Our Alpine range of pictures originated from an experiment whereby a full panorama e.g the one of Sandwick in Winter which comprises some 23 photos (above), is compressed to a standard width whilst maintaining the original height of the image constant.
We think the result (left) is an even more interesting picture than the original, when Shetland's hills become mountains and houses seem to be converted to "chalets".
Hence our term "Alpine Shetland".
It's just a bit of fun but we hope you like it.
This technique is an extension of the idea used in the production of our panoramic pictures whereby, in the case of the latter, a single row of several pictures are stitched together to form a panorama.
Now the pictures are assembled into an array eg the picture of Scalloway Castle is an array of 2 rows and 4 columns of images i.e. 2x4 = 8 photos
For each of the composite pictures in our catalogue, the array size and number of images used are displayed in the photo caption information. Currently our largest one is Scalloway Castle and Waterfront Ref:sanx3_0825 with a 2x18=36 photos array
Using this technique allows a unique, almost distortionless, detailed image to be produced which otherwise would be impossible to reproduce in a single shot.
A camera with a fish-eye lens would have the same scope but the image would be very distorted, distant and only contain a fraction of the detail.
Thank you for visiting our website and getting this far. As we fully expect to develop it further and continually add more images, we would like to put you on our mailing list to keep you informed so simply use our contact page to register your interest with us.
And finally, a few thoughts on the photographer's perspective of panoramic and composite photography....
Since I started taking panoramas in 2001 I have learned a lot....
- The first thing that must be said is that nothing can compare with the impact of seeing a full size print for the first time! Viewing the images on a computer does not do them justice although their presentation on our new website has improved matters considerably. The detail on a large print has to be seen to be believed.
- A panorama taken from a hilltop does not guarantee a stunning picture. In this new website I have omitted a fair number of earlier pictures because they were too dull and/or uninteresting. The only way height can be an advantage is when the scenery is stunning e.g. the Cuillins of Skye or the weather itself produces a dramatic effect e.g. Weisdale Voe.
- At the risk of stating the obvious, the main advantage of a panoramic picture is its scope i.e. you can get more into it. In the first place it may just be possible to get pictures of the Noss and that of the Eshaness cliffs in a single shot each but the resolution would not allow enlargements to prints measuring more than a metre wide. Another picture that would have been difficult to capture in anything but a panoramic format is "the Long, the Short and the Tall". However, that introduces another important factor that plays its part in producing a good photograph i.e. being in the right place at the right time.
- One of the difficulties of taking panoramas is movement within the scope of the picture. This can be anything - people walking about, cars passing, boats bobbing and trees blowing in the wind. It means that each completed picture has to be scanned meticulously and corrected where possible. One picture which is pure movement but because of the indeterminate edges of the waves one gets away with it - Stormy Seas at Bousta.
My work can be criticised for its lack of people in my pictures but it is because they are generally moving. However, I have a few ideas about how this problem can be overcome so I hope to remedy it in future. Watch this space!
- Another difficulty is one of image distortion. This occurs, in varying degrees, in each panorama due to the rotation of the camera causing a spherical projection rather than a flat one. Wherever you get horizontal and vertical parallel lines, as in townscapes, it is difficult to avoid - see the picture of "Burgh Road from Freefield, Lerwick". Because there are no such regimented lines in landscape scenes the effect is hardly ever noticeable.
- The final problem which usually manifests itself in each panorama I take is the variation in exposure from frame to frame. Fortunately modern stitching software goes a long way towards smoothing this out but occasionally, in an extreme case, I have to balance this out manually. The most difficult one I have had to deal with was in a composite picture "Autumn at Linsmore Lodges, Contin" In an array of 3x11 pictures there were so many variations of light and shade both within the picture itself and caused by the ambient light varying during the length of time it took to take the 33 pictures!
- Talking of composite pictures, which I started taking in 2008, I find them most useful when you can't get everything into the picture in a single horizontal sweep. You need to "look up" as well. The majority of the ones of the Street, Lerwick are good examples of this although that collection still has to be completed with one or two of the "Market Cross" which was undergoing repair when I took the originals. Who knows, I might even get the odd person in the scene! Occasionally you need to look up and down, as in the case of the Linsmore Lodges picture and that of the Museum Boat Gallery, Lerwick. I am looking forward to developing this aspect of my photography. David Hockney had better watch out!
Footnote August 2010: I have managed to take two composite pictures of the Market Cross at last! Funnily enough the pedestrians weren't the problem but the bunting certainly was! However thanks to the advent of Photoshop CS5 the problem's solved. Judge for yourself.
- Finally, since 2009 I have started to explore the use of HDR in my pictures with some success although I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that it suits some pictures more than others and should be used with caution.
The information given with each image in the Galleries indicates when HDR has been used.
To summarise, the last nine years have been a fascinating learning curve and one on which I hope to continue and if some of my pictures give pleasure on the way I'll be delighted.
John Pedley June 2010
JL Enterprises, Nesthus, Aith. Shetland ZE2 9NB, UK
Tel: 44(0)1595 810 671 Mob: 07909888900
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