The Ruins and traveling light

Well, back in good ol' New England. After spending a week in hot 80 degree weather with the sun on my back, wind in my hair and my toes wiggling in the surf, it's back to the fluffy snow, biting wind and cold digits. Was bit of a shock to the system. While visiting Cancun, we zipped over the Chichen Itza, a Mayan Ruin site 2.5 hours west. What an amazing place!

It was all I could do not to bring my whole life with me to photograph the place. I wanted to bring all kinds of wide angle lenses, tilt/shifts, telephotos. But, in hindsight, I'm awfully glad I didn't. My trusty 24-70mm was all I really needed.

Instead of bringing every wide angle lens known to man, one trick you can do is to take multiple exposures and stitch them together later in Adobe Photoshop. Warning: Make sure you practice first!

First, start by determining the right exposure for your scene. This must be the same for every shot! Then, divide your scene into grids. Shoot each grid of your scene being careful to overlap your exposures. PS needs this to determine anchor points when stitching images together. Finally, import and stitch into PS.

This shot consists of 2 images stitched together . . .

Chichen Itza, Mexico

6 exposures. . .

Chichen Itza, Mexico

another one of just 2 . . .

Chichen Itza, Mexico

My favorite one was done with 3 . . .

Chichen Itza, Mexico

The last one of 4 . . .

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Why do shots like this?  Well, for one thing wide angled lenses distort dimensions. Stuff stretches as they get closer to the edges. Also they make far away objects look even further away and close objects look closer.  You also end up with MUCH bigger pictures!  The ultra wide shot composed of 6 images can be printed into a 30' wide print!  (Not that I have the room for a print that large.)

Here are some normal shots:

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Would I go back? Yeah. But I'd still bring only one lens!

Oh, one more. A scale model designed by Chris, Matt and Rachael Crocker.

Sandcastle