Archaeological photography is demanding.
I began my career in photography in the mid-1960s on newspapers. Leica cameras and B+W film. Chemicals. Rush for news pics. Since those young days I have gone on to become a field archaeologist and specialist photographer. Archaeological photography is demanding.
We work in sometimes awful conditions and there is no going back to re- shoot. I have to get it right the first time. It is certainly not art - it is pure recording. There are times, however, when I like to add something special. Like a technically excellent panorama. But it has to be quick and painless.
I will not speak about the importance of photographing a large section of stratigraphy or the necessity of capturing, with correct verticals, a 25 metre-long drystone wall, stone by stone ... to do justice to the craftsmen who built it. Now to be demolished. Most of my work is for archival purposes. Everything is shot in RAW and converted to TIFF and DVDs are then supplied to clients and Government heritage departments.
I have been doing this stuff for about 25 years now, first with film, now with digital. Over the years I have tried many methods and programs to create panoramas. All were - as we say in Australia - a pain in the bum.
So. I downloaded the trial of STOIC PanoramaMaker. I decided to give it a hard test. Friends of ours ran a cafe in our small town and were retiring and selling the business. An emotional time. It was a brief set-up. I asked Bill and Doreen to hold hands and stand behind the main counter. I set a Nikon D200 to ISO 400 and shot five frames - hard left, medium, straight on, medium, hard right. All hand held. All over-lapping. Available light. For the second sequence of five frames, I used an SB-600 strobe set on around 70mm to spotlight the couple.
I later rejected this frame because of highlights on the woman's spectacles. I processed the first five frames using STOIC PanoramaMaker - and was astounded at the result. This was a rough and brutal test. The program delivered.
In my work, panoramas play a small but vital part. STOIC PanoramaMaker is an excellent, powerful program that deserves wide distribution. It is now my tool of choice.
Tony Jenner, archeologist, Australia.