A Different Perspective . . . on wide-angle images, Story and photographs by Bernie Friel

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The Panamint Mountains in Death Valley are reflected in the pond at Badwater. © Bernie Friel / A Different Perspective

As I was editing a batch of images from a shoot in Death Valley National Park, I had an uncomfortable feeling that even though the content was spot-on, some images were not as pleasing as I thought they would be when I shot them. The scene was just too vast, and the eye was distracted by the image composition.


What my eye had seen was a panoramic, but my DSLR did not capture that.








While the remedy was apparent, I had become so accustomed to adjusting image content with a change of lens that I overlooked the format control of the image that is available with cropping while making other edit adjustments in the computer. Also, I have found that sometimes an otherwise good image can be improved by cropping to panoramic.


In the good-old film days, a panoramic image was available if you owned a panoramic camera or if you had a darkroom and printed your images. Of course, you could put a transparency in a plastic sleeve and draw crop lines and have the image cropped commercially too, as shown in the accompanying images.

With camera format fixed in full frame (FX) at 36mm x 24mm or APS-C (DX) at 24mm x 16mm, the photographer has complete format control in the computer. This means that the FX or DX captured by the camera can be readily edited to the panoramic captured with the eye, restoring what seemed lost in the composition of the image.

Jim Clark’s story in the May issue of NANPA eNews provided one way of dealing with this issue. Here, I’ve outlined another. Either way can take you a step closer to capturing images that do not disappoint.

Bernard Friel is a charter member and past president of NANPA who also served on the board of the NANPA Foundation. A retired lawyer, Bernie has been a serious nature photographer for more than 50 years.


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