Thomas Basin

Posted by Arlo on Jan 5, 2007 under Photography, Postcard Valet

Thomas Basin, Ketchikan, Alaska

Purchase a Print

Just after I managed to sell a framed print of one of my panoramas, I seriously thought about upgrading my digital camera.  By that point, I’d left hand-stitching in Photoshop behind because Autostich made assembling panoramas so much easier.  If I could iron out the work-flow, I deluded myself, I might be able to crank out salable photography on a regular basis!   I’d been shooting for years on a Canon PowerShot s30, and it was great for what it was: a tiny point-and-shoot with a tiny lens.  I longed for the days of SLR focusyness, but definitely didn’t want to go back to the 35mm work-flow.

Those were the thoughts in the back my head when we took a trip to Ketchikan.  Oksana and I made a point of getting out on a sunny day and hitting some photogenic spots.  We did Creek Street and Totem Bight, of course, but later I realized something.  My first panorama of the Mendenhall Glacier was an anomaly; it’s actually pretty damn hard to find a good panorama subject!  Creek street bowed out toward the camera (artifacts of perspective; I was too close to my subject) and the only position where I could fit the whole of Totem Bight’s park into frame ended up with the lodge dominating the shot.

At least cruise season hadn’t yet begun.  The docks downtown were completely empty.  We walked out to the end of one and I snapped off a row of pictures facing toward iconic Deer Mountain and Thomas Basin.  It was a great day for photographs.  The sun was at my back and even the normally gray Ketchikan sky decided to cooperate by sending up some puffy white clouds to fill in that expansive blue void.

When I first saw the completed picture, I worried about that radio tower in front of the mountain.  I thought about cloning it out, but anyone from Ketchikan would be quick to notice.  I see a few other imperfections (snow’s a bit overexposed, I’m not sold on the building in the left foreground, and I wish there were at least one more cloud to fill the upper right), but overall I really like this photo.

You know, tourists are rewarded with this exact view when they step off the cruise ships.  I’ll bet one or two might consider buying a print.  Some gallery owner in Ketchikan should hook me up.

Canon Powershot s30
Date: 17 April 2005
Focal Length: 10mm
Shutter: 1/318 second
Aperture: F/6.3
Photoshop:  Stitching of 9 images, Minor color correction

This is one of the last panoramas I shot on my s30 before I convinced Oksana that we should upgrade to a Canon XT.

The size of the above image doesn’t do justice to the detail contained in the full-size panorama.  I got used to seeing it in all its high-resolution glory and didn’t realize that when I first posted this entry.  Here’s a 2″ x 2″ sample section of the same image at 300ppi.  I think it does a good job of representing the quality eeked out by my little 3 MegaPixel camera even thought this sample is compressed at 50% JPEG quality.

Thomas Basin Detail