Shooting panos with a handheld pole is not so hard to do but sometimes it is better to use the pole with a tripod adapter and a sturdy tripod.
Advantages of using a pole with a tripod adapter and a tripod:
1) you can pay more attention what is going around you, the camera will have less movement on top of the pole (HDR and longer exposures) and the shoot is more relaxed,
2) with a few steps away from the tripod your own shadow is gone out of the images and that means that you not only have to do less masking in PTGui but also that the shoot is easier to do because you don't have to take care that you shoot the images in such a position that your shadow is at different sides of the pole in different images.
3) the legs and the shadows of the tripod will be visible in the images, to remove them you need an extra nadir patch or you have to do some cloning of the footprint in Photoshop,
4) the weight of the tripod+tripod adapter combo can be too much to carry around for longer distances.
The balance between the advantages and disadvantages of using a tripod adapter and tripod is personal and depends on several factors that can vary between different pano shoots.
About the work flow:
Leveling the pole with a tripod and tripod adapter is an easy task by adjusting the lenght of one or more tripod legs.
You do this while the pole is not expanded and your camera is not mounted on top of the pole, a big help for this is the new Advanced level with a mirror that avoids that you have to stand up after tweaking the length of the tripod legs to look on top of the level to see the bubble. With the Advanced level you can look at the bubble in the mirror and at the same time adjust the tripod legs. The Advanced level will soon be available in the NN store.
Although the legs of the tripod needs to be fully expanded to get the max possible height I prefer to keep the legs of the tripod short and spread wide to keep the legs in a low position, this is better for a good stability and to get the shortest possible tripod legs and tripod shadow visible in the images. Having less to patch or to clone of the tripod can be a big time saver.
The shadow of the pole can be very long but fortunately this is no issue at all. When you are finished taking your roundshots you just move the tripod approx. 30 cm side ways from the position of the pole shadow to a new position.
Before you move the tripod side ways close the clamp of the top part of the tripod adapter with the small handle to get the best stability.
Warning: moving the tripod with an expanded pole can be very dangerous, make sure that you master any forces or even better lower the pole before you move the pole and raise the pole again when the tripod is moved.
Whatever method you use make sure that you keep it safe !
After the tripod is moved you release the clamp of the upper part of the tripod adapter, rotate the pole to point the camera to the shadow and take a shadow patch image.
In PTGui you mask all of the shadow patch image except for a strip at one side of the pole shadow, this strip must have a wide that is sufficient to cover the pole shadow in the round shots.
Some examples and photos of the tripod adapter setup of a pole shoot of WW2 bunkers in the dunes of Ouddorp (NL):
short URL: http://tinyurl.com/6t82be4
short URL: http://tinyurl.com/6voarau
Photos of the setup (3x):
short URL: http://tinyurl.com/7n3qddl
The panoramas are shot with a Series 2 pole, Tripod Adapter type A, pole rotator (6 stops) and a sturdy Feisol CT-3371 tripod (*)
On top of the pole is a Canon 5D, shaved Tokina 10-17@ 14,6 mm and a R1 lensring with a downtilt of -15 degree (6 images around and 1 shadow patch).
(*) About the Feisol CT-3371 tripod:
The thread of the socket in the bottom cap of the center column is too small to mount the bottom part of tripod adapter type A.
To mount the bottom part I had to modify the center column and make a 3/8" socket myself.
Without the proper equipment and some skills I don't recommend anyone the use of a tap tool to modify the center column, if your center column lacks a 3/8" (male or female) thread and a fitting with the size of your center column is available then you beter use a Tripod Adapter type B.
If you have any question or remark then please use the Reply button of this posting.
Happy pole shooting greetings,