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Oct. 1, 2017, my workshop students and I were out on County Road Seven southwest of Ridgway, Colorado for a morning session during which I was teaching them the art of shooting Gigapixel panoramic images. Late in the morning around 9:30am, long past the Golden Hour this bank of clouds began to move in over Mt. Sneffels, a 14,000 ft. peak in the San Juan Range of Colorado. Mt. Sneffels and the other mountains were more in the darker shadows of the heavier clouds to the south of us. Thin clouds overhead were providing just enough filtering to provide soft light with just a hint of shadows. The Aspens just at the peak of their fall colors were ablaze in the soft but still quite bright light providing the most amazing light.
I had my Gigapan Epic Pro panoramic head on my tripod so I sat up and set up my exposure for Expose to the Right on the brightest clouds. Needing to shoot fairly rapidly due to cloud movement I choose ISO 800 to minimize the exposure time for each shoot. I used f/16 to maximize the DOF and avoid too much Diffraction. Shutter speed was set to 1/160the second. I zoomed my Canon 70-200mm lens to 70mm also to minimize the number of shoots needed. This resulted in a total of 60 images needed to shoot this panorama. Using my laser range finder I found an object that was at the Hyper Focal Distance for 70mm and f/16. I then focused on that object in order to provide the maximum DOF for the entire shoot.
With light threatening to go away soon I quickly launched the Gigapan off to shoot the 60 images I had already programmed it to take. Soon afterward, a stiff breeze informed us that the cold front that was pushing in the clouds had arrived. Time to pack up and head for the campground.
This set of images got stored away on my computer and I had not looked at them for close four years. Just recently while scouring through my archives I ran across them and remembered that interesting morning and the phenomenal light. I opened them in Adobe Camera RAW and did my normal preprocessing to adjust for the Expose to the Right exposures. I then pulled them into PTGui for stitching and did some post processing in Photoshop. Was so glad that I rediscovered this set of images.
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