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Panoramic shots Underwater


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#1 Cal

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:02 AM

Hey Guys,

I'm always trying new things underwater.

I love the work of Ken Duncan (http://www.kenduncan.com/)

Whats the best way to do this underwater? (I'm talking about the style......not the quality. )

Just the same as a normal panoramic shot above water? i.e. multiple shots merged in photoshop? Any tips on this? tripods?

Could I get a decent print (50") from a d90 if I took multiple frames? Would I get better results (subjective, I know) if I invested in a medium format camera with a panoramic lens and housing? ($$$$)

I know this is a massive topic but I'd love to hear some thoughts to help clarify my own etc

Cheers

Cal

Edited by Cal, 04 November 2010 - 12:19 AM.

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#2 Karl

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:23 AM

Hi Cal,

Have been thinking about the same thing - I am looking at taking a number of photos (in portrait format), over lap by 1/3 and then stitch them together in PSE 7 or PTGui.

The biggest issue I have is keeping still enough and maintaining the same centre point I as pan across - thinking of making a monopod to assist with this.

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#3 Cal

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:33 AM

Thanks Karl,


Has anyone ever used a Hassleblad xpan underwater?
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#4 loftus

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:32 AM

Just some thoughts on large format. Of course, large format would work but I think underwater, working with large format would handicap rather than be an advantage. First, except for exceptionally clear water, and relatively close up scenes like a reef scene, you would lose any benefit you have of larger format due to loss of resolution by virtue of your water body.
Second is the issue of wide angle lenses, and dome issues with larger format. Going as wide as present smaller format cameras behind a dome with larger format cameras has been shown to be problematic if not impossible with presently available large format lenses.
So I think for large subjects like wrecks etc it would be technically difficult and in practice you would not be able to demonstrate an advatage.
In close up reef scenes in crystal clear water, and combining more large format images that are individually not as wide, you could probably produce some awesome stuff.
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#5 Scubamoose

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:39 AM

Hi Cal!

I'm not able to give You any hint on the camera selection, but I have some experience shooting panoramic images UW.
I have used my Canon G9 for that and the results are not so bad.

Firstly You do need a tripod for this - I dont think monipod is steady enough (but then again I havent tryed to use a monopod, so can't say for sure).
I use manfrotto ballhead tripod and it works quite well.
I have attached the tripod connection plate under my Ikelite housing handtray like this:

IMG_0536.jpg

Usually I take 3 to 10 portrate images and stich them together.

Here are a few results as well:

2384.jpg

24570001.jpg

Hope this helps.

Cheers
Karel
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#6 cor

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:40 AM

I have done a 200+ image underwater panorama once. Just by shooting by hand, and then stitching the result in photoshop. But for my specific project small mistakes didnt matter, it was just a large underwater map of a dive site. Ive seen people do panoramas on divetrips though, using the same method. Just shooting by hand and stitching. The results I saw were incredibly good reef shots. I could not detect artifacts.
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#7 Cal

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:46 AM

Thanks guys!

ScubaMoose those are fantastic and exactly along the lines of what i'm thinking.

I plan on printing these to 50" so they need to be flawless so hand held is not an option.

Scubamoose - how did you go with light ripples differing between the shots?

Has anyone ever used a pano head?

cheers

Cal

Also- thanks for housing pic. That really helps!
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#8 Scubamoose

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:48 AM

Ive seen people do panoramas on divetrips though, using the same method. Just shooting by hand and stitching. The results I saw were incredibly good reef shots. I could not detect artifacts.


How do I develope a steady hand like that?!?! :)
Probably have to just limit the amount of those late night coctails :)

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#9 Scubamoose

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:56 AM

Scubamoose - how did you go with light ripples differing between the shots?


Actually there are some relatively small visible differences in the ripples. But so far only I have seen them in 2:1 magnification in LR - so really hard to notice.
However I did took about 20 set of images per one sceen and these are the best ones that came out. So the failure rate was actually quite high.

Cheers
Karel
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#10 Cal

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:07 AM

hmmm see thats the problem. I want a minimal failure rate (dont we all!)

any other shots you can share?
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#11 Scubamoose

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:25 AM

any other shots you can share?


I actually worked more on developing the technique and to get some experience on this matter, rather than capturing a lot of interesting shots. These pictures are all from Estonia and we have only a few places where the water is clear enough for shooting panoramic images. These pictures are from freshwater springs and there is minimal life (besides flora) so nothing really special to photograph.

