together.
Well, not quite…
The weather was perfect – a sprinkling of clouds dusting blue skies, the light perfect to bring out the stunning turquoise Bahamas ocean. The only problem in this case was that the only way to make the shots for the panorama was going to be about half a mile offshore from a boat. Tripod? Not going to work. Photoshop ‘photomerge’? Nope, not going to work either. How do I get myself into these situations?
If things weren’t tricky enough, our original boat didn’t show up (welcome to The Bahamas!) so we scrambled a plan B, which involved a rather rickety little boat that vaguely resembled a row boat with an engine on the back. Not ideal, but it was all we could get on short notice, and it would have to do.
So, off we went for a preliminary scouting run from one end of the resort to the other, giving me a chance to work out the best distance from shore, the ideal settings for the lighting conditions and a rough idea of how many shots I was going to need to make the final image.
With everything ready, it was time to make the actual run. Perched on the bow of our tiny boat, trying to find a position that wasn’t going to mess up my already messed up knee (I’ll post about that one soon), I guided our captain back along the shore line, taking the series of images I needed, all the while acutely aware I was only one small wave from taking my 7D for a nice refreshing swim in the ocean!
Somehow, we made it through the shoot and safely back to land. With Compass Point being my favorite place to hang out anyway, I’d brought my laptop with me so I could hide in a corner with a cold beer beer and start work on putting my final images together. After pulling the images into Aperture and making the initial selects, it was time to pull them into Photoshop and start putting them together. I did try the Photomerge option to start with, hoping it would save a little time, but it seems the images have to at least vaguely line up for this to work. After five minutes of chugging away, Photoshop decided that images made form a boat moving forward and up and down simultaneously were just way out of its league and politely told me it had no clue as to how to deal with them, so I was on my own on this one.
Two hours (and three beers) later, I saved out a 38 megapixel panorama of the resort. I loved it, the client loved it, and I also got to eat the best damn burger I’ve had in 10 years. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you try one!
Till next time.