Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

“Photomerge” can be Weird

Middle Falls Panorama, Letchworth SP

Since we’re about to embark on another trip westward in a couple of weeks, I thought it might be a good idea to get in a little practice hauling around large quantities of photographic gear and to reacquaint myself with stuff like mirror lockup on my “big” Canon.  Even firmly attached to a tripod, camera shake caused by a moving mirror (at certain shutter speeds) can mess things up.

I also wanted to practice doing something I’ve done precious little of – creating panoramas in PS using 4 or 5 “stitched” images.  Hence, this photograph.  Not a great picture, for sure, but it taught me a few things.  Of most interest – and entertainment – I discovered that if you do things slowly enough when creating a panorama, you can get the same people at both ends of the image.  I didn’t see that until I had created the darn thing, but it’s there.  If you look in the right-hand side of the frame, you’ll see 3 people – a woman in a red dress and white hat and her 2 sons (at least I assume that’s who they are).  If you look very closely at the upper left side, you’ll see the same 3 people.  They’d walked around me during my little session and were now standing in another observation area.  The effect is kinda weird.  To me, anyway.

I also discovered that to do a panorama well, one must make very sure that the camera angle is constant.  In this case, it wasn’t.  After taking the first frame (the far right side), I realized that the camera was tilted just a bit.  So I corrected it.  Photoshop recognized that movement and created a strange shaped composite that needed some serious cropping.

As a side note, you might wonder where all the water is.  If you’ve ever visited Letchworth, you may have gotten wet from the Middle Falls’ spray standing in this very spot.  And, at this time of day, there’s always a rainbow running across the bank on the far side.  But not this past Friday.  I’ve never seen the water this low.  The only visible spray was at the base of the falls.  We’ve had rain, but apparently not enough.

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5 Responses to ““Photomerge” can be Weird”

  1. meanderingpassage

    Paul, I’ve done some Panorama’s in PS with mixed results. Your comment about keeping the camera at exactly the same angle is a requirement I’ve personally run afoul of. I like panorama’s but I’ve not as yet found an easy way to display them on a blog that does them justice. I’d probably do more of them with a better display solution/options.

    So how long you hoping to stay in the southwest this trip?

    Reply
    • Paul Maxim

      You’re right about displaying them on a blog – they wind up being too small vertically. Still, I really like the looks of a panorama. I’ve never been real crazy about “square” aspect ratios. Which makes getting the Olympus EM5 a little strange, since it’s standard output is nearly square to begin with! A damn fine camera, though. With the 45 mm f/1.8 on it, it’s amazingly sharp.

      We’ll be in Utah, Arizona, Nevada and finally Wyoming for about 3 weeks. With travel time (driving), it adds up to a little more than a month on the road. And we love (almost) every minute of it………Just hate those freakin’ orange cones and barrels on the interstates. Not to mention the gas prices spiking again.

      Reply
  2. Cedric

    I think this panorama worked out quite nicely Paul. I enjoy making them though I find that my success with them is very much hit-and-miss. Other than your advice on angling the camera there are a couple of other useful tip I have found through trial and error. For those situation where the light is not even across the entire scene set the exposure in manual mode so that it doesn’t change from one photo to the next. It’s also worth setting the focus to manual so that the depth of field and the focal plane remain constant (or set the lens to a small aperture so as to maximise the DOF).
    As for the people appearing twice in the same image, I actually like that.

    Reply
    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Cedric. Actually, I tried another pano in an area where the scene went from deep shadow to bright sky. It didn’t work. Your idea might have made it possible, though. I’ll have to try that next time. I wish I’d thought of it this time!

      Focus here wasn’t a problem. The lens was set at f/11 and I manually focused on the vegetation in the foreground. Seems to have done the trick………

      I agree with respect to the people. I wish they were easier to see on the left side of the image.

      Reply

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