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Concert Photographer Shoots Striking Bokeh Panoramas

In Summer of 2019, while working with Elbow in Manchester, concert photographer Peter Neill had an idea. He decided to try and stitch an epic panorama… with a twist. Instead of using a wide-angle, he would use an 85mm f/1.4 and capture a pano of the stage and the crowd, but with a shallow depth of field.

Typically, when you set about shooting a panorama like this, you’re working with three or four shots captured at a relatively wide focal length. That makes the stitching easier, since there are fewer “seams” to deal with, but it lacks that shallow DOF look that people seem to love.

While shooting Elbow in 2019, Neill started to wonder if he could have the best of both worlds.

“While standing on one end of the stage, I wondered if I could shoot a shallow DOF panorama with my 85mm,” Neill tells PetaPixel. “I fully expected it not to work or to be impossible to stitch due to the amount of movement.”

He soon discovered that this is a fairly well-known technique called the Brenizer Method, though it hasn’t been applied to concert photography very often… if at all. As Neill mentions above, the amount of movement makes this very difficult to achieve. But, much to his delight, he’s been able to more-or-less perfect the process for his concert work.

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