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Take the perfect panorama photo at Machu Picchu

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A number of people (including some from Fodors) have asked me "how did you do that?" when I showed them the panorama photo I took of Machu Picchu a couple weeks ago. Here is the photo: http://photos.patpom.com/5101465 Taken on April 4, 2011 (my birthday : ) Click on it to get the full resolution. It is a composite of 14 photos taken in succession--and you can do it too.

It is actually very easy and anyone can do it--even with just a point and shoot camera. I'm going to tell you exactly how in a couple of steps.

1) it is nice to have a perfect day--I can't help you with that : )

2) climb up to the point in the photo

3) stand in a comfortable stance and decide ahead of time how much of the panorama you want to take in.

4) hold your elbows tight to your body and turn to the far left.

5) in a smooth motion, start taking photos with a 40-50% overlap (very important) of each photo. One photo per second is a good speed. If you have an ultra wide angle like I did, you can shoot horizontally. If you don't have a wide angle, you should shoot vertically (otherwise your photo will be too skinny) I took 14 photos. You could take more or less. It is not science, it is art, but you need to provide enough overlap information to the software so it can do a good analysis.

6) When you get home, download microsoft ICE (image composite editor) software (free) here: http://snips.ly/KUOIK9 . (there are a number of stitching programs, but I like this one best--it only works with a PC--but there are Mac programs available)

7) All you have to do is "drag" all your photos into the stitching software and the software does all the work. Seriously--it is that easy.

8) Done. : ) Congratulations.

PS: I have some wonderful photos from MP, Cusco and the Sacred Valley that I will try to process this weekend and post them with a brief trip report. I just loved Peru. Thanks for everyone's help and tips. Priceless!

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