29 July 2006

'Vintage' California Panoramic

View thusly the first in a hopefully long series of panoramic shots taken by my humble Canon PowerShot A75:

(Half-size version here)

This shot (ok, technically these shots) were taken just outside the store/wine tasting building on the grounds of the Viansa Winery in Sonoma, CA. Presumably the vineyard area in the foreground belongs to Viansa; once you get further out, I have no idea who the land belongs to. Regardless, this was one of three wineries that I visited with Megan Fox whilst wine tasting around Sonoma on 2-July-06. (Incidentally, the other two we visited were Cline Cellars and the Schug Carneros Estate. Also incidentally, the wine tasting excursion was part of my broader summer '06 trip to CA—look for pictures of the trip showing up soon....) I have to say, literally every wine that we tried was excellent... some were better than others, of course, but a couple were outright fantastic! Despite most of them being >$20/bottle, I was still quite sorry that I was flying home, and thus would've had a very hard time lugging a couple of cases back with me. :-p The good(?) news is, apparently Trader Joe's might be a distributor for all of them (I know they are for Cline, at least), and so I could possibly find it here! Probably at a painful markup, but hey... at least I have a good starting point when I'm looking for a really excellent wine!

In terms of the origins of the panorama itself, the A75 has a specific mode on it for taking such panoramic pictures—it actually shows you part of the previous picture to better enable you to line up the current chunk of scenery you're shooting. Then, once all of the pictures are taken, you pull 'em down to the computer (where they're very conveniently named in sequence) and assemble them with an application called, appropriately, "PhotoStitch".

Within PhotoStitch, there are two ways of assembling the images: one is called 'Normal,' which is how this panorama was constructed, which actually 'bends' the pictures slightly to make as horizontal a picture as possible. (You'll notice that the vines running horizontally across the foreground of the image, which in reality fall in a straight line, appear curved in the image.) While this isn't too distracting in a scenery shot like this, if there were objects in view that obviously are supposed to be straight (say, buildings) it would be pretty goofy looking (or possibly very cool looking, dunno). So, there's also a 'Wide' mode, which tries to maintain straight lines in the final panorama. This'll only work if you have only a couple of pictures (~three or fewer), otherwise the distortion on the sides of the final image becomes too nasty to make it worthwhile.

So. <shrug> I think that this is a really sweet feature, now that I've used it properly (I've tried using it before, but dumbly never used the PhotoStitch app... might have to revisit some of the old panorama attempts), and will be seizing every opportunity to use it. 'Cause I mean, really... how cool is it to see a wide expanse of awesomely beautiful countryside like that, huh? :-)

("H/T": Canon)

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