With autumn scenery as wide and grand as the Sierra Nevadas, it’s hard not to shoot a wide panorama.

I used to shoot a lot of frames with the idea of stitching a panorama together later, but it was such a laborious task I rarely actually put them together.  That all changed when Adobe Lightroom came out with the Pano Merge feature.  It does a really fantastic job of aligning everything, it’s pretty rare that I have to go back and do much correction.  I still have to remind myself to shoot much wider around the scene than I think – I always lose more than I think in the alignment process.

Typically I like shooting the panoramas with my 70-200mm lens.  There’s little distortion to worry about compared to a wide angle lens.  Yes, you need a lot more images, but it’s well worth it in my opinion.  A side benefit is it reminds you to slow down and think about the scene compared to just firing off a frame or two.  This particular shot started off as 50 individual frames – although I don’t think I used all of them.

For comparison sake

This image I shot a bit further up the valley (I think just past the left line of aspens in the first image), and is a single image at 17mm.  If I’d really been thinking ahead, I would have shot both scenes with the wide angle, as well as stiched images from the long lens.  Maybe next time!   I’m hoping to go back next summer, the meadow in the first image was covered with dried up wildflowers.  A meadow full of alpine wildflowers is a great place for a picnic lunch.  Even though photographers descend on them in the fall, aspens are really beautiful when green too.