6 Mar 2011


If you are into Paris ( that's me ) or panorama photography ( ditto) take a look at a remarkable website-an amazing panoramic stitch of 2346 photos of Paris
The definition is amazing .It is worth looking at the explanations of how it was shot and how it was all stitched together.A technical tour de force.

I have been fascinated by panoramas and I even bought books on how to shoot them back in the film era but for years they were out of my reach but now that has all changed. Some of my efforts courtesy of Photoshop Elements and my Canon G7 and G9 are below.The Photoshop Elements panorama stitching tool is very good and also very easy to use .It is accessed under "file" "new" and is pretty intuitive to use.It is so good that it is almost worth buying PE for this feature alone. If you have ever wanted to do panoramas give it a try -they look great.

I hand held the camera for these panoramas because I believe in travelling light and never use a tripod .I overlap each frame generously by about 20% --at either end-- and I do it by eye.Taking vertical (portrait) format images works best when you are hand holding the camera for panoramas because any vertical variations in the angle you hold the camera between the frames can be compensated for when you crop the final image .
If you shoot the panorama with horizontal frames and you do not hold the camera level you can end up with a very thin panorama when you have to crop out all the misaligned edges.
However shooting vertical frames means you do end up with more images to stitch together and very big files which can easily freeze your computer .Best to shoot panoramas on smallish file sizes or reduce the file sizes in the computer before you attempt to stitch them together.
When shooting panoramas avoid movement which goes across images such as waves because the stitching software cannot handle it.

The Canon G series cameras have a panorama setting which holds the exposure constant across the multiple panorama frames which is very useful. If your camera does not have this facility I recommend that you use a manual setting to hold the exposure constant across all the frames of a panorama. Photoshop will sort out any variations in brightness between the frames .
My panoramas show an amazing amount of detail in their original files but much of that is lost in the compressed images below .I use my standard technique of using the lowest possible ISO setting to minimise the "noise" in the image and maximise the quality--in all these examples I used ISO 80.

It is amazing to think that today we can produce panoramas such as these with a  very reasonably priced compact camera and some easy to use software. Just ten years ago you would have had to use an unwieldy and very expensive panorama camera ,a panoramic tripod head and a great big tripod and then after you had taken the panoramas you were faced with the cost of printing them and very few people would ever see them.

The city panorama was taken from the Montparnasse Tour (Tower) close to the Gare de Montparnasse . It is higher than the Eifel Tour and there is usually no or very limited waiting to go to the viewing galleries . And it is much cheaper .
The panorama over Champs Elysees was taken from the viewing gallery on top of the Arc de Triomphe on Bastille Day .

1 comment:

  1. Very cool John... or should I say tres chic...

    Looks like some of the pics from your last trip.