Panoramic Photos from 2021

December 20, 2021  |  The American West

I've been spending a lot of time lately going through the photographs I made this year, and I have discovered that I made many more panoramic compositions than I have in years past. For whatever reason, the panoramic format was top-of-mind nearly every time I found myself in the field. This doesn't mean that's all I was seeing, but panoramas made up a significant portion of what I have created this year.

As I'm writing this post, I'm reflecting on what may have led to seeing more panoramic compositions. The primary contributing factor was that two years ago, I began using the Fujifilm GFX medium format cameras, which have a panoramic crop mode built into the camera menu. This crop mode allows me to select an aspect ratio of 65:24, most popularly known as the 'X-Pan' format. The X-Pan was a unique camera that used 35mm film and could capture a panoramic image with an aspect ratio of 24x65mm.

The 65:24 aspect ratio crop in the Fujifilm GFX camera allows me to compose a scene through the viewfinder without having to imagine what it would look like if I cropped the image later. I will often shoot the scene as a single image, but I typically choose to photograph the scene by capturing multiple overlapping images that are then "stitched" together in Adobe Lightroom to create the final panoramic. The advantage of stitching the images together to create the final photograph is that the resulting image file is massive, with many photos ranging from 500 to 1,000 megapixels.

Once I began to fall in love with making panoramic photos, I started looking for more efficient ways to work with my camera in the field. This search led me to the Acratech Panoramic Head, which I have mounted on a leveling base. I'll write more about the Panoramic Head in a future post here on my journal as I realize this post is now getting to be much longer than I had initially planned.

The warm glow of early morning lights is cast upon Wotans Throne as the moon sets on the distant horizon. From Cape Royal on...

Moonset at Cape Royal

The warm glow of early morning lights is cast upon Wotans Throne as the moon sets on the distant horizon. From Cape Royal on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Morning light illuminates Angels Window and the cliffs of the North Rim. From the Walhalla Plateau in Grand Canyon National Park...

Sunrise Light on Angels Window

Morning light illuminates Angels Window and the cliffs of the North Rim. From the Walhalla Plateau in Grand Canyon National Park.

A panoramic view of the Grand Canyon as a winter storm begins to clear. From Yavapai Point on the South Rim.

Warm Light After A Winter Storm

A panoramic view of the Grand Canyon as a winter storm begins to clear. From Yavapai Point on the South Rim.

The cliffs of the Palisades of the Desert loom over the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The Watchtower at Desert View on...

Panoramic Sunset at the Watchtower

The cliffs of the Palisades of the Desert loom over the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The Watchtower at Desert View on the South Rim of the park can be a great place to watch sunset or sunrise.

The sun sets on the Grand Canyon as the seemingly limitless layers of ridges fade away towards the distant horizon. Photographed...

A Sea of Ridges

The sun sets on the Grand Canyon as the seemingly limitless layers of ridges fade away towards the distant horizon. Photographed from the South Rim of the canyon.

Clouds drift across Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple as a winter storm clears revealing fresh snow on the North Rim of the...

Winter Light on Brahma and Zoroaster

Clouds drift across Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple as a winter storm clears revealing fresh snow on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From Yavapai Point on the South Rim.

Early morning rain falls upon Malgosa Crest, and ridgeline within the Grand Canyon. From Point Imperial on the North Rim.

Malgosa in Monsoon

Early morning rain falls upon Malgosa Crest, and ridgeline within the Grand Canyon. From Point Imperial on the North Rim.

As a summer monsoon storm clears, the many temples, peaks, and buttes of the Grand Canyon emerge from the clouds, including Mount...

Mount Hayden in the Clouds

As a summer monsoon storm clears, the many temples, peaks, and buttes of the Grand Canyon emerge from the clouds, including Mount Hayden, the arrowhead-shaped peak on the left. I photographed this scene from Point Imperial, the highest viewpoint in the park at 8,803 feet above sea level located on the North Rim of the canyon.

The layers of ridges within the Grand Canyon fade away into the distance as summer rain falls from a passing monsoon thunderstorm...

Storm Light on Newberry Butte

The layers of ridges within the Grand Canyon fade away into the distance as summer rain falls from a passing monsoon thunderstorm.

Rays of sunlight shine through the sky creating a dreamy atmosphere within the Grand Canyon. Photographed from the North Rim...

