How to Shoot a Galapagos Panorama (Sierra Negra Volcano)

Photography Tips

When taking photos of the Galapagos, don’t forget to look for opportunities for panoramas.

Panoramas are pictures where you can capture a very wide and/or very tall scene by taking several overlapping photos and then stitching them together using Photoshop or similar software.

Some sites in the Galapagos make for absolutely fabulous landscapes.

I love panoramas because they really capture the big picture of a place. Also, for the interior designer in me, the unusual dimensions of a panorama makes a much more modern looking wall-hanging when printed on canvas. Just imagine how awesome panoramas from your Galapagos vacation would look decorating your home!

Sierra Negra Volcano is one such example, see below.


Click to enlarge

4 Tips for Great Panoramas

  1. Aim to have about 20-30% overlap. That is, take the pictures sequentially, recapturing about 20-30% of the same thing in adjacent photos.
  2. Keep your arm steady and move horizontally across the scene taking pictures sequentially. If you have a tripod, use it since it will make it much easier to get all of your photos to line up straight next to each other.
  3. You can also take vertical panoramas (to take pictures of tall trees, buildings, etc), or grid panoramas which are several photos wide and several photos tall.
  4. If you have manual settings on your camera, it is preferable to use manual mode and keep the same exposure values. Otherwise your camera will automatically adjust exposure based on how light the scene is – this can result in funny edges between pictures where one photo was exposed more than another.

Creating the Panorama

  • Open all the photos in Photoshop
  • Select File > Automate > Photomerge
  • Once the merge is complete, there may be blank areas where your photos did not line up perfectly. You can either crop these out or use the intelligent fill functions of Photoshop to artificially fill them in.

Ideas for Where to Take Panoramas in the Galapagos

I am sure there are more, but just to give you an idea, any of these would make an amazing panorama.

  • “Los Gemelos” – the twin craters on Santa Cruz Island.
  • The harbor of Puerto Ayora – with all the ships and hotels along the bay, especially at sunset
  • Challenge panorama If you want an extra challenge, try using an underwater camera and taking a panorama while snorkeling or diving. It will be very difficult to get the right amount of overlap, but should make some really interesting photos.
  • The lava fields on the Tintoreras bay tour on Isabela

Where do you think is the best place to take a panorama on the Galapagos?

Meet the Author

Lisa Cho is an expat living in Ecuador, originally from San Francisco, California. She writes about the Galapagos Islands on this site and about her mainland Ecuador adventures on

1 comment… add one
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