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Friday, 24 March 2017


One shot vertical panorama made with a Russian Horizont camera-

Nicely done, Darlene! (When you do a vertical stitch should it actually be called a tiltorama? Naw, sounds too much like a nausea-inducing theme park ride?) The passer-by really makes the shot for me. If only he was bouncing a basketball or carrying lumber!

I am not usually a fan of panos but last fall I couldn't resist making one of Thomas Hart Benton's "America Today" room at the Met...with my iPhone 7+. It was intended as just a good memento of that work for my wife and I. But today it's a 13" x 60" print in one of our bathrooms.

Moral of these stories: If you can imagine it you can probably do it with the camera you have at-hand today.

Cool, Darr. More proof, lest we need it, that the photog is more important than the camera.

Today I learned I can create panoramas from Lightroom in Photoshop. Never knew that. Thanks!

Nice work Darlene, and well done Mike bringing some of the more arcane photography crafts into your blog.
One thing that bugs me with this rendition and many other stitched panorama is the way that the top half of the stitched image has been 'corrected' as if it was viewed from infinity – or at least from a much longer perspective. As well, the top half of the image has been stretched vertically to the point that the church looks top heavy.
Looking at the cross, we can clearly see the underside of the crossbar which shows that we are looking up at it so it should view as if that was the case. As well,the stretched clouds radiating out show that the original Photoshop automatic stitching and merge was overly heroic.
I have attempted to correct for that with some Photoshop transform tools which to my mind creates a more naturalistic look but architectural photographers might disagree as the verticals are not straight or even vertical – traditionally viewed as a heinous photographic crime.

I don't claim that my rendition is correct, or perfect. Just that it accords more closely to the experience of seeing such a building from a close proximity.

I do my stitching in PTgui. I did a similar style of image of the third Tacoma Narrows bridge during during construction. To display the photo properly it needs to be curved 90 degrees--from straight at you and then curving over your head. Has anyone ever displayed a wide-angle print in a curved frame? This way you turn your head and see the image as you would have if you were standing at the place the photo was taken at.

I only recently discovered the panorama feature of Lightroom when I upgraded to the 6.8 standalone version and find it sufficient for my purposes (I don't know how to photoshop). What I like best about Lightroom's photo merge—>panorama tool is that it allows you to work with Raw files such that further processing can be done after the frames have been stitched together.

Apart from parallax errors (which can be avoided by using a tripod and proper mounting hardware), I find that correcting for vignetting (luminance fall-off) is the most challenging part when making panoramas in landscape mode. This must be done to the individual frames before merging. Vignetting is particularly noticeable when working with photos with a clear background, i.e., cloudless skies.

Lightroom also provides the tools to correct this: namely its Lens Corrections—>Enable Profile Corrections feature. Although Adobe lens profiles tends to over-compensate for fall-off, particularly with Voigtlander lenses, its profile for the Zeiss Planar 2/50 VM is about right. I happen to own this lens. I also use its profile even when using another lens (Voigtlander).

Here's a recent example (handheld, 7 frames) taken in Cape Town where clear skies are typical during summer:

Cape Town from Table Mountain at high noon

I've been working in panorama/composite photography for the last few years* and find that photoshop and lightroom are pretty limited both in the size and complexity of images and in the limited projections.

I have been using Microsoft ICE for the last few years. The good things are that it is free, can do all sorts of projections including Mercator and stereographic projection (Thomas Hart Benton mentioned above, is one of the painters that I feel has influenced me the most and often uses what looks to me like stereographic perspective.), offers a lot of control and can produce a photoshop file with a layer for every original image for extensive hand tuning.
The bad thing is that it only runs on windows and in fact it is the one reason that I continue to use windows.

It can handle large images quite well given enough resources. I have a dedicated machine with 64GB of memory and a terabyte of swap space** for really big images but a 24GB of ram and a couple hundred of swap space is adequate for one gigapixel images from a couple hundred camera originals.
For little hundred megapixel images you can run it fine on a free Windows virtual machine available from Microsoft here
ICE is available here

If you are curious what I'm doing with all this, some of the photos are here.

*after checking I seem to have been working on this stuff for most of the last 18 years and I just scanned some 360° panoramas of elephants doing headstands in central park with the mayor of NYC watching and 360° images of Coney Island taken in 1986 with a rented panorama camera. I'm feeling old now.

** you can buy them cheap on ebay. I think my 16 core quad Xeon HP box was $150, and it has 17 video ports that I don't use. Just look for "servers". The only downside is that the thing weighs 50 pounds (buy local or the shipping will kill you) and is like having an idling jet engine next to the desk.

Lightroom is pretty incredible if you take care in the taking of the images. never use less than a 50mm lens, and overlap each frame by as much as 30%.
I recently took a 30+ frames panorama of the Manhattan skyline while standing on the front of the Staten Island ferry, which was moving up and down, and towards the subject.
The file is massive, yet when I inspected it at 100% I couldn't find anything where the stitching hadn't worked, except for the odd patch of sea water (moving waves, or anything moving, are not the best thing to include in a panorama!)
If I knew how to post the photo here, I would!

Interesting calling the Fuji X100t a 'point and shoot.' I guess to the author, and what she uses professionally, it is. But to people who used to, or still do use P&S cameras the X100 series offers a lot more. BTW, I personally use a Fuji XQ2 as my P&S. Of course the author could probably get great shots with that as well. GRIN


Mark: Thank you for helping me with my footing. Good suggestions!

Herman: Thank you for the image and reference to the Russian Horizont camera.

Kenneth: A tiltorama sounds good to me. ;=)

Stephen: You are very kind and someone I have valued for many years; thank you.

Ed: You are welcome and glad to be of service.

Adrian: Whatever works for you is fine with me. Most of what I contribute to TOP via articles will be directed to the photography student and not all photography students will get into the depth of what some other students will. Your contribution is appreciated.

Mathew: I have never displayed a wide-angle print in a curved frame, but that does sound interesting.

Sarge: That is a beautiful shot!

Hugh: Thank you for all the information and link to your lower Manhattan image taken from Brooklyn. I use to live in Bensonhurst. New York is the only city I miss!

Simon: I find Lightroom does what I need it to do for panorama building if I feed it enough information. For the times when it does not do so well, there is always Photoshop for me. I am not a panorama expert, but I do enjoy sharing the basics with most anyone that is interested. Here is a visual tip for posting on TOP (and other websites). I hope to see your images!

Rube: Sorry, I know the x100t is probably more sophisticated than many point-and-shoot cameras. If it is a fixed lens camera, I call it a point-and-shoot. ;=)

Cool. I guess that goes for the SONY RX1 as well. GRIN


Thank you very kindly, Darlene. Your post has inspired me to do a multi-layer panorama next time I find a suitable subject. Something I haven't had the courage to try till now. Thanks again!

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