The definition of Panoramic is, with a wide view. we think about this in terms of viewing an expansive scene. In our Aperture Academy 3-day Panoramic workshop, we teach students the skills to capture these expansive views with incredible resolution.
Stephen and I met up with 9 eager Pano Workshop participants at our state of the art learning center in San Jose, California.
Our first day of class we get to know everyone. Learning a little about everyone helps us understand the expectations of each individual student. Stephen and I talk about our background and current photography endeavors. Once we all get acquainted, Stephen pours over the foundational basics of panoramic images. After he explains the importance of the nodal point, we start our set up our nodel point exercise. Using tables and wine bottles as take he students through each camera and lens setup, ensuring that we locate the nodel point for each lens. This exercise on day one is very important. If the model point is not properly set, it will become quite evident once we go into our post processing or stitching day.
After everyone was all set up with the proper models point, and notes were taken, it was time to partake in the wine that assisted in our exercise. A nice way to end our first and technical day.
On the second day of class we made our way up to San Francisco. Stephen and I had been diligently watching the weather forecast. Wondering and hoping for a favorable weather pattern.
Our fist stop was Twin Peaks. The view from this location is stunning, especially for those students who were with us from other states. Twin Peaks is touted as San Francisco's best view. You can see from the Golden Gate and Marin Headlands, all the way to the Bay Bridge, and even Berkley. An impending weather system created absolutely epic conditions. We were treated to a beautiful blue sky, and white puffy clouds. The visibility was outstanding, and we were all hard pressed to remember a time when the weather was that clear and truly beautiful.
Because the cityscape was far in the distance, this was the perfect spot to get everyone warmed up. Stephen and I went around and made sure that questions were answered and images were benign to get captured.
Our next stop was the historic Fort Point. This location would be very different. We would go from all elements being located very far away, to elements which were very close up. Before getting the Pano gear set up, we took a quick trip up to the rooftop. The sky was so stunning we wanted everyone to capture a few quick single frames. I can't remember a time when the sky was this beautiful. After a short time, we got to breaking out the Pano gear for some architectural Panos. We had them shooting some expansive architecture, as well as the intimate hallway passages. The light was spectacular, and those LCD screens were aglow with some awesome images already.
After our time at the fort we had a quick lunch break in Sausalito.After lunch we made our way up to another one of San Francisco's best views, Hawk Hill. On the Marin Headlands the city is visible from underneath the Golden Gate bridge. Mother Nature was still delivering the goods, in the form of a crystal clear view of SF and the surrounding areas, under photoshop perfect clouds and a rich blue sky. We had the students working on multi rows now. The image quality is unsurpassed with the multi row images and this was the perfect setting to implement. Just as I was about to set up our group photo, a gorgeous little rainbow appeared right over the city. It was a truly spectacular scene. We all had to grab a quick iPhone pano so we could throw up a post on Facebook. It was that beautiful. After our group photo we packed up and headed to our last but on least location, the Palace of Fine Arts.
We arrived at the Palace just before sunset. Stephen and I wanted the students to get in prime position and all set up before the blue hour light. The reason we end at the Palace of Fine Arts is that spectacular blue hour light. The architecture and lighting is beautifully warm, and the contrasting deep blue sky is a stellar combination. This is definitely a multi row spot, due to the proximity of the reflection pond. By now everyone was feeling more comfortable with the it equipment and the rows were firing in mass succession. As the sky darkened that was our queue to pack up and head back to your studio in San Jose. We said our goodnights and prepped everyone for the next mornings activities.
Day 3 is when the rubber meets the road. If everything has been done correctly up until this point, the images will come together nicely. Oftentimes even if things seem correct, they may be slightly off, which can be problematic in the post processing area. Stephen walked through the particulars in a detailed power point on image sticking in Adobe Photoshop. The students dowloaded all of their images and followed along as Stephen went through the different scenarios possible during this critical post processing session. We were also joined by Jan Silverman. Jan is our printing expert and is also very well versed in post processing.
Stephen, Jan, and myself helped with selecting images to stitch, as well as trouble shooting those images that don’t seem to want to come together under normal conditions. Once the students found their favorite images, we worked on processing the completed file for the best print. All of the students received a print of chosen image, that Jan would be printing for them. It turned out that everyones favorite image was at our last stop. It’s easy to see why because that location is truly stunning, and it’s our favorite as well.
We had so much fun over the last 3 days with our students, but it was now time to say our fond farewells. We hope to see you all again on another Aperture Academy Photography Workshop.
Until next time, a huge thank you from Ellie, Stephen, Jan, and the entire Aperture Academy Team!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.