2019 WEEK 21: Bokeh Panoramas

Thanks to Stephanie Adams for suggesting this week’s theme.

This week we will be combining two recent challenges – Stitched Panoramas and Bokeh! – to create an image that has a wide-angle of view with a very shallow depth of field. You can’t use a wide-angle lens for this because that produces images with (almost) everything in focus. A longer lens (say 85mm or 100mm) produces a nice shallow depth of field, but not a wide angle of view. So the idea is to use a longer lens to take a series of images with a shallow depth of field (i.e. bokeh) and stitch the images together to create a wide angle of view.

Pianos About Town by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
Pianos About Town by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

This technique was popularized about a decade ago by wedding photographer Ryan Brenizer and is sometimes referred to as the Brenizer Method. In fact we had a similar challenge back in 2016. I encourage you to read through that challenge as there is some helpful information there.

In addition, I think the following resources will be quite helpful in completing this week’s challenge:

How to Use the Brenizer Method for Incredible ResultsThis is a great tutorial to start with. I particularly like the suggestion to pre-visualize what your framing is going to be.

Advanced Photography Technique: Brenizer Method Panorama Another excellent tutorial. Notice the example images that do not include people.

How to Use the Brenizer Method in Pet Photography for Extra Impact If you have a pet who will stay still for you, this might be fun to try.

And of course, there are quite a few videos that explain the process, including a couple of interviews with Ryna Brenizer himself:

Brenizer Method: Two Minute Tips with David Bergman A quick overview of the technique.

Wedding Photographer, Ryan Brenizer: How’d They Do That? (Adorama Photography TV) Interview and demonstration with Ryan Brenizer.

The Brenizer Method: Bokeh Panorama (B&H Photo Video) Interview with Ryan Brenizer.

I of course did some experimentation myself before writing this challenge and discovered a few other tips that you might find useful:

  • Make sure you put your camera in Manual Mode, including setting the ISO as well as the White Balance. Nothing should be set to “Auto”. Also, once you set your focus on your subject, put your focus on manual mode as well.
  • You can use any lens that gives you a nice shallow DOF (except I would stay away from Lens Baby because of the stitching process).
  • The closer you are to your subject and the more distance between your subject and the background, the more bokeh (blur) you will have in your background.
  • A busy background shows off this technique better than a simple background.
  • You don’t need to go crazy taking dozens of photos for your bokeh panorama. You can create the effect with as few as 9 photos. And in fact, the more photos you take, the less of the effect will be visible on a computer monitor (and even less when viewed on a phone).
  • If you are new to this technique, you might want to try this with a still-life scene to ensure that nothing is moving that might complicate the stitching.
  • If your computer is having difficulty stitching a large number of images, try reducing the size of the images before stitching.
  • Your subject can be anything – though again, the larger the subject, the more photos you will need to take for your panorama which will lessen the impact of the technique when viewed on a computer monitor. (It’ll look great if you print it though!)
  • Check out this Flickr group dedicated to The Brenizer Method for ideas and inspiration.

To recap this week’s challenge:

  • Create a bokeh panorama. The choice of subject is up to you.
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, May 19 and Saturday, May 25.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2019photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2019 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa