Prairie Panoramas

Larry Bolch

Well-Known Member
On the first weekend of September, I went along with an expedition searching for ammolite. It is the gemstone found in a very small part of the world which happens to be in my home province. It was once part of the shell of an ammonite which went extinct some 65 million years back. It is a thin iridescent layer and can be quite spectacular. This sample is roughly 1¾"×2¼". 5422 x 4547 (25 megapixels) shot with an Epson 4870 scanner.

In these images, I am using the free site, which allows one to post very large images on the web. Use the controls in the lower right of the image window or the mouse to navigate and wheel to zoom. A high degree of magnification is possible.

On the first one, a friend who pulls no punches said it was the most boring picture he had ever seen. I thanked him and said that he had just reassured me that I had captured the essence of the prairies. ;) However, as you zoom in, you will discover herds of cattle, irrigation machines, farms and native cottages. This was shot on tribal lands and is very typical of much of southern Alberta - all the way to Texas! 22558 x 1978 (45 megapixels) Sky considerably cropped.

They found ammolite in quantity in the valley carved by the St. Mary River and the site was quite beautiful compared to the land just above.

On the second day, we got overcast and drizzle and the guides took us to another site. I tried two panos of 180° or beyond. 19013 x 2997 (57 megapixels) 25183 x 2965 (75 megapixels)

These are actually short telephoto shots, mostly around 100mm allowing the great amount of zooming. In one case, I used the f/1.8 105mm AI-S off tripod taking great care in leveling the camera. The others were with the 24-120mm zoom and hand-held. All were shot 14-bit RAW and the full-sized images were used.

Photoshop CS5 did an excellent job for the most part in seamlessly matching, with the exception of the bald-prairie pano. It was shot in dreadful light, hand-held through the window of the vehicle and did need some hand-adjustment. I may take another run at it and see if I can do better. They were stitched on a machine running a 32-bit OS, so limited to 4GB RAM.

I was using the GP-1 GPS receiver on the D700, and it did a superb job of embedding the exact location of each image. The guides took us off the highway onto unmarked gravel roads and finally onto dirt trails. The location is about as remote as it can be with great distances to the nearest towns or villages.
I liked them and as you said it shows the vastness of the prairies I think KYL9 shows this much better. would look great printed out full size and hung on a large wall.