How the Art Happens - Sunset Cumulus Panorama

May 24, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Sunset Cumulus Panorama

Sunset Cumulus PanoramaSunset Cumulus PanoramaSunset light illuminates towering cumulus clouds over Edmond, Oklahoma during a severe weather outbreak during May of 2023.

Every spring and every fall I head back to Oklahoma to visit family and friends. The trips are usually over Mother's Day and Thanksgiving. I always take my camera gear because my route takes me through some really photogenic parts of New Mexico. I rarely end up taking photos in Oklahoma.

This year's visit was the exception. Central Oklahoma had active weather almost every evening with thunderstorms, hail, wind, and even a few tornados. My mother's and sister's homes are smack dab in the middle of very suburban Edmond. It's tough to see much of the sky so everyone stays glued to their phones or TV watching the weather. While I do that too, those devices don't show you if there are picture possibilities so I have to go outside and look around.

I was at my sister's the evening of May 11 as Norman, a few miles to the southeast, was getting some tornado warnings along with strong winds and hail. I could see the top of the thunderstorm from the front yard but being not very tall and surrounded by homes, trees, and fences I couldn't see very well. So, I launched my drone. Wow! What a difference being 391' tall can make. The sun was setting causing the golden hour glow on the highest clouds and the view was magnificent. I took a few photos but quickly realized that even with the drone's wide-angle lens I was not able to capture the whole scene. Most of you who read these posts know that I love creating panoramas and that proved to be the solution to create "Sunset Cumulus Panorama".

The challenge with creating panorama photographs with a drone is that the camera lens is very wide-angle and can impart a lot of distortion to the image. The solution is to overlap consecutive frames a lot. This image is made from 8 exposures with lots of overlap so the magical software can stitch it together accurately. It doesn't always work. This attempt was successful though and yielded a photograph I'm extremely pleased with. I hope you like it too.



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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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