I found myself composing lots of panorama photos this past year.

Sonoran Desert at Anza Borrego California State Park

I visited a number of expansive landscapes and used panoramas to evoke a sense of wide open spaces.

It’s started in the early spring when I went to Southern California for the wildflower superbloom.

Anza Borrego State Park in the Sonoran Desert is about as wide open space as you could imagine, and it was carpeted with wildflowers.


Anza Borrego
Eschscholzia parishii, Parish’s Poppy yellow flowering wildflower; California native plant Anza Borrego State Park, superbloom 2017

Then, a few weeks later, I went on to see Carrizo Plains one of the last grassland preserves in California. It is even more expansive than Anza Borego.   I loved seeing the road disappearing into the horizon through a field of Monolopia wildflowers.

Carrizo Plains National Monument, California

I made a post about making panoramas at Carrizo on my PhotoBotanic blog where you will find some of these photos shown as before and after.


Wildflower meadow with Streptanthus inflatus or Caulanthus inflatus, Desert Candle, panorama of California native plants on ridge in Carrizo Plains National Monument, California
Carrizo Plains National Monument, California
Poa secunda, One-sided Bluegrass, flowering grass in afternoon light backlit against dark hill, Carrizo Plains National Monument, California
Carrizo Plains National Monument, California

In Oklahoma I visited the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, another vast grassland, suited to panoramas.

Asclepias sullivantii, smooth milkweed, Sullivant’s milkweed or prairie milkweed flowering in Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, Oklahoma
Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan flowering with Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis) in Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Oklahoma
Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, Oklahoma with flowering Rudbeckia hirta and Wild Rye.

The only real trick about making a Panorama crop out of the traditional rectangle that most cameras create, is to line up the horizon line in the middle of the frame to reduce lens warping.  You can always compose the final composition where the horizon line is not dead center, but in the original capture, putting the horizon line in the center will keep it straight in the final photograph.

More details in this blog post Panoramas of the Prairie when I visited West Bijou Ranch in Colorado.

Autumn landscape panorama West Bijou Ranch short grass prairie, Strasburg Colorado; managed by Savory Institute,
Electricity windmills, Pawnee Grasslands, Colorado.

At the end of the year I started documenting the recovery after the wildfires in Northern California.

Burned Oaks backlit, California native landscape panorama, recovery after 2017 Sonoma fires, Pepperwood Preserve
California native mixed Oak woodland landscape panorama, recovery after 2017 Sonoma fires, Pepperwood Preserve

Late afternoon light makes the burned trees seem as if they have fall color. There is a certain determined beauty to this landscape, especially as the green grasses re-sprouted.

Fire damage and recovery from Nuns fire October 2017, Sonoma Regional Park, California

All of these panoramas above really emphasize the landscape, but it is possible to use panorama framing for macro photography too.

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Lady in Black’ Calico Aster (aka Aster lateriflorus Michaelmas Daisy) flowering at Denver Botanic Garden

More favorite photos from 2017 in this gallery.



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