where to print ultra-wide panorama?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by william-porter, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. Spent Christmas at the Grand Canyon and while there took some photos I'm quite happy with using the new Sony A580 and its sweep panorama feature. Resulting images have custom aspect ratios, but some are like 1x6 or 1x5. I would like to get a couple of these printed but I'm not sure where to send them. The actual dimensions might end up being something like 10"x60" (again, approximately). Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. I looked into this a few weeks ago and EZPrints (http://wiki.panotools.org/Printing_panoramas) looks like the best solution. The other option might be http://www.bigphotohelp.com/. I haven't used either yet.
  3. I did a 3:1 and a 4:1 custom print recently from http://www.iprintfromhome.com and was pretty satisfied with the quality of the print. It looks like they do fixed ratios, but you might email them and see if they can do a custom ratio for you, they might just use roll paper and cut to size.
  4. Check out Perfect Posters:
    It's been a few years since I've had anything printed by them, but the quality was very good (and don't let their plain-looking web site get in the way of trying them). If I recall, they'll custom print any size, and their web interface allows for good control over sizing/preparing your image, etc. Pricing was very reasonable too.
  5. I shoot quite a few panos, up to 360 degrees and 9:1 aspect ratio.
    Local custom lab prints them for me, using RA4 process. With their gear, they're limited to 36" length. Beyond, they have to use an inkjet printer, which comes out looking too contrasty in my opinion, not like a photograph.
    So I tend to reccomend 30"-36" as a max size to buyers, so they can have RA4 prints, and because local store sells 12" x 36" frames off the shelf, which holds down framing costs.
  6. William, I think I recognize you from the wedding forum... Grand Canyon in winter is awesome, huh? We went in February and it was great- I think we saw maybe 4 other cars the whole day...
    On to your question- I think you've mentioned working with a pro-lab, but I might be wrong. If so, our pro-lab will print any aspect ratio. In the ROES system, you just choose the normal size that will contain the image you want and check a box that says fit rather than fill. They trim to whatever dimension you have saved your image as (for instance, do any cropping in PS, save, then load into ROES). Check with your lab, and I'm sure they will have a solution for you.
  7. Boy, photo.net is great. I posted this question, then stepped away for a day to do New Years Day with my family. Come back and there are all these great answers. Thanks to everybody.
    Yes, Jen, we know each other from the wedding forum. I host my client photos at zenfolio and printing is fulfilled by Mpix. I hadn't thought of contacting them directly and will do that. I'm happy with their work and a solution through them would be good. And yes, Grand Canyon in winter is awesome—when it's not awful. We hiked down to Phantom Ranch last year in a blizzard. This year the forecast for our hike down was terrible (very cold, very windy, very wet) but we caught a terrific break and were able to get halfway down on South Kaibab BEFORE the bad weather hit the South Rim. So we had another beautiful trip. Two days on the bottom and then back up on Christmas Eve so we could have Christmas Day at the top.
    But I'm going to check out all the other options mentioned as well, all of which look interesting.
    Here's one of the photos I want to print:
    That's dawn Dec 26 (2010) from Yaki Point on the South Rim.
    A few years ago my wife and I bought a really nice 1993 Grand Canyon pano by Stanley Stern; we picked it up in a gift shop at the Canyon. It's hanging now in our dining room. It's probably 1x9. Stern uses Cirkut pano cameras for his work. For ultrawide panos I've usually (in the past) shot several carefully designed frames and then stitched them together on the computer, but this year, I had my new Sony A580 with me and I used the sweep panorama feature for most of my super-wide shots. The camera takes about 20 shots as I pan slowly and steadily—and handheld—through the scene (usually left to right). I'm not sure that I want my pano hanging next to Stern's. For one thing the aspect ratios are very different. But it was Stern's that first got me interested in this kind of shot.
    Anyway THANK YOU to everybody for the quick replies. I will investigate them all. And happy new year to you all.
  8. Will,
    Nobody asked, but you mentioned Cirkuts, so I'll share.....
    I've used the following methods to get big pans. Each has pros and cons, depending on how many degrees of sweep.
    Widelux 35mm swing-lens: Pros - it allows careful snapshots (handheld) one click. 120d sweep. And 360d pans are pretty fast, ie, 4 shots, one to each point of the compass, and then merge manually. Cons - focus is fixed at 11', you use small apertures for landscapes, so landscape scenes would be a little soft.
    Kodak Panoram: Much the same as the Widelux, but with a 2.25" tall negative. 4 shots per roll. And the tripod mount isn't concentric with the lens axis, so I've never tried to merge multiple shots.
    Stitched Digital using Nikon D90: Better detail than the Widelux, as I can choose the focus point. But to do them well requires tripod and pano-head. *Unless* you have no foreground, as in your Grand Canyon photo. But with practice, it can be set-up pretty fast... 5 minutes, maybe? And if pano-head is set-up properly, all objects, near and far, will stitch seamlessly. I''ve taken these to 4' and they've been beautiful. No experience beyond that.
    Stitched Digital using small point-n-shoot: plenty good enough for the local paper, when the river that runs behind my apartment was in flood, and high school students filled sandbags to protect the business district of the small town where I live. But not something I'd enlarge much, due to lower cost optics and sensor on the point-n-shoot.
    Cirkut: Limited experience, used for group photos successfully, and it worked beautifully. But developing is interesting, with gallons of chemistry. And that's b/w, color is worse. Plus the Cirkut is BIG and HEAVY and requires about 30 minutes of set-up time. Between film and chemistry costs, tripping the shutter goes through about $100 worth of materials. So it would be almost impossible to tour the US with it, making huge pans.... you'd run out of money.
    Like others here, I have samples of my pans in one 44-image album here on P'net. For now, I'll just attach a 360d of the Meteor Crater, taken July 2007, mid-day cloudy.
  9. Oh by the way - the Meteor Crater was 4 shots with the Widelux, then manually stitched in Photoshop - no stitching program required, just layers and some careful feathering. Widelux has also taken some great small-town images of main streets (even with people walking), where two shots, done quickly and merged later, capture it all.
    Will, hoping to kayak the Grand Canyon in 2012, after I finish my engineering degree. Commercial trips are only in warm months, but private trips run all year. And a winter trip is *very* tempting....
  10. Doug,
    You know a lot more about the options than I do! Thanks for sharing that info. I like your crater shot a lot and I'm especially impressed that you stitched it manually. And you succeeded in having people in the shot, something I have trouble with. This is a pic of the Colorado River (as we neared the end of our hike down) with my wife turning around.
    I like it, but simply for personal reasons. I'm pretty sure it's not a very interesting photo objectively. People are a problem. Odd, because I'm basically a people photographer. I just have trouble integrating people into my landscapes. For me it's like trying to talk in two languages at once.
    I really really want to boat down the river. We've been down to Phantom Ranch many times. We know this 1% of the Grand Canyon pretty well. It's an interesting 1% to be sure, but the rest of the Canyon is Grand too. And the only good way to see it is from the river. Unfortunately the commercial trips are pretty expensive. And I'll have to go alone. Well, it's not on the agenda this year. I hope you get to take your kayak trip. You'll love it.
  11. Delete - glitch - triple post.
  12. Delete - glitch - triple post.
  13. Will,
    Your Grand Canyon shot is beautiful. Wow.... love the sunlight coming in on the right.
    Glad you liked the info, and glad you liked the Meteor Crater as well.
    The Widelux is good for including people, as the focus is not very far out. In fact, people or near objects make the entire scene seem sharper, because they'll be in sharp focus, and it seems to trick the eye a little into believing the entire scene in sharp. A favorite Widelux photo of mine is my son asleep in my Jeep at the end of a trip down all of Route 66, front passenger seat. You see all of him, half-covered in a blanket. All our gear behind us. And you see out the front and back windows at the same time. It defines what I mean by snapshot panoramics, and it's a shot that would be very tough with stitching. With the Widelux, it was one click.
