Skip to main content

Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 3 of 21

Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography


Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 3 of 21

Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography


Lesson Info

Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography

We're going to talk about the gig. A pen, the gig. Japan takes us another step in the size of a file. You want to make a really big file or you want to put this online where people can zoom in and find little things within your pictures? So get japan people came out with a number of different sizes of these. The biggest one here is professional will work up to ten pounds and it's got a little computer down at the bottom. This is for the smaller dslr ours. And then for the point shoots, they initially only had this one and I was able to do big panorama is with a point shoot camera. Even though they had a very tiny sensor and not very many megapixels. By the time you put all of these images together, it was pretty pretty cool. Now, with this unit here, I could put a camera on there up to four hundred millimeters and I take sections. We start up in the upper upper left corner and then we know where we want to stop in the lower right corner and we tell the camera what local in flynn's we h...

ave gay japan, we tell it what the focal length of the lenses and it then we tell it where to start. And and where it wants to stop, and it will then figure out how many images it takes toe overlap each one and the number of rows it's going to take, and it could be several hundred images, and it just takes them, and it has software that will put all of these images together. If you don't kick the tripod in the middle of it or something like that, you push the button, you step back and it just it's a computer, it basically takes all the images and that's a lot of things to do and, you know, may sound like a lot of money for nine hundred ninety five dollars, but what it does is incredible cannon, quite often at their big expositions, will put out a print that is five foot by twenty foot long, and you can walk up and see every detail within the picture. So here's a picture of bryce canyon and there's, an area on the other side where people stand it's, it's either sunrise or sunset point. And when you look at the overall picture there sixty five images making this up, and they're all of two hundred millimeters and you can actually see the people you don't have to, you can't quite see him enough where you need to run over there and get a release from each one of them. They're almost if I would have done this with the fifty megapixel or a thirty six megapixel camera, we probably would have to go get releases, but you khun post this on to the gig a pen website you can look at it on your ipad or on your computer, even your iphone, and you can then blow it up just with your finger blow it up to the point where you can see the little details and here's that area across the way. Here is another area that was off to the left and this these people we can actually identify in the image, so that gets to be kind of interesting just goto www dot giga pan dot or ge and look at the different images there's hundreds of thousands of images on their sometimes what you can do is you can if you're going to go someplace you can put in that area and then you come up with an image of somebody took there and zoom in and see different aspects of it and then you could take you can see down at the bottom here there are certain pictures that people say, I like that area you hit the button and it's makes us if it saves that spot, so the next person comes along clicks on that and it goes zoom in right to that spot pretty pretty interesting so the big japan also you can program it to take up to twenty some pictures at each position so I only use it for three pictures at each position to do an hdr so you could do it hdr giga pan so I'm at multnomah falls on the columbia river and it's kind of raining it's it's not so good I'm having to shoot it f twenty two because I need depth of field all the way from the bottom all the way to the top up here my wife kathy goes up here and she's standing on the bridge and she's wondering you know when am I going to photograph her? She doesn't I don't have a radio with me at this particular point but I took forty images but each one of them is three images because each one is two stops over on the money two stops under which gives me the hdr because of the I want to bring out the colors so we ended up with one hundred twenty images and the end result is it's pretty nice image and when you blow it up there she is waiting and wondering we can use these same techniques there's so many different ways all these techniques I'm talking about here today you khun make them work for what interests you and let's say that you're into flowers and you want to make big prints on flowers my wife and her office has fifty by forty by fifty inch prints of the insides of gerber daisies, several of them in her in her