Broad vistas that take your breath away and a sense of wonder at the enormity of it all. Ultrawide angle Panoramic Landscape & Astrophotographer Chris Pegman produces these kinds of images by marrying the beauty of nature with the most recent in technological advances in processing techniques & gear.
By day or night, I am passionate to bring out the emotion of the landscapes that I am fortunate enough to visit.
Having just returned to photography after a 35 year gap and being fascinated by what’s ‘out there’ since childhood, Chris recalls how excited he was by an image of stars taken whilst someone was in his neighbourhood. Inspiration led Chris down a path; learning by asking questions on friendly online groups & courses to seek out the best gear, particularly for astrophotography, culminating in his favoured Nikon D850 and AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED combo.
After dabbling in watercolour and acrylics in his 20’s, Chris is drawn to a ‘painterly’ photographic art style.
It’s not just about a great lens and body, Chris explains, to create a panorama that will stand up to large scale printing (Chris’s works have been produced 6 metres wide). You also need a rock solid tripod and quality, stable panoramic kit.
To be sure of the shot, Chris’s preference is to 'recce' the location hopefully the day before, to get a feel for the area and what it is says, lining up the preferred composition. Shooting can take several hours, sometimes days. And that's before the processing of the image to where there’s some re-creation of the ‘being there’ experience.
He admits, other times the art takes over, and something more ‘creative’ comes forward.
To get the results Chris is after; knowing how to operate body and lens blindfold (again, especially at night) is critical. He's grateful for the time spent scampering over the Lake District in the UK throughout the late 70’s - learning the controls of a fully manual SLR, as well as gig/concert work, which is fast and dark.
There’s a lot to take in (literally!) with panoramic work, he believes it helps if you can ‘see’ before you capture, from over one shoulder to the other shoulder and beyond.
You push your gear to the limits with astrophotography, and you’re going to want the details to be sharp as if your landscape is to be printed metres wide. For both a full frame body like the Nikon D850 are most suited, and choose a lens known to be great for the job like the AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED. Those new mirrorless are doing well too!
Give it a go with what you’ve got though, grab that rock solid tripod, a red torch (keeps your night vision) and a flask of coffee - as you’ll still be able to capture stars even with an entry level crop DSLR & wide angle kit lens. Try something 10-20 seconds and don’t be frightened to lift your ISO. Better still, come along to an astro workshop.
Chris encourages anyone to give panoramic and astrophotography a go, sure there’s the technicality, but it really helps you become better friends with your camera, and your post processing software!
Check out Chris over on his Facebook page