New Year's Day, 2015, we were visiting friends in Phoenix, AZ. Overnight, a cold front moved through, leaving behind a rare snowfall on the hills east of Phoenix at altitudes above about 2500 ft. My friend Bill took me up some 4x4 trails to photograph this rare event. In this picture, the sun had peeked through the clouds and illuminated the foreground with a golden glow on the vegetation contrasted with the white snow. On the distant hills on the right, the late afternoon sun cast a glow on the hillsides and long shadows. The Saguaro and Jumping Jack Cactus all wear a cap of snow.
I used a Gigapan Epic Pro to shoot this image. It is made up of 75 images, three rows x 25 columns. Stitching was done using PTGui. Final processing was done with Photoshop. This was a very difficult image to shoot because the wide dynamic range between the sky in center left was high thin clouds backlit by the sun, and other areas were dark due to shadows of clouds in the valley. I had initially set my exposure using Expose to the Right for the brightest area of the sky. After I set my exposure and started shooting the panorama, the sun came out from behind a large cloud and brightened the overall sky. Cloud motion and resulting changing light are always a problem when shooting panoramas.
Original Image is: 696 Megapixels, 52,772 x 13,193 pixels, 44 in. x 176 in.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor