Mount Doom and the Tongariro Crossing Panorama

This photo is an excellent example of why travel and photography generally don’t mix.  Unless you’re planning your vacation around getting great photos, rarely do you have the time or energy to really think through a photograph.  You don’t go off the path, you don’t think about alternative angles, interesting composition.  You simply find something beautiful or amazing and try to capture it as best you can to share with friends back home.  Such was the case in New Zealand last year — I had walked past one volcanic crater already on the Tongariro Crossing, I was standing next to another, looking down at a third, with some turquoise volcanic lakes off to the side of the path ahead.  Of course I got out the camera, and snapped off this 7 or 8 frame panorama:

Tongariro Crossing Summit

Of course, it’s immediately apparent that the volcanic lakes didn’t make it into the photo.. the frame containing them ended up not turning out.  Also, while this is in no means a bad photo, it could have been far better if I had walked twenty feet to my left so that the crater in the foreground filled the bottom of the panorama.  Had I thought this through while I was hiking and taken my time getting the shots, I would have ended up with an absolutely extraordinary panorama.  That said, I still enjoy this shot…