    I wish the point-n-shoots had a pano mode, but with the camera in portrait mode instead of landscape. You could then turn it vertical, take the shot that included your wife, and get a lot more of her in - maybe all of her. It would be like getting a wider lens.
    I like having foreground features, at either end of the image, or both ends. I call them bookends. They frame the photo, defining the ends, hence my nickname for them. Not all shots lend themselves to that, but many do. You wife, had she been full-body, would have been an excellent bookend. She's walking, and sort of looking into, the scene ahead. I have a similar photo (no, not your wife) taken about 1.5 miles in from the South Rim on Bright Angel trail, and it's the hikers walking into the scene that make the photo. They give it scale, and make you feel as if you're there.
    Generally, I'll shoot a landscape with bookends, and without. Huge western landscapes can quickly become abstract, without some known feature in them (people, cars, buildings) to give a sense of scale.
    Suggestion for next time - take some practice photos at home, and figure out how far away she has to be, to be in the photo from head to toe. Then when you want to include her, just make sure she's at least that far away.
    A tangent - some great books on Grand Canyon are "Carving Grand Canyon", "We swam the Grand Canyon", and "Sunk without a Sound." The first is geology, but a great read, lots of photos.... Second is two college grads swimming all of it in the mid 1950s before rafting was a business (so they were alone), and the third book is about Glenn & Bessie Hyde's disappearance in the late 1920s on a honeymoon boating trip through the Canyon.
  14. Will, here's another example, showing the idea of bookends a bit better. It's not a great panoramic - it has some glitches due to poor set-up on my part. But the bookends are the rocks at either end, along the bank, framing it. And the photographer sitting on the rocks, waiting for rafts to come by. The river does curve a little, as in the photo, but the panoramic exagerates the curve of the river.
  15. I had a few panoramic photos printed at my local Staples store. They had an HP printer with roll fed paper.
  16. William:
    I would strongly suggest that you look at <www.infinite-editions.com>
    The business is run by a fellow named Ron Landuci and his work is outstanding. He is located in a Denver suburb.
  17. Well, this turned out to be a much more interesting thread than I anticipated!
    @J Harrington: I'll check with Staples. There's one near my house. Never thought of them for printing anything. I think I've seen your Fenway panos before. Nice.
    @Owen: I'll look into Infinite Editions. Website looks nice and clearly they know what they're doing. If I end up framing a print, I guess I should not scrimp on the printing!
    @Doug: Doubt I'm going to acquire a Widelux any time soon but it looks interesting! The way it works is pretty intriguing. About the books: I own "Carving the Canyon" and you're right, it's terrific, best book I've read on the geology. Will look into "Sunk without a Sound." Sounds like a good read.
    Thanks again everybody.
  18. Hi guys!

    I had the same problem, how to print my beautifull panorama pictures?
    There were no (cheap) solution, so I mad my own program to cut a panaroma so I can print them cheaply. I mad a how-to here: http://youtu.be/2bEDqm-al6I
  19. I've ordered from some panorama prints from iPanoramaPrints.com before. They came out great, exactly what I wanted. I've even order a framed version of one of the prints. The prints I ordered were 36" and they were just the right size for me.
    I would check them out and see what they have to offer.
  20. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    There are at least several large format printers in fairly common use in decent pro-labs that can easily print to the sizes you want. If I were you I'd be thinking about whether you wanted RA4 (photographic paper) or inkjet, and within that what paper you want to use. Those decisions may dictate where to send the print job.
    If you want to take a look at the sort of choices that face you, then take a look at my print-lab's pages at
    They probably won't be much use to you because they're in the UK, but they do give you a decent view of your likely options.

Share This Page