Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I have always loved photography and love to play with pictures to see what I can do with them.  When we were on vacation in Colorado I took several sets of photographs so I could construct panoramic views.  I tried Canon's Photostitch, Photoshop Elements 8, and a couple free software packages that I found on-line to construct the panoramics but the one that I think works the best is Microsoft ICE (and it is free).  I made this panoramic and published it to Photosynth so you could see what they look like. Photosynth gives it the appearance of being three dimensional.  You can also export the file as a two dimension picture. If you look at the above panoramic you will probably want to enlarge it a little and then either drag the photo or use the arrows (close to the wheel at the bottom) to see the entire picture. The picture linked above is 15 pictures that are stitched together. You need to keep the plane of the camera steady (not vary up and down).  I always turn on the grid display and try to keep the horizon in approximately the same area. If you take your pictures vertically you have more area to play with but of course it requires more pictures.  The pictures need to be overlapped at least 15-20 percent.  I probably overlap 30 percent just to make sure. I've not had very much luck with trying to make a panoramic picture of anything up close.  The problem with that is that the pictures are taken from different angles so the end result is that you will get a funny looking picture.  I haven't tried a lot so I haven't given up.

If you are ever interested in trying panoramic shots here are some pointers to improve your odds of success:

  1. If possible, manually focus the camera and don't touch it again. Of course this won't work if you're taking things close to you.
  2. Set the aperture and the shutter speed manually and take all the shots at the same setting.  If the light varies try to pick a average for the picture and set it there.
  3. Don't let the camera set the white balance (Auto).  Use your judgement in selecting the appropriate setting.
  4. Obviously you cannot have anything moving where the pictures overlap.  Otherwise the software can't find the overlapping area. 
After all of that I leave you with this video.


George said...

I'm still very impressed with what you did to create this photo. I'm impressed with the video as well.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Neal, I finally got some snow on my blog.. Check it out...

I'm impressed with what you did to make the panorama shot. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Great video also... George knows Billy Graham (from his days at Montreat and Black Mountain) --and we contribute quite often to his ministry.