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Photograph with a plan, part two — change to panorama

This is another post about going with the flow. You may remember, I planned to go out and capture Milky Way sky over the red rocks of Sedona. My cloud app said skies would clear. They did. Over my head. Unfortunately, to the south and west clouds covered my target. So, pivot I did and tried a different plan.

Panoramic captures and processing

I moved to shoot the horizon as a panorama. In my head I changed to an art piece. The beginning starts with the capture. A panoramic head is helpful in getting the images and having them blend together easier in the software.

Panorama sequence. Six images photographed from right to left.


Photoshop allows you to invoke several mapping methods which can lead to better, or worse, stitching results. I almost always start with the Auto selection. Many times it will return a fine result. If the resulting stitching is less than satisfactory it’s time to try some different settings.

Photoshop’s Photomerge dialog box


First attempt with Auto Layout and all dialog boxes except Content Aware fill checked.

Under the Auto setting you’ll find additional tic boxes. I usually start with checking them all. That led to the first result above. I was surprised at the outcome as the images were photographed with a panoramic head. Using a panoramic head usually makes it easy for the software to return a good result.

Redoing the Photomerge, this time with the Geometric Distortion box unchecked, I got the panoramic used to complete my image.

Still using Auto Layout, but Geometric Distortion Correction and Content Aware were unchecked for this result. I ultimately used this image to move forward with my panorama.

But that led me to experiment with other mapping methods. You can see those experimental results below. I highly recommend getting in to your software experimenting and playing. I know I’ve learned a lot just by asking, “What if I did this? Or, that with various settings?”

Whooo Wee! This was with the Perspective Layout chosen.
Spherical was the choice for this rendition. Choosing Perspective returned almost the exact same result as Auto Layout with the Geometric Distortion Correction unchecked.
Using Content Aware Fill takes pretty good care of filling out the empty spaces. Caution with repetition which needs to be cleaned up with the Clone Stamp Tool. See the red circles for problem areas.

An art article follows

Here’s the ‘straight’ panorama. More to come in processing for an art look.

Stay tuned for two additional articles with this series, all about photographing with a plan, but ending with a different result. I pushed the images one step further utilizing Photoshop’s Blend Modes and textures to create an artistic look.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

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Rafael Jones

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