A Surprise Panorama

View from Happy Lake Ridge Trail

I was going through and organizing photos from the film days and found that there were a couple of photos that I had taken that could be combined into panoramas. This one was from a hike along Happy Lake Ridge in the Olympic National Park. The view is across the Elwha River valley over to Hurricane Ridge.

The Happy Lake Ridge trail is seldom hiked … even less since the Elwha Road washed out adding miles to access the trailhead. It is a nice loop trail, the upper end dropping down to Boulder Lake and then out through the Boulder Creek Trail and the (undeveloped) Olympic Hot Springs. With the wash out of the road, there are several miles of doubling back to get to the parking lot… but it is still mostly a loop.

Hart Lake Sunrise

Hart Lake Sunrise

(more found images from my archive file) Hart Lake is in the upper Duckabush Valley, and is much less visited than the Heart Lake in the upper Sol Duc. Hart Lake takes over 20 miles of hiking to get there, so there are many fewer visitors. We were camped near the lake and when the sun was coming up, the clouds in the valley moved up … before burning off for the day. It was spectacular.

Hart Lake Panorama

Lake Quinault

Lake Quinault

I took this image a few years back and was recently going through my image bank and found that redeveloping the images with the latest Lightroom tools made a significant difference in the results. I think that part of the difference is a change in my aesthetic, since that can also change over time.

If you haven’t re-processed your prints in a while, it may be worth going back and visiting some of your favorites to see what you think.

Wide Angle v Panorama

Dosewallips Road (Trail)

The Dosewallips Road is washed out in a couple of places and is now a 6 mile trail to the old car campground. The trail (road) starts in the Olympic National Forest and runs up into the Olympic National Park. This shot is just about at the trailhead … and shows what it looks like in mid-March. (except it’s usually cloudy and raining). It was shot with a 24-84mm zoom lens set at 24mm. A pretty typical wide angle lens without a lot of “wide angle” distortion.

Now look at the image below, which was taken with the same lens set at the same 24mm. However, in this case I have taken a series of images in the landscape format and stitched them together using Lightroom’s Photo Merge>Panorama option. This results in a much different image … I chose to continue higher into the overhead … but is also has a different viewpoint, since much of the sides were eliminated in the merging process.

I like them both, but they certainly have a different feel to them … you can always turn a series of images into a panorama, but the visual impact is different. And, if you aren’t careful with your exposure settings, you can get a result that doesn’t merge well. The bottom image was taken using “Auto” exposure control and as I moved the camera up to where the sky was in the image, the exposure changed. All I could do was to throw out those images where the exposure didn’t match and you can see the result: the image doesn’t extend to ground level.

Panorama of the Dosewallips Road (Trail)
Panorama without the ground level view

Beach Walk

Beach Walk
Beach Detail

I like the panoramic format even if the subject isn’t a scenic panorama. Of course, it depends on the subject. In the top image here there are a lot of horizontally running lines … something that a panoramic crop can emphasize. In the lower image, the crop turned into a panorama when I cut away the pieces that were distracting. In this image, I liked the wet rocks just above the surf line … and the rocks in the distance become increasingly out of focus.

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