A Stitch In Time

Wide group shot made from an eight photo stitch.

Wide group shot made from an eight photo stitch.

This past weekend I was covering an event at the Thai temple in Bensalem, PA. My wife belongs to the THAINEPA, a social group for Thai people living in an around Northeast Pennsylvania. Sunday’s celebration was for the Thai New Year. The THAINEPA will prepare and serve Papaya Salad a Thai standard and a crowd favorite. It is an easy event to cover, my main goal is just to photo document the goings on of the day, try to get photos of the members who attend and some group shots. Yes this group… loves group shots. All and all it is a lot of fun. We almost always have more than one photographer in attendance and that is a good thing for sure, the group has three official photographers in all, I being one of the them. Unless it is a group shot I very rarely get directly involved with the action of what the ladies are doing, but rather stand back and let them do their thing. And because I stand back, I have always found myself using a long lens. I used to use my 70-300mm or the 24-105mm. I found with the 70-300 I was almost always in the 150-200mm range and with the 24-105 I was always racked out at 105mm and getting closer to the action. So of late I have been using the 70-200mm and it works great until…

Until the ladies want a group shot. And the group shot will happen often with this group. Hey, it is a social group right? So the group shot comes around a lot. But I have a 70-200mm mounted… what to do, what to do? Ok I know… I’ll just shoot a shot of each person and stitch them all together. Will that work? The answer: Yes most times it will, but not all the time. With the photo you see above I started from my left and quickly shot each face while moving to the right and back to the left again. I let photoshop do the stitching, then I cropped a little to even the edge and then your off to do you basic global edits of contrast, exposure ect…

While not a perfect group portrait and rightly so because it is not intended to be, but it is a very adequate wide group shot.

When the method doesn’t work? When people move so you have to be quick and they have to be still. Case in point is the photo you see below. I’ll let you have the fun of finding what went wrong. Funny thing here is I seen the mistake just before I was posting it to the web and I thought it would be funny to see who notices it first. Nobody. That’s right not one person noticed until I re-posted asking people to find the mistake.  And FYI: this shot was taken with a 24-105mm. Even at 24mm the chairs were so close and I was against the wall.

A four photo stitch group shot with a mistake.

A four photo stitch group shot with a mistake.

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