Hi I’m Matt Chesebrough. I’m a professional landscape photographer who has been traveling the world seeking beautiful moments in nature. I often find myself in front of a scene that is too wide to capture in one photograph. So I turn to the technique of panorama photography to capture the larger scene.
Please enjoy this selection of three of my favorite panoramic pictures from 2018.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Last year, to celebrate my birthday, I was surprised with a landscape photography workshop in the Grand Teton National Park with Jack Bayles Photography.
Jack and his wife, Gina, picked us up in the wee hours of the morning for a day of adventure. The highlight of the lessons was learning how to capture large panoramic photos. Jack walked me through his process, then guided me through some practice shots. It’s a good thing we started before dawn because by the time the light was right I felt comfortable enough to put together this capture from Schwabacher Landing.
This was a day my girlfriend and I wouldn’t forget because not only did we get some excellent photo instruction but we also got to see grizzly bears! Jack and Gina are members of a group who coordinate and monitor bears in the area. When there is a sighting a call goes out over the radio to let the team know of the location and condition of the bear sighted. If people are around they tend to gather if there is a chance for photography.
We were blessed to get a call saying that the famous #399 (bears are known by their tag numbers) and her two cubs had been sighted in a meadow along side the road. When asked if we wanted to spend part of the day watching a bear, the answer was a resounding YES! We couldn’t believe our eyes when the three bears came into view some 200 yards away. As they moved through the brush it was hard to believe how easily a full grown bear could disappear. The bears disappeared completely after about thirty minutes, so we set off to continue exploring and practicing panorama photography techniques.
Later in the day we were called to the river just below the Jackson Lake Dam because the bears had been sighted again. This time, in addition to the bears, we marveled at an osprey fishing in the cold waters. The bears stayed on the opposite side of the river from the viewers, whose numbers, steadily grew. At one point, the mother, #399, took off at a full sprint because the cubs weren’t heeding her calls. To see an animal that large move with such speed was both humbling and amazing.
This was one of the best birthday presents I have ever gotten. Being outside, learning new photography techniques, and watching one of the coolest predators on the planet was a special experience.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
In August I drove from California to Colorado to meet some friends who gathered to root on a buddy running the Pike’s Peak Marathon. With so many miles to cover it only made sense to plan a few photography stops.
On the road back to California I stopped to visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. My first morning I woke well before dawn to marvel at the scale of the dunes in the moonlight. As the sun started to rise a storm cloud started to form around the mountains in the background. Mindful of the lessons I had learned on my trip to Wyoming, I set up the camera to capture a panoramic photo.
To capture this moment I used a technique called “multi-row panorama photography”. Instead of using a shorter focal length, like 50-70mm, I used my 70-200mm lens to zoom in on the fine details. If you think of a panoramic photo as a row in a spreadsheet you have cells that touch left/right or vice versa. A multi-row takes this approach and adds a row (or more) above or below the first part of the scene captured.
I wanted to use this approach because I wanted to capture as much detail as possible from the sand, mountain, and clouds. With my telephoto lens set somewhere around 135mm I was able to achieve a balance between detail and number of frames to make the final image.
Lake Wanaka Sunset
For my mom’s birthday last year I took her to New Zealand for her first international trip. We spent two weeks driving around the south island exploring as much as we could. One of the spots we visited was Lake Wanaka to see the famous Wanaka Tree that everyone photographs.
I took my picture of the famous tree, then mom and I continued walking along the lake shore. As the day stretched on, we found a nice vantage point to watch the sunset. The light falling on the green hills and gleaming white peaks captured my attention.
I set up my tripod and camera so that I could capture the whole scene in one big panorama. Mom and I sat on the water’s edge taking in the beautiful moment.
Thank you for taking some time to read this post. If you like these photos and would like to see more please visit www.mattchesebrough.com for my portfolio and Instagram for other fun stuff. Also, if you liked this article I’ve written another for My Five Favorite Landscape Photographs of 2018.
Matt is a creative fine art landscape and commercial photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He stepped away from a successful engineering career in the midwest and moved to California to chase his dream of becoming a full-time professional photographer. Over the last two years, Matt has traveled the world chasing light and capturing one-of-a-kind landscapes.
He enjoys sharing his adventures with family, friends, and strangers along the way. When he is not hiking to a remote location, Matt enjoys volunteering for local and national conservation organizations. His mission is to share the world with people, inspire a sense of adventure, and to make a difference for the planet.