office, and you can walk up and see the pollen grains inside of it. And one of the ways we do that is we've taken this gig a pan and we've taken is one eighty macro that I mentioned earlier with a two x telly extender on the back of it that's three hundred sixty millimeters. It'll go all the way to two x, but we're back further, so we maintain it about one x so you can see the pictures that I've taken here. I've taken five, five rows and three pictures each and then when I crop it down, when you see here and it all comes together, the detail is fantastic and we could just move the camera. We don't have to do the aerial thing that we were talking about before here's, the type of panorama that happened by accident, and this is the first image that I ever did with this without even knowing it. I'm in butts, juana, I'm having lunch, we're standing outside the vehicles have seventy with a one to four hundred around my neck, and here comes a bunch of little baboons. And they want to run across this water and they don't want to get too wet, so they're really cut comical the way they tried to run across the top of the water so I would follow them and as they went across the water I would leave the motor drive going I'm looking for one shot where their action is something that I want I'm looking for that one action shot, so I followed him in a motor drives going the whole time each time that they went across I just followed them in them going in ten that camera was eight frames per second, so when I was looking at the images and this is one of those sets and this is actually every other image because if you took every image they would be overlapping each other one part of it they're not separated enough and I looked at those images and I said, well, that's kind of neat the way he was going across but then I saw the tree there and I saw the tree there and I saw the tree there and I said to myself, if I put that together as a panorama and then the positioning of the animal is going to be just perfect because the timing of the camera was going off at, you know once every eight or in this case once every fourth of a second and we have time and distance and action all going on in one action is something that I that started the first thing with an action sequence panorama and after that I started trying to do it on purpose. I even went back and found a few other images in my files where I had followed something with a motor drive in the motor drive it kept going all the way through and I actually made a couple of those into action sequence panorama is so here's doing it on purpose you know, I went to a uh uh trials we call it there's a there's a name for this where you take the dogs out and then they go through all of their shenanigans here jumping and going through these tunnels and everything like that. But as as the dog would go, I would start the motor drive and follow him all the way through and then maybe even get a chance to go to the second one in this big black poodle here and they would all go together because they overlap unusually it's every other image we now have cameras that go up the twelve frames per second you don't need that if you have a camera that does five or six frames for second and those were the less expensive the rebels, the less expensive night cons will do five or six friends for second without any problem so here are some examples this is molly now this was done on purpose. We took her out to the park, I knew that she would jump the hurdled, and as I followed her, I just kept doing it. She ran to her, the person who owns her and molly became an action sequence panorama now think of horses running think of ah, person jumping hurdles, you can use this in sports, you can use this in any number of ways to do an action sequence panorama, so take it to that. I'm always taking something to the next degree, so I met basketball, apache and I have the one d x, which is twelve frames per second, and they're following and I'm on a tripod and I'm leveled, and I follow these these cranes as they take off, and hopefully they'll stay fairly level if they go up and out of the picture everything's over, but this particular bird, I got twenty one images. Actually, I got three times that because I'm using every third image because we're doing twelve francs for second, so you could start to see here how far you can take something like this, the wings air up the wings or down. I mean, the timing was just right and you could make you could make a decision here, which every third one do you want, so that you make sure you have the wings going up in the wings going down, that type of thing? So there's your ending picture it's. A long print, actually, a print of this is hanging in the in bend at the desert, the desert museum high desert museum. They've got it long print up above on one of the ceiling areas there. So it really gives you an idea of what this bird looks like. Some people will look at this and say, how did you get all those birds lined up so perfectly when they flew, when they took off the same bird and every picture?

