Panorama Photo of the Open Ocean

Open Ocean Panoramic Photograph

I’ve spent a lot of time on the open ocean, in small boats, looking for big creatures. Some of the best days of my life have been spent on a glassy ocean surface, traveling one hundred miles or more under blue skies and summer breezes, waiting to see if we would meet something interesting to photograph. These days are not like what most scuba divers experience! Some days bring perfect summer conditions and then just zipping across the ocean is a pleasure, even if we see no animals. Other days — more typical days — involve an incredible amount of waiting, periodic episodes of frustration and, when the weather turns, discomfort. Most of my days on the open ocean resulted in no photos and no encounters. However, once in a while something special happens and a photograph results. A few years ago, we were stopped on the water miles offshore of North County, enjoying the still, hot, southern California weather, watching a swarm of zooplankton hovering mid-column beneath the boat and listening for the blows of great whales, when I realized I should try to photograph the idyllic scene. How to photograph what is essentially an empty expanse, a half-plane extending from the gunwale of the boat to the horizon? I was not sure but a panorama seemed to be the only way to approach it. I made a series of 10 frames and blended them together later on the computer. The blending was tough to accomplish since the water was constantly moving making it difficult to merge the details in a perfectly natural way. The photo below is my best effort. It will print up to 10′ long by 3.5′ high with no uprezzing, and has been used in commercial projects a couple times. I need to get back out on the water and make a few more of these. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Ocean surface panorama, glassy calm ocean water offshore of California, clouds and sky

Ocean surface panorama, glassy calm ocean water offshore of California, clouds and sky.
Image ID: 26804