I edited the above image, cropping it into a rectangle. Straight out of camera (iPhone), the images looked more like this.
If you decide to try Photosynth, learn from my mistakes.
First, do your best to pan (move left to right) while keeping the horizon line even. This is not an easy thing to do and is the reason to use a tripod for this type of shot. Hold the phone closer to you rather than with your arms extended. If you do not hold it steady, your horizon line will not meet and will look like the above photo to the right of the sun.
Second, turn up the volume on your phone. The program beeps to tell you to stop panning and hold it still to take the next shot. Failing to stop moving for the photo will result in the smudgy effect you see at the water line in front of the house in the above photo.
Third, before you start, click the wheel icon in the lower right-hand corner. Turn "auto-save to camera roll" to on so that each panorama you take will automatically be saved to your phone's camera roll.
If you recognize this scene, it's because I shot the sunset challenge from the same area.
While my results are not fantastic on this first try, I learned about a new photo app and a few ways to improve my use of it. All in all, a worthy exercise. Better luck next time, I hope. Luckily for me, that beautiful scene is a short walk from my house so I can try again soon.
The next challenge is Depth, or maximizing the perception of depth in a two-dimensional photograph. Maximizing Perspective and Depth in Your Photography at Phototuts+ has great tips and some beautiful photos to illustrate the point. I can think of a few photos I've already taken that would demonstrate this principle, but the challenge is to take a new photo. As always, we'll see what tomorrow brings.
I'd love to see if any of you tried panorama shots and, if so, if you had greater success than I. Please post them to the Flotsam of the Mind Facebook page to share.
Update: Now that I've completed the challenge and posted my results, I learn what everyone who watches commercial television (which I don't) should know--the iPhone 5 (which I have) has a panorama function in the built-in camera. Click on Camera, choose Panorama, make a panorama--with no stitching together of individual photos. Don't I feel like a rube. Next time I can grab a few minutes away from the family at sunset, I'll try to recreate the above photos using the iPhone 5 panorama function and show you the results. Silly me.