22130000.jpg

Cheers
Karel
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#12 loftus

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 04:19 AM

If the type of image you are looking at is what Karel shows, with no discernable problems with ripples etc, then you have to add perfect clarity and perfect stillness to the mix with any type of multiple image process. Even sun rays glimmering through very still water will be an issue. I have had that issue even shooting 6-8 fps for HDR, although of course panos are easier as you are not superimposing the same image like HDR. Sounds like a single image pano camera like the Hassy will then be the best option as you mention with the type of image you have in mind. But then you have to work on superwide dome issues........
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#13 Paul Kay

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 05:31 AM

Try Dan Burton (he sometimes posts here (http://www.underwate...?g2_itemId=3289). I think he has used a Hassy Xpan in the past but he may well have done some stitching too. I haven't tried stitching underwater but have tried both tripod and hand-held images above water with surprisingly good results from both. Personally I'd try some hand-held first and see if they come up to the standard you need - shoot everything in manual (and if you use lights they do need to be in fixed positions, not on the camera) because stitching is far easier with matched focus and exposures - I generally shoot RAW, adjust one and then apply the same parameters to the shots which will be stitched. FWIW, above water long exposures of moving subjects like rivers work easiest as this reduces problems of stitching moving areas - but this could be tricky underwater even on a tripod. One other thing is that if you are shooting with a dome port then ideally the housing should be pivoted about the centre of the dome.

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#14 loftus

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:13 AM

There have been quite a few WP panorama posts if you do a search. I remember some of the most impressive stuff we saw was Claude Ruff's, you may want to try contact him.
http://wetpixel.com/...rubis-panorama/

There have been quite a few WP panorama posts if you do a search. I remember some of the most impressive stuff we saw was Claude Ruff's, you may want to try contact him.
http://wetpixel.com/...rubis-panorama/
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#15 cor

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:15 AM

It all depends on the subject you want a pano from. If it's a sandy beach or anything else with horizontal or other symmetrical lines it's tough. But a busy closer up series of a reef can be much easier because glitches have a higher chance of becoming invisible in the existing chaos. And CS5 is very good at making sense of panos that dont perfectly match.
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#16 Undertow

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 09:01 AM

I've been hoping to try an UW pano myself. Topside panos and over/unders seem to sell well for me. Maybe i'll try an over/under pano next time.... :)

Rotating around the nodal point of the lens will be very important methinks. Especially with how close we must get to things UW, get some serious parallax. A pano head would be a good idea but they're usually expensive, not designed for UW and generally too small (with nodal point gear) to accommodate a housing. I wouldn't dare take my Really Right Stuff pano gear UW ($$).

Some sort of panning head and a custom nodal point rail are the best bet, and what i'm working on now. I have a cheap velbon plastic video tripod with a pan/tilt head i've used UW a few times in the past couple years. The head still works just fine, though screws are rusty.

Karel's done an excellent job and luckily the G9's lens nodal point will be close enough to the base of the housing that it can work ok mounting the tripod there. With a DSLR it will be more difficult.

If I remember correctly from Claude's awesome submarine, he shot it by swimming down the length of the sub and taking flat-on shots. This is not the traditional type of panorama taken from 1 spot. Unless you're subject is very flat (which he managed to achieve visually) with a very uniform background/foreground like sand that can be blended together without matching up, one will run into major stitching issues due to changing perspective.

Cheers,

Chris


#17 Scubamoose

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:49 AM

Maybe i'll try an over/under pano next time.... :)


Tryed that for a moment as well, but getting the water level eaven on all the shots is totally impossible with G9 Ikelite's small port.

Cheers
Karel
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#18 Cal

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:53 PM

After 4-5hrs net time and late night coffees I think an Xpan is the best way way to get the shot i'm after.

Digital and stitching just has too many issues as loftus mentioned (light ripples not matching etc). I'll be shooting shallow (1-2m) so its all about light ripples.

So I think i'll try find an xpan (super expensive camera) and a housing.

I read that Doubilet used an xpan in a modified aquatica f3 housing. I also read that Amos has done something underwater with an xpan as well. I've emailed them both and hope to hear back with some tips.

Are there any other cameras that can shoot panoramas like an xpan?

I don't know a great deal about film cameras

Cheers

Cal

Edited by Cal, 04 November 2010 - 04:11 PM.

http://www.calmero.com.au/ - Creative Underwater Photography

#19 Cal

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 04:11 PM

Sorry - any other cameras that can produce a panoramic shot in a single exposure like the xpan?
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#20 shchae

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 04:54 PM

Sorry - any other cameras that can produce a panoramic shot in a single exposure like the xpan?


Hi,
You can check the specification of Sony NEX-5. It does very good panoramic shots automatically.

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