I have mixed feelings about panoramic photos. The process of creating them is different from making single-frame images, because they require making multiple exposures and stitching them together (at least that's the way it is when using my digital camera; there are some cameras that do not require doing that). The process of composing them is different from single-frame images, because their proportions are often dramatically extended. And the act of experiencing them is different because comprehension of the image unfolds as one moves their attention from one end of the image to the other. One could be excused for considering them contrived. Still, I am growing increasingly fond of panoramas, because of the reasons mentioned above. They offer a different kind of experience and tell a different kind of story than the more squarish images I usually make.
I was intent upon finding a suitable viewpoint from which I could make this image, and hoping for agreeable weather in which to make it, because my plan was to make a print of this scene and give it to a friend who has a cabin near here. I needed to shoot this at sunrise from the east, looking toward the Collegiate Range, to capture it as the first rays of the rising sun washed across it. So I spent a good part of a day scouting possible locations along unpaved roads before I located this spot with the broad sweeps of land and unobtrusive vegetation. The next morning, I left my tent under a starry sky and drove an hour before first light. When I got to this spot, I set up my camera and waited. As the sky brightened, I made several test runs of images, shooting at six or seven different angles to encompass the entire range. Then, as the sun was about to break the horizon... success! Gorgeous alpenglow on the peaks with a few delicate clouds to punctuate the sky. Perfect conditions like this last but a few moments, so I quickly made my exposures... then took a deep breath.
I make most of my images much more spontaneously; I get them when the gettin's good, as they say. But sometimes I need to plan ahead and work more methodically to get the results I want. And sometimes, it even pans out! In this and every other image I make, I previsualize the printed image before pressing the shutter release, and do what I need to do when capturing and post-processing it, to make it happen.