Process and Equipment:
Preface: I only describe a bit here about process in that may help someone else in their discovery as well. Keep in mind a tool is just a tool, no matter how fancy or complex it may be. It’s easy to get caught up the technology, gadgetry and cool new equipment. But the best camera out there is the one between your ears. Neat tricks and shooting techniques do not override the need for a good composition. Educate yourself, practice, be prepared, go out and shoot, learn to use your delete button, work hard to always be in the right place at the right time, and of course...a little luck can never hurt.
In capturing the images, I use basically two simple tools, a large format 6x17 film camera with Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, and a few digital 35mm SLR's (Currently 2 Canon 5d Mark II's) Shooting film is used for a variety of compositions when digital stitching will not yield the best result, such as when shooting moving objects and aerials. Film is a quite a bit more expensive to shoot today and I'm using it less and less. However, there is nothing quite like looking at a properly exposed giant 6x17 or large format color slide negative on a light box and seeing the amazing color and sharpness from the magic chemical process of film.
When film is not used, I use high resolution digital capture. All of the digital captured panoramic images are produced by shooting multiple 35mm photos in a row, or multiple rows shooting horizontal and/or vertical. Each photo is captured at the same time usually within 1 to 30 seconds depending on exposure needs. Using a level tripod and panoramic head with proper lens configurations is vital for an accurate stitch, especially in compositions with close up subject matter, or in low light situations. However, I find the tripod very constricting and heavy especially when hiking, and with much practice, have shot at least half of the images by rotating the camera by hand. After stitching the digital negatives together, the image is then cropped and adjusted to remove any dust or spots, and to fix any stitching anomalies that may have resulted during the overlapping process. With today's exact pixel matching stitching software, the resulting images are almost 100% accurate, although there may be the occasional overlap mistake. No digital changes to the photos are made except to patch very small areas of sky or other detail parts of the photo that may need repair after stitching, or as otherwise noted for illustration purposes.
To maximize proper exposures, I use a wide range of on-lens polarizing, neutral density, and gradient filters when shooting. In addition for both digital and film, I sometimes then utilize post production digital darkroom techniques such as graduated filters, dodge, burn and levels adjustments after color correcting in RAW format to produce the final digital negative used for printing. Once the final image is created, it is sized, saved and cataloged to the library, then backed up both on and off-site for safe keeping. Each image is then uploaded to the website for viewing, and offered as limited & open edition prints on a wide variety of the highest quality archival photo art papers.
Sample setup of filters for the "Impressions" series