Picture 1. Panorama photo of the medieval castle of Molyvos.
29.07.2007 Category: Photography
While on a holiday in Greece I decided to try for the first time to create a panorama photo which consists of several photos. I had read about the subject so I knew the basic principles about photographing panoramas:
I decided that my subject would be a medieval castle shining on top of the town of Molyvos and the settlement around it (Picture 1). I installed my tripod to the edge of the road and started photographing. I tilted my camera to vertical position to get the best possible vertical resolution into the panorama photo. I adjusted the settings of the camera manually in order to keep them the same in each photo. I took a few test shots to find the best exposure and after that I took eight adjacent photos (Picture 4). The taking of the photos was made easier by Manfrotto 460MG three-way camera head where each axis is separately controlled by an individual lock.
Picture 2. I stitched four left-hand photos with Photoshop's Photomerge.
Picture 3. I stitched four right-hand photos with Photoshop's Photomerge.
I opened the raw photos into Photoshop and made a few adjustments in the Adobe Camera Raw software. I thought I would maximize the image quality and stitch all eight (16 bit, 10 megapixel) photos into one panorama by using Photoshop's Photomerge operation (File > Automate > Photomerge...). However, that was far too laborious a task for my computer (Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, 4GB RAM, 8GB Virtual Memory, Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit). Photoshop crashed after a few minutes. Out of my four gigabyte of memory Photoshop is able to utilize only 1.7GB and obviously that wasn't enough. After multiple try-outs I ended up first converting photos to 8 bit and after that creating the panorama with Photomerge in three phases:
Picture 4. Eight vertical photos for the panorama.
Picture 5. I used Photomerge for the third time to stitch left and right part of the photo into one panorama photo.
Picture 6. The final photograph after several Photoshop operations. I decided to crop the image heavily to enhance the composition. The pixel size of the final photo is 4552 x 12405.
I chose cylinderical layout in the Photomerge which is best suited for creating wide panoramas. Photomerge did the stitching of the photos pretty fast and the end result was a perfectly seamless photo. The pixel size of the panorama photo was 4552 x 18309. However, I decided to crop the photo heavily to enhance the composition. The pixel size of the final photo is 4552 x 12405. The resolution of the final picture is 4-5 times more than in a panorama made of one photo. The final photo could be printed with pretty high quality (200dpi) to the size of 60cm x 160cm.