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Just before noon eight very eager students arrived at the Aperture Academy to kick off what would become three really great days of learning, shooting and post processing. Once everyone had gathered at the gallery we walked across the courtyard for lunch and to conduct orientation -- a chance to get to know one-another and talk about the workshop schedule.
This orientation was full of return students -- all but two people had been with us before and one person marked his 20th workshop with us! After joking about a restraining order we proceeded to get to know one another, talk about gear, the workshop and everyone's photography experiences.
After lunch we returned to the Aperture Academy classroom where we spent the next two hours with Stephen and Ellie providing a lecture on panoramic photography and talked in great detail about proper panoramic gear setup, finding the nodal point to eliminate parallax and how to pan through single and multi-row scenes for maximum resolution.
For the last session of the day we setup two stations for finding the Nodal point and each student went through the proper setup with their gear to find the nodal point for their lenses.
With day one complete we enjoyed some wine and an early nights rest to prepare for a full day of shooting the next day, in San Francisco.
Just a couple of days prior to the workshop the weather forecast looked pretty bad -- very high chance of rain. But as photographers, we push on and face mother nature head on and work with whatever she has to hand out. As we drove north to San Francisco the sky looked promising and about 30 minutes later, as we rounded the top of the hill of Twin Peaks, the sky and weather was awesome!
For our first stop, at Twin Peaks, we worked the beautiful San Francisco skyline by capturing single row panoramas. We worked on ensuring proper level, panning, image overlap and of course other topics such as shooting in manual for even exposure and white balance.
The energy was high as we left twin peaks for our next stop, Fort Point, a war era fortress nestled under the south end of the Golden Gate bridge. As we arrived at he fort we were greeted by National Park police -- the road to the fort was closed due to extremely high tide and waves. The waves were giant, crashing onto the roadway. WOWZERS! So we decided to shoot some pano's from the nearby fishing pier.
Time for lunch -- we packed up and headed ot one of our favorite little places in Sausalito for some lunch. I recommended the Lamb burger and just about everyone ordered one...the restaurant thought our group was a little odd but we laughed and enjoyed the tasty burger they served.
Fron lunch we headed up to Hawk Hill, high above the Marin Headlands to one of the most spectacular views of San Francisco. The light was pretty muted when we arrived but after about 15 minutes the light improved and then another 10-15 minutes later it light really came out and shooting conditions were amazing. We spent the rest of our time on Hawk Hill working on single and multi-row panorama images. The highlight was when a beautiful, large, sailboat made it's way under the Golden Gate Bridge and perfectly into our panoramic compositions.
With the sun about to set there was just enough time for one more stop -- the Palace of Fine Arts...for blue hour. And what a blue hour it was. We got all setup and again captured both single and multi-row pano's. The sky produced some amazing textures in the clouds and with only a light wind the pond reflections were picture perfect.
Just as the blue hour faded we felt a few sprinkles...that was mother natures queue that it was time to go...and it was! We hoped in the ApCab Mercedes van and headed back to the Aperture Academy.
With a good nights sleep everyone met at 9am and it was time to head into the classroom once again to stitch the photos we had captured the day before.
We spent the first session, seminar style, talking about the variety of factors involved in stitching, reviewing examples and learning the nuances of combining multiple images into single, and multiple row, panoramic photos.
Once everyone had downloaded their images, and armed with the necessary knowledge, it was time to start stitching...and stitching we did! The next four hours were filled with one-on-one tutoring as Stephen, Ellie and Jan worked with each student to help stitch and process their panoramic photos. Each student selected their favorite from the workshop and submitted them for a free 20x40" print!
We want to extend a big thank you to everyone who joined us on this workshop. It was a lot of fun and we hope to see you back again one day in the future for another adventure!
Until Next Time,
Ellie, Stephen, Jan and the rest of our Aperture Academy Team!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.