Class Description


  • Create a variety of dramatic panoramas.

  • Capture rapid movements, such as the flapping of a bird’s wings.

  • Take close-up shots that depict the beauty and vibrant colors of flowers.

  • Capture images of snowflakes using specialized equipment and intricate techniques.

  • Photograph and take videos of lightning storms.

  • Use various types of additional lighting, including electronic flashes.


Are you a major gearhead who loves hearing about the latest and greatest photography equipment on the market today? Do you want to learn some amazing techniques that will take your outdoor photography game to the next level?

If you want to shoot like a pro and get an inside look at how one of the greatest outdoor photographers around makes his magic, then this is the course for you. Celebrated photographer George Lepp shares some of his best-known photographs and describes the techniques and equipment needed to capture images of wild animals, beautiful flowers, and awesome landscapes.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Paint with high-powered flashlights during long exposures.

  • Use special techniques and post-processing software programs to extend your depth of field.

  • Take macro photography shots using special lenses and extension tubes.

  • Utilize tele extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots.

  • Use HDR to get natural looking contrast control.

  • Perform time-lapse photography with movement and panning.

  • Discover a variety of DSLR video shooting techniques.

Experienced photographers interested in exploring the intricacies of outdoor photography will love hearing George’s thrilling stories about his great outdoor and travel photography shoots all over the world like Africa and his close calls with wild animals. By the end of this course, you’ll be inspired to challenge yourself and experiment with these truly incredible techniques.


  • Experienced photographers who want to learn about cutting-edge equipment and innovative techniques for outdoor photography.

  • Photographers looking to be inspired by one of the greats and wanting to hear about his personal experiences.

  • Those who are new to outdoor photography and want an inside look at what it’s like to be a professional in the field.


George D. Lepp is one of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers. His passions for natural beauty, technical precision, cutting-edge technology, and environmental responsibility are revealed in his beautiful and compelling photographic images. He is also widely recognized for his unique dedication to sharing his photographic and biological knowledge with other photographers through his seminars, writing, and inventions. George Lepp is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of outdoor photography and digital imaging. 

Lepp’s images have appeared in some of the world’s most widely viewed venues and on the covers of many books and magazines, including Natural History, Car and Driver, PC Photo, and Outdoor Photographer; at prestigious galleries and museums throughout the United States; and at the corporate headquarters of Canon USA, Eastman Kodak, and Epson America. He was chosen by Canon USA as one of the first members of its Explorers of Light program, which features the industry’s most influential photographers. He is known both for his sweeping panoramas that capture the magnificence of exotic locations and his stunning high-magnification macro renditions of subjects such as snowflakes and butterfly wings. His stock and assignment photography is represented by Getty, Corbis, and Photo Researchers. 

Lepp is regularly read in popular photographic magazines; he has contributed for thirty years as a field editor and columnist to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and more recently has published technical articles in Europe’s c’t Digital Photography Magazine. He is the author of many books, including Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field, Golden Poppies of California, and Beyond the Basics I and II: Innovative Techniques for Outdoor and Nature Photography, as well as hundreds of articles on photography. He has taught at Photoshop World, Santa Fe Workshops, Palm Beach Workshops, and founded the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging. Lepp is a founding board member and a fellow of the North American Nature Photographers Association and winner of many awards for his work, including Photo Media’s Photography Person of the Year and the prestigious Progress Award, the highest given by the Photographic Society of America. 

First trained in wildlife and wildlands management, George Lepp later earned a BPA and honorary MS in Professional Photography from Brooks Institute. Contact him through his web site, www.GeorgeLepp.com.


  1. Class Overview

    Get an overview of what you’ll learn in this course on creative outdoor photography, including how to do panoramas, extending your depth of field, and time-lapse photography.

  2. Types of Panorama for Outdoor Photography

    There are many different panorama techniques, from composite to hand-held to multi-camera. You’ll learn about all of them and the basic techniques for creating them right here.

  3. Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography

    Learn to take a Gigapan panorama and get extremely big and detailed shots.

  4. Additional Lighting: Light Painting, Flash and Ambient

    George discusses options for additional outdoor photography lighting, including electronic flashes, the Better Beamer Flash Extender, and using high-powered flashlights to paint with light during long exposures.

  5. Extended Depth of Field

    Sometimes it’s important to have objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background all in sharp focus. Learn about various software programs and techniques to achieve extended depth of field photography.

  6. Macro Photography Techniques

    Learn about macro photography techniques, lenses, and extension tubes.

  7. Tele-extenders and Outdoor Photography

    Learn about using tele-extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots of things such as a butterfly’s wings.

  8. HDR as a Tool

    High dynamic range (HDR) allows you to take multiple exposures at once and achieve natural looking contrast control within your final image. George offers a variety of HDR photography tips.

  9. Time-lapse Outdoor Photography

    Learn how to shoot time lapse photography with movement and panning.

