Panoramas….lessons learned

Building a panorama from a set of overlapping images seemed simple enough. Greeted with the success of my first panorama, Cathedral Grove ,  I thought I had mastered the process. Not so fast…… still more to learn!

I started work on a second panorama on a stormy day in the Okanagan. With billowy clouds on the horizon and strong winds from the west I headed to a location on Knox Mountain overlooking Kelowna. The view high above the city and lake was magnificent. I visualized a dramatic panorama that included the city, the Bennett Bridge across Okanagan Lake and the approaching storm.

I located my camera so I could easily capture 8 or 9 overlapping images and then took 3 sets of images. I selected the set that exposed the clouds in the most dramatic fashion.

“Hugin,” my stitching program had difficulty. Error messages reported that there was not enough data to perform the required stitch. I was, however, able to use the central three images to create a pretty good panorama. Several other attempted panoramas brought the same result. “Hugin’s” ability to stitch a panorama seemed to required a greater overlap.

Recalling an article in “Outdoor Photography Canada” by Darwin Wiggett I decided to use Photoshop Elements 11 as my stitching program. Using the  ‘create a photomerge panorama’ function under the ‘Enhance’ menu I selected my set of images. Elements 11 had difficulty stitching the whole set together at once. When I broke the set into 3 or 4 steps I was successful in creating a decent panorama.  I made sure I selected the ‘fill corner’ option before flattening and saving. A gentle application of perspective control under the transform menu finished the process.

After much practice I think that more images with a 50% or more overlap gives the computer a better chance of making a successful panorama. I also learned that distortions were reduced if I captured my set of images within a range  about 20 degrees on either side of the lens axis.

Stormy skies over Okanagan Lake

Stormy skies over Okanagan Lake

This entry was posted in Education, My Work.

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