How to deal with huge panoramas viewed online

While it is great to use the tools available today to create panoramas from your photos, publishing them online reduces, sometimes, the impact of what you’ve created.

Panoramas are something that became second nature to me since digital arrived. The possibility to do with digital stitching something that would take hours in the darkroom opened new frontiers of exploration. But showing panoramas on the Web takes away, many times, the grandeur of the panorama created.

I’ve used panoramas in my photography since the very first digital camera I started to use on a regular basis. With my Canon EOS D30, a 3.3 millions of pixels professional model from 2000, sold in a package with an astounding 1 GB IBM MicroDrive, with the same format as a Compact Flash memory card, but then much cheaper. Yes, then the MicroDrive, which was like a hard drive, but miniaturized, seemed to be the future. It was, until 2006, when CF became cheaper and able to hold more data.

The original panorama has 6764 x 4626 pixels. The section shown opening the article is from a 2560x1600 view from my 30-inch screen with the image at 100 percent. It gives you an idea of the sizes involved

Once I got my Canon EOS D30 I started to make panoramas, not so much for the panoramas themselves, but because I could easily stitch two or more images together to get a final file that would be huge in terms of the digital world. You see, we had just started with digital, and a 3,3 MP camera seemed too little for people used to scan 35mm transparencies to transform them in the 70MB size files we were told we needed for printed magazines and books.

I remember one of the first series of panoramas I created for publication: they were of airplanes at Airshows. Not the ones flying, but those on a static display. Suddenly, I had a solution for editors asking for enough pixels for a double page spread: panoramas. Everybody was happy and I believe we, the photographers, felt a bit like magicians, because we had the tools — and for many people the secrets — to create those fantastic images.

This is part of the whole article published at ProVideo Coalition, which explains more about the problems faced by photographers when showing panoramas online using conventional methods, those available at most editorial websites. Here you can see the images mentioned in the article. Do visit ProVideo Coalition to read the article, using the images published here to get the full scope of the story.

Other articles I’ve published using panoramas and that you may want to read:

When in doubt, create a panorama (article)

When in doubt, create a panorama (photos)

Saving the Roman Road

Cresmina: The “Walking” Dune

Tourist… Just for One Day

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving me a tip.