Let's walk through shooting a single row pano, step by step. For simplicity, we'll assume that you're using our Pano Elements Package, a ballhead, and a Really Right Stuff-style quick-release mounting plate on your camera. The Pano Elements Package includes one PCL-1 panning clamp and one MPR-CL II nodal slide.
Mount the Nodal Slide
Open the panning clamp enough so that you can top-load your MPR-CL II nodal slide into the panning clamp (the safety stops on each end prevent you from loading the slide from the side). Its exact position isn't important. Tighten clamp securely.
Level the PCL-1 Panning Clamp/MPR-CL II
Loosen the ballhead so that the ball moves freely, and adjust the panning clamp until the large, high contrast spirit level in the MPR-CL II nodal slidr indicates level. When available, always opt to reference the larger spirit level of the MPR-CL II rather than the much smaller integral spirit level of the panning clamp. Lock down the ball, and make sure that the ballhead's panning base is also locked.
Mount your Camera
If you have a Really Right Stuff L-plate, securely mount your camera in portrait mode in the clamp at the end of the nodal slide. If you have a Really Right Stuff conventional plate, securely mount your camera in landscape mode. Use the laser-engraved centering index marks to properly align your camera in the nodal slide's clamp.
Position the Nodal Slide
Loosen the clamp on the PCL-1, and slide the MPR-CL or MPR-CL II fore or aft until you've aligned the nodal point (calculated by you earlier!) with the laser-engraved centering index mark on the PCL-1 panning clamp. Tighten clamp securely.
Check Camera Settings
Set exposure mode to Manual (not Program, not Aperture Priority, and not Shutter Priority!). If you're not sure what exposure to set, pan your scene and snap a few images in Aperture Priority; set an aperture that will give you the depth of field that you want.
If you have no idea what aperture to set, try starting out with f18 or f22; this will give you suitable depth of field for most landscapes. Assuming you're shooting digital, review these images and compare the shutter speed that your camera chose for the series; select a shutter speed that will be acceptable across the entire image. Now switch your camera to Manual and set both aperture and shutter speed. Turn off Auto White-Balance. Instead, set the White Balance manually. For most landscape scenes, the Sunny setting is just fine. Now you're ready to shoot!
Shoot the Scene
Starting at the left-hand side of your scene, capture each overlapping image from left to right. You can
shoot from right to left, but all of the software auto-stitching features are designed to grab the images in numerical order (by using the file name) and assemble them left-to-right. The exact amount of overlap isn't usually important; to start with, shoot for about 30% to 50% overlap (just estimate by looking through the viewfinder). A simple way to visually indicate the beginning and end of a sequence is to shoot an empty first frame and an empty final frame; just place something in front of the lens like your hand, or a piece of paper, etc. When reviewing your images later, it's then easy to pick out your pano images just from the small thumbnail icons.
Import, Stitch, Adjust, and Crop
Assuming you're shooting digital, now you're ready to import your images into your computer. For convenience, place all images from a single sequence in their own folder; some of the software programs with automerge features work better if you can just point them to a folder.