Sunrise Panorama

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The Cakrawarta Satellite has run out of positioning fuel.

So, what has that got to do with us? Well, it goes like this:

We have an old satellite dish that I bought years ago from a business that was going sour. I bought the disk for K150 (about US$50). We got a contract with a local satellite TV distribution company. We’ve had more or less continuous TV until recently.

Now that the satellite has run out of fuel to keep itself in its proper position in the geosynchronous orbit, it makes a little figure-eight pattern in the sky instead of staying motionless. That means that our TV goes off at about eight in the evening.

I can only read so long without falling asleep. I’m conked out by about 9:30 or 10:00, so I’m waking up at 5:30 in the morning.

What to do at 5:30AM?

This morning, I decided to try some new tricks on my Canon G9. I love panoramic photos. The G9 has a ‘stitch helper’ mode that allows you to position the camera properly for the next shot. It also fixes the exposure to one setting so that all the photos in the merged image have the same colour and brightness balance.

All you have to do then is pop the series into Photoshop with the Merge feature of Adobe Bridge.

And you get something like this:

Panoramic photo of the harbour in front of our house

Click to enlarge it. This is the sunrise I saw this morning in front of my house. It wasn’t a particularly great one, but it’s all that was provided for me this morning. I get much better ones from time to time.

It is almost a 180° view from left to right. You can see Faded Glory sitting at our dock and the fence on the right that surrounds our compound.

If your camera doesn’t have some kind of panorama helper, you can still do the trick. It helps if you have a tripod to keep the camera steady and pointing at the same level for each shot. It’s also essential that you lock in the exposure on the first frame. Most cameras have an ‘automatic exposure lock’ or something like that.

Start at one end, and turn the camera for each shot. Make sure you give plenty of overlap between shots. Photoshop will ‘stitch’ them together for you.

Most good photo printing shops can print these out for you on long strips of paper so that you can have something that’s worth hanging on the wall.

If I can do it, anybody can.

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2 Responses to “Sunrise Panorama”

  1. Peter Donelly Says:

    great shot.

  2. MadDog Says:

    Thanks Peter.

    Before I even get out of bed in the morning, I can look out of my west-facing bedroom window at the light reflecting off of the trees and buildings and know whether it’s worth going out with my camera into the garden on the east side of my house.

    Often it is the most peaceful time of the day for me.

    How did I get so lucky?