Amazing Mountain Panorama Shot with ZEISS Loxia 2/35
The ZEISS Loxia 2/35 offers an extended field of view and is also used for amazing panorama shots with stitched images. Tim Mosedale shot one of the most elevated high resolution mountain panorama. The panorama was shot with Sony α7R, ZEISS Loxia 2/35, and Bushman Panoramic Amarula Tripod and Gobi Panoramic Head and produced by Thomas Worbs. To see the full interactive panorama from Ama Dablam Camp 3 in the Everest region, please visit:
Go to: http://mpano.com/2015M1
Tim Mosedale: I’ve been on expeditions to Nepal for the last 17 years and it never fails to impress. Last November I was very excited to be back on Ama Dablam, an iconic looking mountain in the heart of the Everest region, where we had some very settled weather and great climbing conditions for the entire 4 weeks. We were having fantastic clear starry nights and lots of moon rises from behind the mountain and I was spending most evenings outside the mess tent forsaking my evening meals. I had been experimenting with the Carl Zeiss Loxia 2/35 lens and the time lapse app on the Sony a7R and was getting some really impressive results. But then I would say that wouldn’t I?
But that wasn’t why I was excited. I was hoping to get a panorama from high on the mountain. Not just any old hand held auto stitch panorama but a 360° x 180° gigapixel high resolution panorama. Lower on the mountain I had managed to fit in a few practice sessions and got some great results from Base Camp, Advanced Base Camp and Camp 1. The colors were amazing and the post monsoon conditions meant that the crisp air quality was giving some great results with crystal clear views.
On summit day I was setting off from Camp 1 (around 5,850m) to try and make for the summit at 6,856m. Traditionally people summit from Camp 2 (6,000m) or higher, but C2 was full so I opted for a longer day from lower down. The alarm went off at 3a.m. and I was soon starting out shortly after 4a.m. My torch lit the way for the initial hour or so until first light meant that I could see where I was going. Along with the usual equipment that meant I was self-sufficient on the hill I also had my camera, tripod, panoramic head, remote control, spare batteries and Carl Zeiss Loxia lens. My pack was reasonably heavy considering where I was but I made good progress along the complex rocky to C2 and was soon donning my crampons and making my way up the grey couloir.
It turned out to be a warmer than expected day (around -8° to -10°C instead of -15 to -20°C) and I took a welcome stop to dispense with a layer and take on some fluids. I was travelling solo and enjoying the solitude.
At around 09:00 I could see a group ahead of me negotiating the slopes up to Camp 3 and beyond and by 10 I had caught them up and waited patiently. There had been a change in the terrain making one section of the climb almost over hanging on soft snow – not an ideal combination. Thankfully there were some fixed ropes in place to secure our passage but it made the final part of the route along ‘Mushroom Ridge’ very challenging indeed.
Once I had arrived at the site of Camp 3 I hurried my way up the ropes to the right of a massive serac called The Dablam which gives the mountain its name (Ama Dablam means ‘Mother’s Charmbox’ or ‘Mother’s Necklace’ with the ridges forming her outstretched arms and The Dablam being the charm box around her neck). Time was ticking and the sky was changing rapidly. I was hoping to make my 7th summit of this fantastic peak but from the delays getting to Camp 3 I realized that I was cutting it a bit fine. If I summited I knew that it was going to be very very late before I was going to be back at my tent. And the clouds were already shrouding Cho Oyu (the world’s 6th highest peak) and I was concerned that even if I did top out there might not be a view for me to photograph.
At around 6,500m I decided to drop back down to the shoulder at Camp 3 and make a photo from there which would also enable me to negotiate the ropes back down in daylight. The people ahead of me were slowly approaching the summit … but they ‘only’ had to get back to Camp 2. After a quick rest to get my breath back I started getting everything prepared and was soon snapping away. Anyone who has taken panoramas will know the feeling of not wanting to compromise on any of the shots otherwise the whole project is jeopardised. Even with a panoramic tripod head each and every shot needs to be checked and double checked – especially making sure that there is stability between shots and that my shadow isn’t going to compromise the outcome.
I had already made a number of panoramas on previous expeditions but this was my highest to date and I won’t be back there for another year so I over compensated and made around 450 shots – and this didn’t include anything below 60° because there was quite a lot of detritus on the ground. Also the sky was changing quite rapidly and I wanted to make sure that Thomas Worbs had enough footage to be able to make the stitch. Even though the Sony α7R has easy to use adjustment wheels (great with my big gloves on) and I was using a remote control for firing the shots I still had to take my mitts off quite a few times when checking the focus and adjusting the angle for the next rotation. It’s tricky, fiddly work and took around 35 to complete the task. I did a quick preview and things looked to be ok but I was anxious that once I dismantled and set off I wouldn’t know the outcome for another 2 or 3 weeks. It was time to go.
I wasn’t back to my tent until gone 6p.m. and had been on the go for 15 hours at altitudes over 6,000m for most of the day but I couldn’t wait to check the footage. As I waitted for my snow water to boil I excitedly checked the footage and zoomed in on the horizon, zoomed in on the foreground, checked the continuity, was delighted that I had the sun pretty much centre frame and was thrilled to see that even the nearest snow crystals were in sharp focus and glinting in the sun. I obviously couldn’t review all 400+ shots but to me it looked like I had done a great job but what would the master think?
With that amount of footage it is impossible to send the photos from Nepal and so it wasn’t until 10 days later that I was able to start making the data transfer and it took almost an entire 24 hours to get everything across and verified. Thomas rang and I was delighted to hear that the footage was excellent. It was going to take some time stitch the sky because of the ever changing cloud cover but the result was probably going to be good.
And now, here it is. Thomas and I are really pleased with the outcome and we hope that you enjoy what has got to be one of our finest compositions.
About Tim Mosedale
Having started out as a climbing instructor in the UK Tim spread his wings to include working abroad. After 7 years working at an Outdoor Centre he then spent over 10 years as a full time climber and mountaineer and if he wasn’t cragging, guiding and instructing in England in summer, or climbing and mountaineering in Scotland in winter, then he was guiding in the Himalayas or in Greenland. He has over 10 years’ experience in Nepal and has summited Lobuche East (5 times), Island Peak (7 times), Mera Peak (twice) and has recently added Ama Dablam to his list of ‘ticks’ with November 2012 being the 10th trip there. During 6 expeditions to Greenland Tim added over 50 unclimbed peaks to his CV and then went on to summit Cho Oyu in 2006. As a qualified Mountain Instructor, with a background in logistics and with a whole host of expeditions under his belt it means that you are in safe hands with Tim. Tim was part of the Karrimor 2005 Everest expedition and successfully summited from the North side on the 30th May. In 2011 Tim led an expedition on the South Col route of Everest, topping out with 4 clients, to become only the 10th Brit to have summited Everest from both sides. In 2013 Tim returned to Everest and summited again with another 4 clients – this time making a double summit in one season.
About Thomas Worbs
Thomas Worbs started panoramic photography 11 years ago and collected a lot of high resolution panoramas. He also trains climbers like Tim Mosedale to shoot amazing panoramas during their expeditions. Due to limited bandwidth and poor player technology it was not possible to publish the panoramas adequately on the internet. Now technology and bandwidth are available . Enjoy www.mountainpanoramas.com. It is the website for you, if you urgently need the mountain feeling but cannot haunt the mountains yourself. Mountainpanoramas shall give you that feeling wherever you are »like being there yourself«. Move around in full screen mode and explore the mountains from your desk.