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Each of these photos is a composite of 6 or more shots taken taken with a Sony
DSC-D770 digital still camera. I place the D770 on a cheap lightweight tripod equipped a protractor
pan head marked in degrees and a bubble level (it is critical to set the
axis of rotation of the camera perfectly vertical so the resulting strip of
assembled images doesn't slope up or down). To make the resulting multiple
images tile together invisibly, it is critical to a) turn off automatic exposure
(all shots have to be exposed identically) and b) turn off automatic white level
adjustment (which will cause every shot to have a slightly different color
balance. The D770 has a fixed "daylight" color balance which I
select instead of the default auto white level.
I set the D770 zoom for about a 40-mm equivalent (I don't want to zoom wide so that the D770's infamous wide-angle barrel distortion kicks in) and rotate the pan head about 22.5 degrees between shots. I use the camera's infrared remote control to trip the shutter so I don't have to worry about the lightweight tripod deflecting or moving when the shutter release is pressed. The resulting set of images have about a 1/3rd overlap between pictures. I cut out about the middle 3/5ths of each picture (where the perspective distortion is least) and paste them together by hand in Photoshop.
Until now, I have painstakingly assembled multiple images together by
cutting, pasting and overlapping images in Adobe PhotoShop. The typical
panorama of 10-20 images would take an hour or so to assemble. Recently, I
discovered an absolutely amazing new program, AutoPano, that tiles images
totally automatically. This incredible program automatically recognizes
overlapping areas in images, incrementally rotates them if necessary to align,
color-corrects and exposure-matches individual panels of the image if necessary,
warps the edges of adjacent panels to correct for lens distortion and then
pastes them together seamlessly, usually in less than 1 minute on my P4-2800
Clevo laptop. You just point the program at a folder
containing the images to be combined and hit GO! . The program even adds
the command "Detect Panorama" to the right-click context menu of the Windows
The web site for this extraordinary program from a French developer is:
The pan below was my first effort with Autopano and is composed of 9 hand-held grabshots with the D770 (no painstaking setup and leveling of a tripod!) taken in less than one minute. The final composite image was ready less than 5 minutes later! This is the U.S. Department of Commerce "Boulder Laboratories" in Boulder, Colorado. This building houses NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) including the atomic clock that is the ultimate time standard in the United States, and NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration). The peaks in the background are the Flatiron Range, part of the "Front Range" of the Rocky Mountains.
This pan is a quick sequence of 8 frames shot in my office. I hand-held the camera vertically (portrait orientation) to get more up-and-down coverage without resorting to extreme wide-angle zoom. Again, the shots were hand-held. I have not cropped the final product so that you can see the edges and random alignment of the 8 original panels. The AutoPano program can even tile multiple rows of multiple exposures, so I could have created even more complete coverage by shooting 8 images looking up slightly and then repeating the same 8 shots while looking down slightly. The laptop used to assemble these images is on the table in the background.
This image is 12 hand-held grabshots taken on the "Grand Canal" of Venice, Los Angeles. The exposure was locked, and the white balance set to the canned "Daylight" setting instead of "Auto". The original shots were taken with the camera held in the portrait mode so that a wider angle view top-to-bottom could be taken, without zooming to the extreme wide angle 28mm setting with it's resulting barrel distortion. (AutoPano automatically recognizes these portrait panels and produces a landscape final result.) Full-sized image is 311K ( 3525x638 pixels)
5 hand-held grabshots taken in the Huntington Museum (Pasadena, CA) conservatory. These were taken landscape orientation at maximum zoom (28mm equivalent) on the D770. Full-sized image is 506K (2352x647 pixels)
This shot of the Getty Museum Roman villa and ampitheater in west Los
Angeles, is 22 shots in 4 rows shot at about 35mm-equivalent landscape mode.
Again, hand-held with no attempt to keep the camera precisely leveled.
SLOW INTERNET WARNING!: The full-sized image linked to this thumbnail is huge (1.6MB 5280x2145 pixels)!
This is the Heber City area is in the mountains about an hour and a half east of Salt Lake City, UT. 14 images tiled.
Caught without a tripod! The images for this pan of a Brigham City, Utah communications site were twelve separate hand-held shots taken from the roof of a communications shelter. I stood with my arms and the camera close to my chest, and tried to turn roughly the same amount after each shot. A storm was clearing (there had been a massive downpour only 20 mins earlier) creating this interesting effect of overcast on the left half of the picture and a sunny day on the right half. The body of water in the distance is an inlet of the Great Salt Lake.
Route 88 in California Sierra Nevadas. 10 images tiled.
Idaho Falls, Idaho. There is a low-head hydroelectric powerplant hidden under this seemingly natural falls. 8 images tiled.
Main street of Banff, Alberta in Banff National Park at about 8:30 AM. 14 Images Tiled.
The landmark Banff Hotel at about 9:00 AM. 5 Images Tiled
Grab shots on my sister's farm. Unlike the usual careful setup with a painstakingly aligned tripod and precise panning, this pan of two contrasting fields was assembled from three hand-held shots taken standing in the bed of a pickup truck.
Charlevoix, Michigan harbor scene. Charlevoix is a resort city on Lake Michigan.
Mississippi River viewed from Muscatine, Iowa.
These were some of my earliest efforts to create super-panaramic pictures from multiple standard exposures.
The shadow-free overcast day avoided the problem of some of the shots looking into the sun. All the original pictures were shot in the 1344x1024 pixel mode with exposure on manual so the brightness of all frames would match. After assembling the strips of photos, I reduced them to 50% of the original hight and width to make a more manageable size Internet download. (The originals are 10-12 MB TIFF files).
My sisters flower garden. This one was a fun project. I captured her in five different
places in the scene. This pic is a composite of 6 frames over about a 100-degree arc.
This view is looking south off the outdoor dining porch of the farm house. 7 Frames over about a 110-degree arc.
This view is looking north (in the center) back at the house. 10 Frames over a about a 200-degreen arc.
360-degree pan in the center of the farm yard assembled from 16 shots 22.5 degrees apart
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