Sunlight After the Storm

Rays of sunlight shine through the sky creating a dreamy atmosphere within the Grand Canyon. Photographed from the North Rim of the park after a monsoon storm.

A ribbon of green lines the dry Unkar Creek as it meanders through Grand Canyon.

Unkar Creek Panoramic

A ribbon of green lines the dry Unkar Creek as it meanders through Grand Canyon.

Deep within Grand Canyon along the Colorado River is a site that is sacred to the Hopi people known as the Hopi Salt Mines where...

Hopi Salt Mines Panoramic

Deep within Grand Canyon along the Colorado River is a site that is sacred to the Hopi people known as the Hopi Salt Mines where near river mile 64.5, salt clings to the lower stretches of the canyon walls. Hopi males would make a pilgrimage from the Hopi Mesas to the Salt Mines as the culmination of the Wuwutsim (woo- woow-tsem) ceremony, the initiation ceremony for males into adulthood. It's also common for initiated Hopis to collect salt from the Hopi Salt Mines outside the salt pilgrimage.

A panoramic view of rolling hills in the Grand Canyon. From the Escalante Route near Hilltop Ruin in Grand Canyon National Park...

Rolling Hills from the Escalante

A panoramic view of rolling hills in the Grand Canyon. From the Escalante Route near Hilltop Ruin in Grand Canyon National Park.

A lone fisherman stands in the cool waters of the Colorado River on a hot day in the Grand Canyon.

In the Cool Water

A lone fisherman stands in the cool waters of the Colorado River on a hot day in the Grand Canyon.

I love to photograph the desert landscape after sunset, especially on the Colorado Plateau in the American Southwest. The light...

Dusk Across the Waterpocket Fold

I love to photograph the desert landscape after sunset, especially on the Colorado Plateau in the American Southwest. The light is soft, and the color palette is warm with a touch of pink. The smallest details seem to be revealed in the quality of light as seen in this photograph of the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park with the Henry Mountains in the distance as viewed from Panorama Point.

The erosion-sculpted forms of the Mummy Cliffs in Capitol Reef National Park.

Mummy Cliffs

The erosion-sculpted forms of the Mummy Cliffs in Capitol Reef National Park.

Church Rock rises above the surrounding terrain of northern Arizona near Monument Valley. In the distance on the horizon is Agathla...

Ancient Volcanoes

Church Rock rises above the surrounding terrain of northern Arizona near Monument Valley. In the distance on the horizon is Agathla Peak, also known as El Capitan. Both Church Rock and El Capitan are eroded volcanic plugs, or diatremes, of the Navajo Volcanic Field which formed around 30 million years ago.

The full moon rises above Monument Valley shortly after sunset. The band of blue arcing through the eastern sky is Earth Shadow...

Panoramic Moonrise Over Monument Valley

The full moon rises above Monument Valley shortly after sunset. The band of blue arcing through the eastern sky is Earth Shadow, which rises opposite of the setting sun.

The green grasses are in abundance surrounding Deer Lake on the Kaibab Plateau near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Summer at Deer Lake

The green grasses are in abundance surrounding Deer Lake on the Kaibab Plateau near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

A solitary white cleome stands amongst the more common purple flowers. The cleome is also known as a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant...

Standing Alone

A solitary white cleome stands amongst the more common purple flowers. The cleome is also known as a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant.

Cottonwood trees in a brilliant display of fall color with their trunks and branches overlapping and tangled amongst each other...

Cottonwood Chaos

Cottonwood trees in a brilliant display of fall color with their trunks and branches overlapping and tangled amongst each other.

The sky over the San Juan Mountains and Mount Sneffels is awash in soft golds and pinks. An Autumn sunset in southwestern Colorado...

Purple Mountain Majesties

The sky over the San Juan Mountains and Mount Sneffels is awash in soft golds and pinks. An Autumn sunset in southwestern Colorado is not to be missed.

The sky erupts in a beautiful display of color rivaled only by the colors of the aspen trees in their autumn glory. San Juan...

Autumn Panorama from Silver Jack

The sky erupts in a beautiful display of color rivaled only by the colors of the aspen trees in their autumn glory. San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

The photos in this portfolio were made using both the Fujifilm GFX 50R and GFX 100S medium format mirrorless cameras. The photos are available as large fine art prints.