Rockies Insider guide to panorama photography with Raynor Czerwinski

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Saturday, August 14th, 2010

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For panoramas, don't go too long. Photo by Czerwinski.

Colorado photographer Raynor Czerwinski moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, to blend his passion for the natural outdoors with his artistic skills behind the shutter.

Eight years later Czerwinski has personal and defined style on display at his local gallery as a professional natural outdoor photographer, and is our latest insider to drop some tips on panoramic shooting in the Rockies.

Don’t go too wide

For panorama shots the key is to never go too wide. Czerwinski explains that keeping an aspect ratio of three-to-one or less is ideal.

“Some people do a 360 panoramic and people can’t make sense of it,” he explains. A good rule of thumb: The wider a shot gets the harder it is to make it work.

“It’s a luck of the draw. Sometimes they don’t work and sometimes they do,” says Czerwinski.

Don’t worry about high-tech equipment

“For street and photojournalism you need a panorama camera, but if you’re shooting landscape you don’t need one,” says Czerwinski. In fact, photographers can get away with shooting 8 to 12 images and just stitch them later.

Simply put, Czerwinski says, the camera just doesn’t matter. Period.

“Photography is already a technical orientated medium to work in, and people think the better the camera or lens the better the image. It’s completely incorrect,” says Czerwinski.

Okay, so being a little tech savvy is helpful, and in this way Czerwinski recommends using a graduated neutral density filter (aka graduated ND filter). He admits to using these filters in 99 percent of his shots to help darken to top-half of the shot and hold back the sky.

Landscape shooting is more about practice, practice, practice. Czerwinski says to learn on a digital to help rocket forward your learning curve. “You learn a hundred times faster being able to see what you did immediately,” he adds.

“Don’t spend a lot of money to make nice images when shooting landscape. A digital SLR where you can adjust exposure and a filter is about 500 dollars,” says Czerwinski.

Thankfully, amateur photographers looking to shoot the natural outdoors can rely more on motivation and courage than thousands of dollars for equipment.

Czerwinski agrees. “If you spent that equipment money on lessons, you’d be getting a lot more better images.”

Check out more of Raynor Czerwinski’s photography at LucidLandscape.com.

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