  10. DSLR HD Video

    Learn about DSLR video shooting techniques and the essential equipment you’ll need.

  11. Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography

    George talks about the cinemagraph for outdoor photography, which is a still image with an element that moves.

  12. Photographing Birds

    Digital photography allows you to take incredible shots of birds and their movements. Get some bird photography tips and learn about shutter speeds and the equipment you’ll need to take your best images.

  13. Photographing Mammals

    George discusses wildlife photography techniques and his experiences shooting mammals, including speedy cheetahs, angry elephants, and hungry hippos.

  14. Photographing Birds and Mammals Q & A

    George offers some wildlife photography critiques and answers questions about his wildlife photography, including using a flash when taking pictures of birds and mammals.

  15. Macro Photography and Flowers

    George shares his flower photography techniques and confirms how he took glorious shots at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland.

  16. Photographing Butterflies

    Get some photo tips for photographing butterflies, including the importance of having a telephoto lens and a flash.

  17. Photographing Snowflakes

    Get the scoop on what you’ll need for snowflake macro photography, including special lighting, a copy stand, an adjustable base, and really cold equipment.

  18. Photographing Landscapes

    George offers some landscape photography tips for beginners and talks about some of his favorite places and landscape images.

  19. Photographing Lightning

    Learn how to photograph lightning and how to take video of lightning storms.

  20. HDR Landscapes and Time Lapse

    Learn about HDR landscape photography—compiling a series of pictures to capture various levels of light.

  21. Final Outdoor Photography Q&A

    Students get a chance to ask some final questions of George about outdoor photography ideas, including things such as panoramas, extenders, and white balance.



I watched the entire class, and found it to be a very negative experience - in contrast to all of my other experiences with Creative Live, which had been very good. The problem with this class was the instructor. Mr. Lepp, rather than giving us practical, useful information, and techniques for approaching the subject of Outdoor Photography, instead used his time to show off his seemingly endless array of incredibly expensive and cutting edge gadgetry. For the first half hour or so, Mr. Lepp seemed pleasant and interesting, but it quickly became apparent that this class was NOT about anything relating to the art of outdoor photography. Instead, it was basically a seminar highlighting exotic equipment for the 1%. I have well over $25,000 of photographic equipment, but the arena in which Mr. Lepp plays begins somewhere around the $100,000 mark, and then requires a staggering ongoing budget for chartering helicopters, hiring guides, and constant upgrades to remain on the bleeding edge of gadgetry and accessories. From his gyroscopic mounts to his 40" printer, Mr. Lepp has it ALL and continues to spend, spend, spend. I admire his deep pockets, but I would have appreciated some real insight and technique and useful knowledge on actually getting great shots. (And I must say... Mr. Lepp's work... did not impress me to the degree that other teachers on CreativeLive have.) I believe those giving positive reviews here were more or less wowed by the sheer magnitude of his extensive, well-funded travels and his off-handed way of revealing the endless contraptions and combinations of gear he uses. The passion here is clearly about the gadgetry, and NOT about finding an original and creative voice in the arena of outdoor photography.

R. Hetrick

Amazing class! I particularly loved the macro and how to correctly take panoramic photos sections. George was not only a great teacher but he was super funny too. Would be happy to take any of his future classes.


George really prepared a lot of information for his class. It is true, he does have a lot of expensive equipment and we may not be able to do some of the things he does with a smaller budget, but it is good incentive for us to plan for the future. He seemed to share new information constantly and stay focused and I was able to take a lot of notes. He talked about many kinds of equipment as well as software and websites he uses. I am pretty impressed that he is so up to date with recent technology. He especially loves macro/micro and stacking hundreds of images for minute focus on really large enlargements (for example, over 600 photos for one butterfly wing). That can get boring if you are not interested in doing that. I can take those tips and apply them to landscape photography though. I think it is more helpful for someone already doing outdoor photography and looking for new inspiration or new techniques as opposed to someone new to photography in general.